Tuesday 6 November 2012

Tai Chi Hero Movie Review

Surely this movie should have been called Tai Chi Zero and the original Tai Chi Hero. Read on to find out why this sequel does not live up to its name.

Forgive me people; I know it’s been a while.  Things have been pretty busy in the run up to Christmas.  Popped over to Beijing last week to finally set eyes on The Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China, pretty breathtaking stuff.  Now I’m back in Singapore and it’s business as usual.

Tai Chi Hero opened last week in what was for me one of the biggest movie disappointments in recent memory.

I was a pretty huge fan of the first movie giving it a very respectable four flaming skulls score.  It was fresh, exciting and left me highly anticipating the sequel, keen to know the outcome of our protagonists exploits.

Alas, all the magic in the first movie appears to have vanished into the ether for this sequel.  I have no idea what happened. 

The movie starts off where the first finished.  It is forbidden for Chen style Kung Fu to be taught to any outsiders of the village, so when Yang Lu Chan learns Chen style Kung Fu simply by observing and fighting the villagers, he is deemed to have illegally stolen the Kung Fu.  To save him and in gratitude for everything he has done, Angelababy takes Lu Chan as her husband. 

Things are not smooth sailing however as Master Chen's long lost son mysteriously returns and Fang Zijing is still seeking revenge following the first movie.

The problem is that the movie just doesn’t have the drive, flare and energy the first movie did.  The entire sub-plot featuring Master Chen's long lost son, although interesting, just feels like something thrown in to pass the time until we reach our finale.  Our main villain is still Fang Zijing but whereas he seemed to be a remorseful and at times relatable to villain in the fist movie, he is a purely comic book villain in this and quickly becomes very annoying.

There is very little real martial arts action in this and the final climax of the movie was depressingly underwhelming.  With Prodigal Son Yuen Biao facing off against our hero in the finale, I was starting to get my hopes up again only to have them quashed once more.  So much potential for a memorable final fight, a martial arts movie legend versus a potential martial arts maestro in the making completely wasted.

Even the fantastic Angelababy was seemingly demoted from a pivotal powerful character in the first movie to something more akin to a damsel in distress in this.

Everything that made the first movie so memorable was completely missing from this lackluster sequel.  There are moments where you see glimpses of what made the first movie great but the sequel never follows through, which makes things even more frustrating.  Towards the end Yang Lu Chan has to defeat 7 or so bosses in true video gaming style but the fights are never shown, we only get to see a short clip of Lu Chan winning each time.  This is a martial arts movie, why were the fights not shown??  I don’t know.  Such a shame to see such potential wasted.

I recommend you watch Tai Chi Zero as a standalone entity and give this a miss.

Rating 2.5/5 (Gets an extra point thanks to the great Angelababy)


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