Forbidden Kingdom

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: +1/2

Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Michael Angarano. Action/adventure/sci-fi. Written by John Fusco. Directed by Rob Minkoff.

FILM SYNOPSIS: An American teen is transported back in time to ancient China, where he joins a crew of warriors to help free the king, who has been placed under a spell and turned into stone.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Jackie Chan and Jet Li, both in the same kick-action thriller! If only Bruce Lee was still with us and in this one, that would make it the trifecta of whats respectfully referred to as kick-suey action fantasies.

You dont have to worry about any faux-literate verbiage or deep social messages. This film is just pure escapism, filled to the brim with martial arts kicks and flips and lighthearted absurdity. I suppose you could find some symbolism and perhaps the characters are representative of good and evil, but I think its stretching it a bit to find our young hero to be a messianic figure. This is just a fine example of the genre, with Mr. Li and Mr. Chan doing what they do best. Both actors display a good sense of humor and both choreograph the martial arts battles with all the aplomb of a Fred Astaire dance sequence. (Thats a compliment, for those who dont know Fred Astaire.) It lacks the artistry and substance of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and though the plot does little more than a cameo, still it generates whimsy and the leads are likeable.

The fly in the dim sum, however, is the incessant violence. While it is supposed to be whimsical, and though we come to expect one martial arts battle after another in these films, there are also some jolting acts of brutality that detract from the playful tone. An old man is shot by a gang of modern day teens, while others are killed by sword, knives and slings and arrows. I suppose your level of acceptance will rely upon your appreciation for the genre. If you like martial arts movies, Id say this is a pretty good one. If you see very few of them, you may object to the amount of physical pummeling.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: One crude sexual term.

Obscene Language: Two or three uses of the s-word by the modern day teens.

Profanity: One misuse of Jesus name, again, by the teens.

Violence: One martial arts battle after another; though little blood is shown, and nothing is meant to be taken seriously, there are violent acts, including a man shot by a gun, a woman and a man shot by arrows, another killed by knives and one mean gal falling to her death. Blood: The violence, while continuous, is artful and nearly bloodless.

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: None

Other: Though there are some magic powers displayed by the Asian leaders, its not about promoting Eastern religious beliefs. Nor does the exuberant choreography suggest legitimate sorcery. Nothing in it, except for the themes of love and honor, is to be taken seriously. It is fantasy.

Running Time: 95 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and Adults

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