A movie break

I took time out from watching the Holy Father’s coverage today to take in a movie.   I went to Forbidden Kingdom with Jackie Chan and Jet Lee.

There were many aspects of the film that were predictable, because the film fit into a couple different genres that tend to be formulaic.   On the one hand there is the wuxia film tradition, with some of its standard elements, on the other hand adventure of growing up by the fatherless boy, finding redeeming figures, etc.

The film had some very good "values" to it, both cinemagraphic as well as "moral".  I suppose a few people might freak out that this movie also is steeped in Chinese mythology and some Eastern religion imagery.  But… once you put it aside, you find some rather nice things in the movie about friendship, sacrifice, perseverence, good v evil, etc.

If you know something about Chinese martial arts films, you should enjoy this.  You might want to brush up on the very important legend of the Monkey King, and you will recognize the sacred peaches, etc.  That was fun.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:


    Could you comment on the music in this film? If there is rock noise in a film, or even jazz, I simply don’t go to it.


  2. Mike H says:

    I’m not a movie goer but I also took in a movie this afternoon – Expelled: No Intelligence Allowd. Well done and thought provoking. Where is ‘science’ taking us?

  3. Calleva says:

    Thank you for this recommendation. I just love Jackie Chan’s movies, and will definitely see this. I’d not heard of it, so thanks again.

  4. Mark Tan says:

    I just watched this movie with my family. I’m chinese. So I found it quite similar with the usual chinese kung fu fighting dramas. I have to agree that it was a nice show. When I was watching, I thought that surely the Westerners would like those kung fu scenes and Eastern myths which makes things seem all so mysterious. They altered quite abit of the monkey king story. He was supposed to be trapped by Buddha on 5 finger mountain for 500 years after wrecking havoc in heaven, subsequently freed to follow a monk to india to retrieve Buddhist mantras. This is the the Journey to the West. It’s a great read, if you get a good translation from Mandarin.

  5. It looks like an interesting movie. But I thought Jet Li had said he wouldn’t make any more kung fu movies after “Fearless.”

    I am hesitant to watch this. Although I really enjoy both Jackie Chan and Jet Li movies on their own, their styles seem to be totally different, I actually have a hard time imagining them together. Jackie Chan movies usually seem to have a more lighthearted feel than Jet Li movies. Jet Li just seems to cover more intense topics than Jackie Chan (not that I am speaking bad about either actor).

    Still, it’s good to hear this movie isn’t bad. I may go see it now.

    Hmmm, sacred peaches. I’m unfamiliar with the mythology, but that might make the subject of the movie “Kung Phooey!” that much more funny. (Definitely a funny flick if you like Bruce Lee flicks and goofy comedy).

  6. tertullian says:

    c’mon, be honest. You needed to put the old brain in neutral for a little downtime between Papal addresses.We’re all in the same boat. This great man has the capacity to spool-up our brains within each paragraph, and it taxes our capacity to keep up.

  7. Melody says:

    Thanks Father, I love anime and asian movies. There’s an odd film called “Deathnote” I recommend checking out. BTW, I got my yellow belt in karate last week. :)

  8. Eric the Read says:

    I just went to see it with my wife last weekend and we both agreed it’s a fun, albeit flawed, flick.

    Yes, it’s more than a bit formulaic– aside from the effects and the Western lead actor, it was pretty much a generic wuxia movie– but we both like that formula, so it’s okay. :-) As for the Sacristan’s worries– no fear. Chan mostly does drunken-style, and Li does a more traditional wuxia than you normally see in his solo films, so the fight scenes work out fairly well. Li lightens up tremendously for this film, which I personally found a relief after the unrelenting dreariness of, say, “Hero”.

    Personally, I was more worried about Jackie Chan; his recent movies have not been very good, to be frank. The best movie he’s made in recent years was “Gorgeous”, and that one only had two fight scenes (of which he lost one). The “Shanghai” movies were cheesy, and the less said about ‘The Tuxedo’ the better. He was in rare form here, though, and his drunken-style kung fu recalled memories of Drunken Master, one of my favourite of his early films.

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