Quickie review of Forbidden Kingdom:
Two of the fight scenes are excellent, and the rest are pretty good.
I mean, you’re not seeing it for the plot, which is light. You’re seeing it because it’s the first time Jet Li and Jackie Chan have been in a movie together, and despite the fact that you’re nervous about Rob Minkoff’s directing (I mean, The Lion King?), Woo-ping Yuen is a great action choreographer.
It works out pretty well. Michael Angarano is not a completely embarassing martial arts actor; in particular, during his one extended fight scene, he does a decent job of being outclassed by the Witch of the Wolves. Everyone else is solid, of course. The Jackie Chan/Jet Li fight scene is superb and just about as good as you’d have wanted it to be, even with both of them aging.
And as far as I can tell, all the Westerners involved have a fondness for Hong Kong martial arts flicks. Nobody’s trying to dress this up or make it deep — it’s just another kung fu movie with a big premise and some time travel. Exposition is for art movies. If you don’t know who the Eight Immortals are, you can either find out on your own or live without understanding some of the references.
So I liked it, even though the South Boston accents were abysmal.