The Forbidden KingdomI was in the mood for a little Jackie Chan again, after enjoying the thoroughly pleasant Shanghai Knights the other night, and after twisting Chantelle’s arm around and explaining to her that it was my turn to pick something at the video store, I triumphantly emerged clutching The Forbidden Kingdom to my chest.

Now the forbidden kingdom is a 2008 martial arts/adventure film directed by Rob Minkoff and starring two of the arguably most recognised names in the martial arts film genre, Jackie Chan and Jet Li.

The movie tells the story of an kung fu movie obsessed America kid who finds golden staff hidden away in an old Chinese pawn shop and during a robbery gone wrong, gets transported to another world still clutching the staff. This other world, which looks very much like feudal China, is a fantasy setting where the people live in fear, trapped beneath the iron boot of the fearsome, immortal Jade Warlord, who has ruled for well over 500 years now!

Prophecy speaks of a traveller who will arrive and seek to return the golden staff to the trapped Monkey King, and it would seem that Jason (the American boy), is indeed that traveller. However, in a world of swords, spears and halberds, how does one survive when one is not exactly much of a fighter? Simple, you employ the help of an immortal drunken master, a silent fighting monk and a beautiful musician known only as the Golden Sparrow.

This movie is a nice departure from Jackie Chan’s last batch of American movies in that it is strictly speaking not an all out comedy. Sure there is a lot of classic Jackie Chan humour littered throughout the story, but at the heart of it all, this is a thoroughly enjoyable, rich fantasy adventure tale that is sure to entertain and delight all who see it.

And of course, with people like Jet Li and Jackie Chan involved in the project, you can rest assured that there is literally oodles of brilliantly choreographed fighting sequences to entertain even the most hardened of martial arts moviegoers.

It may not be a true masterpiece and it certainly won’t win an Oscar, but The Forbidden Kingdom is a masterfully made, beautiful to look at and skilfully presented martial arts comedy that fans of the genre are absolutely sure to enjoy!

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