I'm a AVID movie goer the first thing i look at when it comes to movies are plots, acting, and direction to where the movie is going. Lately, I've gotten a chance to see, "The forbidden kingdom" and I've also followed the director's (Rob Minkoff)work from the cult classic, "Love potion No. 9" to the children's favorite, "Stuart little" and i have to admit for a martial Arts fantasy movie it falls under the line of Crouching tiger but even if a movie is good there are some faults that this movie contributes too as well and when i saw this movie the first thing i thought about from the beginning when the movie started was that i was looking at another version of, "The never-ending story".
Now, let's look at "The forbidden kingdom". In this movie you have a kid name Jason (Micheal Angarano) who's an avid karate movie lover and lives with his mother (who we don't really see but he talks about her) and his father is NOT in the picture; who visits a mystical martial arts video store and in the middle of escaping bullies have to take another mystical item to a far away fantasy world to save the day.....do you somewhat see the resemblance? And that's the movie plot in a nutshell, While in this new world Jason must overcome his fears and learn the ways of the arts in order to make it out alive, save the monkey king from a evil tyrant, and save the day and he's not alone in this quest, he runs into a drunken immortal, Lu Yan (Jackie Chan)and from the very first scene was phenomenal, next you have Golden Sparrow (Who's played by the ever so cute Yifei Liu) who's after this Jade warlord (Collin Chou) out of revenge. Finally, the strong silent monk (Jet Li) who has his own purpose to why he needs to bring this mystical item back to its rightful owner. All four of them played their roles respectfully and I have no problem in that and i'm sure you're wondering the fight between Jackie and Jet Li would happen and it did and i have to say both were GREAT but one would wish it was longer but both gave it their all in that scene and i can't complain with that.
But here's something i will complain about and this has been going on in movies and T.v for decades....why the idea of the White American kid into an Asian culture i mean from the last samurai to Tai-pan to The Karate kid this has been a very typical move on the director's part My feeling to this is don't get me wrong Micheal must of worked Night and day to perform those moves which in the movie it felt like he learned them in about 12 minutes; and the end result was great. But don't you think an Asian teen could be just as better or maybe a African-American teen, or an East Indian kid i mean there are a lot of possibilities and the end answer was so typical that i wasn't surprised at the near romantic scene between Jason and Golden sparrow (In fact, I knew it would happen!). It was a very tired and tried constant approach that never changed the move of the film but when you look pass that and watch the action footage then you start to see art and how fluent the fight scenes worked and for me that made this movie more bold, fast, and intense and they should of kept on that.
Story (510): Take a look at the never ending story and watch this movie and you'll understand why i compared both; Its a tried and true tale that i felt the director somehow had gotten his inspiration from and then stole it.
Character Development (710): Even though you can quickly understand and know a bit about the background of the character i felt that it was a bit rushed to getting to the point of the movie instead of focusing on why Jason's father is not in the picture...his connection to his mother if he has any and why he's all into the martial arts movies...is it to hide away from what's reality? there are a lot of questions that was never really fully answered in this movie and not enough depth to bring an, "ohh I see" from me...all i know is white kid needed to bring staff to owner, stumble upon war, finds Jackie Chan, learns arts in 10 mins, fall in love with Asian girl, saves world, the end.
Pace (910): If anything this movie had a lot of pace....I watched this film and enjoyed how fast the action was and how brutal it nearly got (there are some parts that aren't for kids). This movie hold a lot of action with some good music to boot you felt drawn into the pace and wished for more but if you added great story and character development you would have a nominated movie.
Film (710): Regardless of my flaws to this film this is definitely a summer flick you want to see; you have two of the best martial arts actors together in a beautiful fantasy setting with fast pace intensity but with a typical main character and a cheesy somewhat and already known romantic approach the movie falls nearly on its ass but has redeemed itself with the music, setting, and strong flow of the fight scenes but I felt that the director and A LOT of directors need to know that you don't always have to put a white teen into an Asian culture there are other races out there as well...but all in all, "The forbidden kingdom" is still a movie i would like to see again simply because Yifei liu and cute and the white haired witch, Ni Chang (BingBing Li) is sexy.
Review by Dream_seeker from the Internet Movie Database.