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Martial arts legend Jackie Chan stars as Jack, a world-renowned archaeologist who has begun having mysterious dreams of a past life as a warrior in ancient China. When a fellow scientist enlists his help locating the mausoleum of China's first emperor, the past collides violently with the present as Jack discovers his amazing visions are based in fact. Assisted by the spirit of a noble princess... Written by
When Jack is talking on the phone in the car, his contacts display lists Stanley Tong as a contact. Stanley Tong directed this film, and is also credited for numerous behind the scene roles. See more »
In the end of the movie, when Jack closes the book, on the cover it is written "The Mnth" instead of "The Myth". The difference may be hardly noticeable because of the stylized characters. See more »
This film was pretty hyped up for many reasons. Jackie Chan, after the relatively successful return to HK movie industry with the release of New Police Story, teams up once again with Stanley Tong (Rumble in the Bronx) for starters. Tong wrote the story of The Myth, casting Jackie Chan in a never seen before role (yes, audiences are tired with his cop roles already) as a Qin dynasty general. What's refreshing too is that the role requires the use of a real weapon (a sword in this case), rather than having JC's character improvising with tools from his environment.
As most would already know from the trailer and poster, JC plays Jack Chan (about time they come up with better names too), an archaeologist who dreams about a Korean princess whom he's escorting to the Qin emperor as his new concubine. It's a recurring dream, and before you can say "Indiana Jones", he's off to locales he sees in his dream world to try and unravel its mystery, while research companion Tony Leung (The Lover) irks him along the way with tomb raiding in the name of scientific studies.
The story, while it might be original for a Jackie Chan movie, seemed a little cliché. It plays like a young boy's fantasy of snagging that exotic oriental princess, enjoying the support of the troop masses, having utmost loyalty to the king, and blessed with good fighting skills topped with a signature sword. And with the Qin dynasty, you're usually reduced to plots which may include the Great Wall, beautiful consorts, or the pill of Immortality.
The Myth looks and feels like a classic JC movie in terms of production values, like the familiar fight-with-the-baddies-acrobatic-stunts scenes, and physical humour injected at certain points. However, I guess with JC's age, the number of fight scenes have been reduced, and somewhat slowed down deliberately. The fight at the Rat Glue Factory stood out for being a combination of both brawn and injected situational humour. On the other hand, The Myth signifies new developments in a typical JC storyline, with the introduction of drama-mama romance (nothing much romantic though, with being comatose in all the good bits and lots of lingering stares), and a surprise(?) epilogue for his Qin character. And the "No blood no sex" unofficial clause goes out the window too.
Despite its huge budget, the special effects were not refined, which was a pity. The "blue screen" effect is obvious, even to the untrained eye, and there were a tad too many "lazy extras" who, in wide angled, supposedly big epic fight scenes, just stood, danced, moved around, anything but fight realistically. The original Highlander perfected the art of transitioning between flashbacks and present time, while The Myth falters, looking seemingly forced and contrived at times, or opted for the cheap way out - the blackouts.
As with most JC films, the women here play "flower vases". But I'm not complaining. Kim Hee-seon was beautiful in her role as the princess, and in the blooper reel, she was actually speaking Mandarin, and having a hard time remembering her lines. Mallika Sherawat was sizzling as she dandied around in flimsical dresses, while executing those high kicks, and I guess the entire run up to the Rat Glue Factory might turn out to be a fan favourite.
Many in the audience were surprised when the characters started speaking in Cantonese (for settings in modern day Hong Kong), and the local censors had no issue with that, instead of dubbing over the lines with Mandarin. Now that's a thumbs up.
So enjoy The Myth for what it is, just don't expect too much from a simple predictable storyline, and for some illogical and improbable scenes (I can't stand the horse back-kicking bits) that plays out like Michelle Yeoh's The Touch or even JC's own The Medallion.
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