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Film review: The Forbidden Kingdom

Well it’s about time.

There was a moment when the late-90’s Hong Kong invasion looked like it was going to be a boon for American cinema, but when some of the greatest stars and most promising directors of the far east finally arrived and actually started working in Hollywood, they immediately started cranking out inferior works.

Jackie Chan managed to become a household name, but he managed to do so mostly through a string of buddy action comedies pairing him Western co-stars (or, as I like to think of them, minders) that delivered diminishing returns.

Jet Li tried to go a more bad-ass route, but the results were simply bad, and he ended up the taciturn villain or sexless, speechless hero in movies with blaring hip hop soundtracks.

It really shouldn’t have taken a decade for someone to figure out that instead of diluting Hong Kong heroes’skills and star power with something homegrown, they should maybe appear in the same movies together.

Which brings us to The Forbidden Kingdom, the first time Chan and Li have shared the screen and, more importantly for kung fu fans, fought each other. Continue reading