« Camille Claudel 1915 | Main | Knife in the Water — CLASSIC FILM PICK »

October 27, 2013

Man of Tai Chi

Man of Tai ChiFor his directorial debut, Keanu Reeves crafts an exquisitely entertaining martial arts picture aimed at the international market. Reeves is clearly playing to Asian audiences. Punched up with self-mocking sequences of camp humor involving Reeves’s megalomaniacal character Donaka Mark, the cleverly clichéd story — by music-composer-turned-screenwriter Michael G. Cooney — is droll to begin with.

Martian-arts master Tiger Hu Chen plays Chen Lin-Hu, an impoverished Tai Chi practitioner whose master (Yu Hai) is about to have his humble temple impounded. An underground fight circuit — operated by Donaka Mark — discovers Lin-Hu’s fighting skills, and auditions him through a series of private mano y mano battles with fighters from other martial-arts disciplines. Although it’s counterintuitive that a tai-chi fighter could defeat mixed martial arts masters, Lin-Hu wastes no time working his way to the top of Mark’s illegal fight club circuit in brilliantly choreographed fight sequences that are as brutal as they are visually lush. The level of pure athleticism on display is astounding. These are fight sequences you can sink your teeth into.

“Man of Tai Chi” is clearly a labor of love from Keanu Reeves, whose friendship with the Sichuan native Chen Lin-Hu formed the basis for the movie. With its simple narrative trappings, the bare-bones storyline allows for a feel-good martial arts movie concerned with celebrating the jaw-dropping spectacle that highly skilled martial artists from various disciplines can provide. So while Chen Lin-Hu doesn’t carry the magnetism of a Bruce Lee or a Jackie Chan, his talents receive a proper context in a popcorn movie that works like a charm.

Rated R. 105 mins. (B+) (Four Stars - out of five/no halves)



Click Here to Visit the FilmBlog for Artwork, Movies, Music, News, Photos, Politics, Posters, Reviews, Trailers, Videos, and More...

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c2b7953ef019b005eb818970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Man of Tai Chi:

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Featured Video

SMART NEW MEDIA® Custom Video

COLE SMITHEY’S MOVIE WEEK

COLE SMITHEY’S CLASSIC CINEMA

Throwback Thursday