Pollyanna (Rocky Mountains) Watches an Actual Movie

Hey, y’all. You have probably already figured out it’s Anna-Liza here.

Lyda’s the big movie reviewer around here. I don’t get to watch a lot of movies–by the time the kidlets are in bed, I’m too tired to make the effort. But Darlin’ K and I had an Actual Date on Saturday night. We went to see Forbidden Kingdom, the new Jackie Chan/Jet Li movie. Many people are rather surprised to find out I’m a big Jackie Chan fan, and I like Jet Li too. I like martial arts movies in general, but I came to this love later in life and I have not had a chance to watch all the old classics. Quiz me not on Bruce Lee, I am an ignorant grasshopper.

So, even though this isn’t a “grownup movie” exactly, being rated PG-13 and all, we decided we really had to see this movie. Chan and Li together onscreen for the first time! How could we miss it? We couldn’t, that’s how. And it was thoroughly enjoyable. It’s a coming-of-age/fantasy movie aimed at older kids and tweens, really. Nerdy 14 year old who’s obsessed with kung fu movies gets into a horrifyingly scary situation, somehow gets transported back in time to ancient China, where he has to fulfill a quest in order to save his own life in both worlds. The kid was played very believably by Michael Angarano, and Chan and Li both had dual roles, which was sort of fun. I’d never seen Jet Li being goofy before. That was also fun. (He plays the Monkey King.)

The plot is pretty predictable to anyone who’s seen more than, say, two of this type of film. I don’t really mind that; as long as the journey is enjoyable, I don’t mind that I know where we’re going. Actually, I’ll trade that any day for the kind of plot that has contrived twists and no fun. You need to be able to suspend disbelief fairly well, but I’d hope you’d know that before you ever bought a ticket! Otherwise, you’ll be all caught up in “where did he learn to ride a horse?” and “they took how long to teach him to fight?”. Which, you know, if you’re already going with the idea that a modern kid could be magically transported to ancient China to fulfill a prophecy and take on an immortal lord and his Jade Army, well, you’re sort of missing the point.

The “teaching the kid how to fight” sequences are especially funny, and Jackie & Jet are great together. The women are strong and no one questions why they can fight so well–it’s just a given. So I’d strongly recommend this as a very fun escapist flick for anyone who likes martial arts with a sense of humor, and enjoys fantasy. And visually/cinematographically speaking, it’s a remarkably beautiful movie.

‘K, I’ll give the “movie reviewer” chair back to its rightful owner, now!

 

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