The Forbidden Kingdom
The Forbidden Kingdom

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Certificate: 12A | Released: 2008 | Duration: 1 hr 40 mins | Director: Rob Minkoff | Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment | Genres: Action/Adventure

In "The Forbidden Kingdom", American teenager Jason (Michael Angarano), who is obsessed with Hong Kong cinema and kungfu classics, finds an antique Chinese staff in a pawn shop: the legendary stick weapon of the Chinese sage and warrior, the Monkey King (Jet Li). With the lost relic in hand, Jason unexpectedly finds himself transported back to ancient China. There, he meets the drunken kungfu master, Lu Yan (Jackie Chan); an enigmatic and skillful Silent Monk (Jet Li); and a vengeance-bent kungfu beauty, Golden Sparrow (C ... (Full plot summary below)

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Full Plot Details

In "The Forbidden Kingdom", American teenager Jason (Michael Angarano), who is obsessed with Hong Kong cinema and kungfu classics, finds an antique Chinese staff in a pawn shop: the legendary stick weapon of the Chinese sage and warrior, the Monkey King (Jet Li). With the lost relic in hand, Jason unexpectedly finds himself transported back to ancient China. There, he meets the drunken kungfu master, Lu Yan (Jackie Chan); an enigmatic and skillful Silent Monk (Jet Li); and a vengeance-bent kungfu beauty, Golden Sparrow (Crystal Liu Yi Fei), who lead him on his quest to return the staff to its rightful owner, the Monkey King - imprisoned in stone by the evil Jade Warlord (Collin Chou) for five hundred years. Along the way, while attempting to outmaneuver scores of Jade Warriors, Cult Killers and the deadly White Hair Demoness, Ni Chang (Li Bing Bing), Jason learns about honor, loyalty and friendship, and the true meaning of kungfu, and thus frees himself.

While hunting down bootleg kung-fu DVDs in a Chinatown pawnshop, Jason Tripitikas makes an extraordinary discovery that sends him hurtling back in time to ancient China. There, Jason is charged with a monumental task: he must free the fabled warrior the Monkey King, who has been imprisoned by the powerful Jade War Lord. Jason is joined in his quest by wise kung fu master Lu Yan and a band of misfit warriors including Silent Monk. But only by learning the true precepts of kung fu can Jason hope to succeed - and find a way to get back home.

Shot on location in China, THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM marks the historic first –ever onscreen pairing of martial arts superstars JACKIE CHAN (the Rush Hour series) and JET LI (Fearless, the One) and features the awe-inspiring action choreography of WOO-PING YUEN (The Matrix, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon).

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Movie Reviews

Boston Globe - 6.3/10 by Ty Burr Unashamed about giving its audience a good time, and the high spirits go a long way toward counterbalancing the cliches.
Baltimore Sun - 8.3/10 by Michael Sragow Kung fu purists may scoff, but escapists with a sense of humor should romp through The Forbidden Kingdom.
TV Guide - 7.5/10 by Maitland McDonagh To see the two of them on screen together, even past their primes, is a delight.
The Globe and Mail (Toronto) - 6.3/10 by Liam Lacey Although veteran choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping ( Kill Bill, The Matrix) handles the wire action, the camera work is merely okay and the sequences are on the familiar side. Still, it's fun to see Chan resurrect his loopy, staggering "drunken master" fighting style.
Philadelphia Inquirer - 6.3/10 by Steven Rea The special effects are effective, though not terribly special. While director Minkoff pays homage to past masters of the genre, the past masters were better at this game than he.
The New York Times - 7.0/10 by A.O. Scott A faithful and disarmingly earnest attempt to honor some venerable and popular Chinese cinematic traditions.
ReelViews - 7.5/10 by James Berardinelli For martial arts action fans, The Forbidden Kingdom may be the best fantasy story since the genre was opened to a wider audience by "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."
Miami Herald - 7.5/10 by Rene Rodriguez The Forbidden Kingdom may be nothing but disposable fun, but it is a great, heaping, overflowing helping of fun. If you're 10, it may also seem like "Citizen Kane."

Movie Trivia

  • The filmmakers intentionally used the traditional Chinese pronunciation 'Gung Fu' in this movie. This posed problems for Jackie Chan who was used to saying 'Kung Fu' due to his time spent in America.
  • This movie is based on one of the great classic novels of Chinese literature, Journey To The West.
  • This movie marks the first time that martial arts masters Jackie Chan and Jet Li have fought each other.
  • The Forbidden Kingdom is the first Hollywood movie where Jackie Chan hasn't acted as his own fight choreographer.
  • Jackie Chan said that his involvement with this film hinged on appearing alongside Jet Li. He also stated that kung-fu fight scenes usually require around 15 takes to get right but with Li they only needed two or three.

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