Monday, April 21, 2008

Forbidden Kingdom

forbidden kingdom movie poster

This English script, comedy-fiction of Forbidden Kingdom movie sees an American teenager, Jason (Michael Angarano - Will And Grace, Lords of Dogtown, Seabiscuit), who loves kung fu fighting being transported into ancient world China.

His mission - to free the Monkey King from the spell of the evil Jade Warlord. The Monkey King was cast into a statue and will only be freed with the weapon held by Jason.

forbidden kingdom, jet li, jackie chan

Jason is lucky as he is helped first by Lu Yan (Jackie Chan - Drunken Master, Rush Hour) and also an orphan girl by the name Golden Sparrow (Yifei Lui). They were later joined with the Silent Monk (Jet Li - Fearless, The One, Once Upon A Time In China).

forbidden kingdom, jackie chan

Jackie Chan

forbidden kingdom, jet li
Jet Li

The movie shows the journey and bond of friendship of the 4 different characters - the drunken happy-go-lucky Lu Yan who were most times at loggerheads with the Silent Monk. And to help himself, Jason went to learn kung fu by the two masters with different techniques.

Why You Should Watch This Movie
If you are a kung fu fan, this movie is one of the must watch of all times - where 2 kung fu movie legends battle it out. It's the first time both Jet Li and Jackie Chan battle on screen.

It of course also shows the comedy hero Jacky Chan in a lil different drunken role, but still funny vs the on screen serious Jet Li.

battle scene, forbidden kingdom, jackie chan, jet li

More - the action choreography is done by Wo Ping who also did for The Matrix and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

Chinese and Hong Kong movie buffs will also enjoy this film as it has a little bit of Chinese influence, despite this being an international English movie.

Why Not
Though not fully a slapstick comedy, the storyline is rather lame and at times a lil too fictitious. Some may also find the jokes may be a lil silly at times too.

The CGI effects are also not too inspiring as to what we've seen around nowadays.

And if you expected much more action between the 2 kung fu legends, one may leave a lil dissapointed as there is only one scene between them. If they played a good and evil, then that may be better.

Conclusion & Movie Rating
If you are a fan of Hong Kong/ Chinese movies style or a fan of Jackie Chan or Jet Li, or even a kung fu fan, then go watch this - you'll definitely enjoy it.

Or if you put a lower expectation, then this maybe a good watch. Just don't hope too much.

Otherwise, there are other better movies around.

3 stars.

Escape From Huang Shi

children of huang shi movie

This movie apparently has 2 titles - another which is called Children of Huang Shi.

This true story is a sweeping but intimate story set against war-torn China during the Japanese occupation in the late 1930’s. The film revolves around an English war journalist George Hogg (by Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers), an American doctor-nurse Lee Pearson (by Australian actress Radha Mitchell) and the leader of a Chinese partisan group 'Jack' Chen (by Hong Kong actor Chow Yun Fat).

george hogg, escape from huang shi

George, trapped in China met 'Jack' Chen who helped and saved his life. Along the way, he also meets and falls in love with Lee Pearson. She apparently is also attracted to 'Jack', though the love story is not much of the highlight.

children of huang shi, lee pearson, jack chen

He together with Lee and also 'Jack' helped bring together and save a school of orphaned children, leading them on an extraordinary and ambitious journey for months across hundreds of miles of treacherous terrain, through snow-covered mountains and an unforgiving desert.

Along the way they discover the true meaning of love, responsibility and courage.

Why You Should Watch This Movie
Set in olden day China, the remake scene of Shanghai is awesome and full of grandeur. It was very real, even so the Japanese Headquarters. The sceneries across the Silk Road is another eye soothing experience.

Plot wise, this heart-warming true story is inspiring as it shows how the West & East work together for a common vision - that is to help the children. Without any experience, the journalist managed to groom the children to farming and learning English.

The war scenes are very real and shows what China went through during that period. Hisotry if learnt this way would be much more interesting and fun.

Fans of Chinese actor, Chow Yun Fat will be quite happy with his rather comfortable English now as well. Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Radha Mitchell played their roles well as well, especially Jon for soaking into his role from first terrified and scared to later a hero to the children.

Why Not
If you are a big fan of the actress who made a big star in Hong Kong and one of the most famous Bond girls, Michelle Yeoh, you'll be quite disappointed. Playing the role of a rich opium merchant, Madame Wang, her role in this movie was rather small. Clearly, the stars were the other three.

children of huang shi, michelle yeoh

Conclusion & Movie Rating
This production is worth every cent if you are keen to be inspired yet have an enjoyable watch.

4.5 stars

The Trailer

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Other Boleyn Girl

the other boleyn girl movie poster

The Plot (edited from The Other Boleyn Girl, Sony Pictures)
Based on the best-selling novel by Philippa Gregory, The Other Boleyn Girl is an engrossing and sensual tale of intrigue, romance, and betrayal set against the backdrop of a defining moment in history.

Two sisters, Anne (Natalie Portman) and Mary (Scarlett Johansson) Boleyn, are driven by their ambitious father and uncle to advance the family’s power and status by courting the affections of the king of England (Eric Bana).

Leaving behind the simplicity of country life, the girls are thrust into the dangerous and thrilling world of court life – and what began as a bid to help their family develops into a ruthless rivalry between Anne and Mary for the love of the king. Initially, Mary (the younger of the 2 in the movie) wins King Henry’s favor and becomes his mistress, bearing him an illegitimate child.

But Anne, clever, cunninng, and fearless, edges aside both her sister and Henry’s wife, Queen Katherine of Aragon, in her relentless pursuit of the king. Despite Mary’s genuine feelings for Henry, her sister Anne has her sights set on the ultimate prize; Anne will not stop until she is Queen of England.

As the Boleyn girls battle for the love of a king – one driven by ambition, the other by true affection – England is torn apart. Despite the dramatic consequences, the Boleyn girls ultimately find strength and loyalty in each other, and they remain forever connected by their bond as sisters.

Why You Should Watch This Movie
The plot is very well built up and gives good insight on how things were done in the palace then. It also shows how terrible sex and lust can cause even a King to fall from grace, and the things that can happen when too much power is wielded onto someone. The greed of power is shown through the siblings father, Sir Thomas Boleyn.

If you are into old England and are into history then this movie is for you. the setting is well done with the costumes and all resemble closely to the time, just like the other old England movies on the monarch.

Why Not
This is an adaptation of the novel, and even the novel may not necessarily be accurate. It has actually gained a fair bit of criticism especially on grey matters which have no concrete proof.

The ending is a lil abrupt though it didn't affect the movie much but it finished a lil too quickly. And there is a fair bit of head chopping although the scenes are not shown.

This is a worth your monies - definitely will be in the eyes of the jury of the Oscar awards. 4 Stars.