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A Actionfest In The Tradition Of Martial Arts Films

Author: cadillac20 from Culver City, California
6 November 2013

Going into Man of Tai Chi, there's really only so much you can expect. The acting here is obviously not going to win anyone over and the story isn't anything special. But what is special is what we all know this movie is all about: the action. And it delivers in ways that most martial arts films don't these days.

The film follows a simple plot of Tiger Chen, a Tai Chi practitioner who seeks to find more application to the martial art than what he has learned. After seeing Tiger use Tai Chi during a championship tournament, Donaka Mark, the films chief villain and wealthy runner of underground fighting, seeks Chen out to fight for him. As Chen starts to fight, he also finds a blood lust rising from within.

Reeves is Reeves in the film and his acting is what you would expect. He's cheesy, revels in how bad he is, and gives some truth to just how wooden he can be. But he's still entertaining in a so-bad-it's-good kind of way. The other actors fare much better. Tiger Chen, playing the titular character named after himself, displays some acting talent, as well as major talent as a martial artist. Karen Mok, a fairly well known Hong Kong actress, plays a detective trying to track down Donaka, and does a decent job in her role. Thankfully, Reeves respects martial arts cinema and it's homeland enough to make this more of a Hong Kong action film than an American one. This could have easily been very Americanized, but it does mimic more of what we see come from Hong Kong, following a tradition of martial arts films from the mainland.

The real star of the film here is the action choreography and the cinematography. Reeves has done an excellent job of directing the action here and it all comes across as authentic. There is some obvious wire work here, but it's nothing distracting like the kind of wire work we see in Chinese operas. It's most authentic and well captured. And there is plenty of action to go around. The majority of the film is focused on the fighting and we get plenty of different styles here. Tai Chi as a focus is certainly a very interesting choice, as it is not inherently used for combative purposes. But it's well crafted here as a lethal martial arts and it gives the film a unique flavor that makes it interesting and entertaining. I will say it's a shame that the Bot and Dolly that Reeves had once intended to use wasn't actually used in this, but the cinematography still does an excellent job of not only leaving fights visible by avoiding too much quick cutting, but by also giving us decent frames that capture all the action instead of just a bunch of quick close ups that confuse the audience.

No one is going to write and rave about how wonderful this film is, but it sure is entertaining. The action is certainly very well done and I think the film fulfills it's purpose. I can wholeheartedly recommend Man of Tai Chi for anyone looking for great action.

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The central question being posed in Man of Tai Chi is is what a martial arts expert is fighting for.

Author: budomate-428-124960 from Australia
25 October 2013

You surprised me Mr. Keanu Reeves!

I wasn't so interested to watch this movie but decided to give it a go because of Tiger Chen, it was interesting to see him in action, but besides martial arts skills as an actor he doesn't possess Jet Li or Donnie Yen's charisma.

Opening in China in July and slated for a release in the U.S. by Radius at the end of 2013 martial arts film Man of Tai Chi is a directorial debut of Keanu "Neo" Reeves with Tiger Chen as a lead.

This project heralded by China Film Group, is a prime exemplar of a foreign Hollywood star coming to China and making an authentic Chinese martial arts film with a simple and very often used storyline of a man forced to fight in undeground bare-knuckle championships against most talented fighters.

... read full review on budomate dot com

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It has merits

Author: botrytis from Hungary
25 October 2013

For a newcomer director this movie is far more then decent. What Keanu handled here it was convincing, well, maybe despite his acting, but I respect him as a great man, and as an intelligent guy, what blocks his way to express himself its his shyness, and it may be a good personality for a person, yet when this person is in the director's seat, we may expect much more.

The camera handling, directing was great, I was happy with that, and seeing this as a debut work, well all I can say; "it's well done". The acting was decent, more or less, it was interesting to see Keanu in a bad guy role, which surprisingly suited him thanks to his elegant aura, yet he still has to work on his expressions on his face, I guess, but for a B movie, these acting were decent.

The music is good most of the time, yet there are some cheesy moments of it, but despite these it is impressive and far enough for a martial art action movie flick.

The story is nothing special, it's the typical plot with it's predictable moments, but several elements may save the whole movie. The villain's dark side - which could be developed/worked out more - is far more interesting then in many other movies, as he appears in his mask, dark suit, finishes his victims may give the movie a little ... how should I say, 'pervert' factor. On the other hand, the Tai Chi environment, story is working pretty well, with Tiger's evolution in his talent, the Temple scenes, his master etc.

But the actions are what for we are here, and, as I said before, it was handled pretty well. It's exciting, maybe for some scenes too much, but overall well crafted; in visions, and choreography.

First and last: The movie alone may do his job, but for me it is accomplished thanks to the fact that this is a debut work from a favorite guy. I'd happily wait for his next work, but what I hope is that he works with more serious materials(such as more complex story), which could reflect his talent in directing, or more or less doing 'art'.

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Good to see Reeves stretch out a bit.

Author: LucLonde from United States
11 October 2013

As much as I hate to badmouth people for things I'm truly no good at, Keanu Reeves has never struck me as the most gifted actor, often mistaken for some wooden plank filling the leading role as some poor, underpaid stage hand wheels him around to his marks. I don't remember him ever playing a bad guy before, but in Man of Tai Chi (which he also directed), he seems to have found what he needed to make me forget that he's...well...Keanu Reeves. I have to wonder if he'd be more revered today if he started playing villains earlier in his career. Or maybe it's that directors have always held him back, failing to channel whatever it is that truly keeps studios doling out bajillions to Bill.

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A good action flick for 2013

Author: nicholasctracy from United States
6 October 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a title that had much going for it, but didn't know where it wanted to go in a traditional movie sense. However, if you are a fan of action flicks, it goes how you expect and there are no surprises. It reminded me of "Arena" in the basic premise that starred Samuel L. Jackson. None of the characters were exceptionally interesting. And the idea of "following a man of innocence through his fall from grace", was an interesting one, but from the start you never really feel that Tiger is innocent. You never see him helping anyone to show his morality or has a "save the cat" moment outside of trying to save his temple. Even within that scene he always seems angry. You could always see his "inner rage" if you will from the start. However, that seemed the intent of the film. That being said, the film plays out much like the trailer, which if you enjoyed, there is a good chance you will enjoy this film. It sums up the movie and shows you what to expect and there are no surprises. The only real surprise is the out of no where screaming scene from Reeves which is completely random and unnecessary.

I also was taken out of the film with the ending. *SPOILER* The final fight scene between Tiger and Reeves (which if you didn't see coming, would be a surprise and also means you did not watch the trailer and it is your first martial arts movies since it is rather formulaic), did not fit into the rest of the film. The film never once sets up that Reeves can fight. The only hint is within the first five minutes in which he stabs a former fighter to death in a locker room. He doesn't fight him or block or dodge or show any aptitude for fighting...just for stabbing. Yet, the entire film is on the premise of following Tiger from an innocent man to a bad ass killing machine. Yet...Reeves has no problem what so ever in beating him without much trouble. They should at least show Reeves training in his home or something. Set it up that he can fight. Why should we believe that his character can beat, without much trouble mind you, the hero in the film who as proved that he is an exceptional fighter.

That was my only issue with the film (and the screaming at the camera scene). However, it delivers in terms of a martial arts action film. Yet, do not expect much else. And you shouldn't going into this. It delivers what its target audience is expecting. It is no masterpiece nor amazing like the Matrix, and it is no dud like Street Fighter (Van Damme version).

Watch the trailer, if you enjoy watching it then there is a very high chance you will enjoy this movie for what it is, since you are its target audience. If you think the trailer is silly, then you will think the same of the movie. No surprises. It does what you expect in the fashion you expect.

Stars: 6 out of 10 - Worth a watch for martial arts fans, but doubt you will watch it again. Once satisfies you.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

If you're bored and really have nothing else to watch, it works I guess

Author: heartstream from Sweden
13 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Warning. Some of what I'm writing below, could be considered spoiler!

Well we all know that Keanu ranges from bad to appalling as an actor, and this is no exception! He goes from overacting to wooden in every scene he is in and after a while you actually start to cringe and frown as soon as you see him appear, in anticipation of what he will "deliver this time". His fighting skills are not completely horrible, but it's not enough to deliver a decent fight scene against even a moderate fighter in a non-important scene in the movie. To fight in the final showdown? Oh, dear no no! The final fight, even though it was sadly predictable, turns into a yawn-fest and quite frankly I found myself laughing at how ridiculous his fighting and acting was here.

The movie itself is a mish-mash. Keanu tries to put: culture, old vs new china, a "new" fighting style, a touch of love story, police corruption, illegal fighting with cameras and .....well it keeps on a bit more. Lets just say he tries to put in a lot of stories and angles into this movie, which is always hard to then tell properly, and in a fighting movie it gets almost impossible. The fighting scenes are OK, some are quite good, but the story leaves very much to be desired! It scratches the surface on a lot of subjects and leaves most of it hanging like broken webs in the wind. My expectation for this movie was quite low, so it didn't have to deliver much to make me pleasantly surprised, but it failed miserably.

There's so many b-movies with way better fighting than this, and better acting too I'm afraid, so no....don't watch this unless you're a Keanu-fan. You'd be better of watching an old Van Damme or Jackie Chan movie for the 15th time =)

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Extremely underrated movie

Author: neo-karoshi from United Kingdom
24 July 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Beautiful film. Meaningful. Fighting scenes are mesmerising, music selection helping a lot. I am lost: what kind of person could rate this movie below 7.5?

Beautiful film. Meaningful. Fighting scenes are mesmerising, music selection helping a lot. I am lost: what kind of person could rate this movie below 7.5?

Beautiful film. Meaningful. Fighting scenes are mesmerising, music selection helping a lot. I am lost: what kind of person could rate this movie below 7.5?

Beautiful film. Meaningful. Fighting scenes are mesmerising, music selection helping a lot. I am lost: what kind of person could rate this movie below 7.5?

Beautiful film. Meaningful. Fighting scenes are mesmerising, music selection helping a lot. I am lost: what kind of person could rate this movie below 7.5?

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:


Author: nicholls_les from United Kingdom
21 July 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am an avid fan of good Kung fu movies, but this isn't a good Kung fu movie in any way. Chen Lin-Hu was not a good choice for this role. Yes he clearly has some Kung fu skills but he just doesn't look like a hero. In many of the fights it was a surprise that he won as he looked like he would snap at any minute. The last fight with Keanu,was just laughable. You could tell wires were used, and not very well either. We are supposed to believe that this western man with mediocre Kung fu skills at best, was able to almost beat the guy who was beating all comers who had much superior skills to Keanu. There were so many plot holes that I lost count, but for example why didn't Keanu's character kill Tiger when he didn't kill his opponent? He seemed to have found that necessary with the undercover cop at the beginning. There was a love interest that didn't go anywhere which was also pointless. There were so many things about this film that disappointed me that I regretted buying the DVD (it will immediately go on ebay) The only convincing character was the female cop!

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Insanely boring

Author: thunter666 from USA
15 February 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I just happened to watch this movie "The man of Tai Chi" as it was added on Netflix. I just wanted to watch this as movie as this was the directorial debut of Keanu Reaves.

I can say the movie was just average, the action was routine, seemed redundant and overall was not really engaging.

I don't say actors did a terrible job but was not really great either.

The editing was mediocre and background score was very normal.

Of course, there is a valuable lesson that director wanted to portray that power should be used in right way else it leads to destruction. But the message was not really convincing.

All in all, it is just an average flick with predictable plot and immature direction, do watch it if you don't have anything else to do.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Man of Tai Chi

Author: colome336 from United States
11 February 2014

First off let me say that I highly enjoyed the film. I enjoyed its style, soundtrack, fight scenes, and story-line.

Most likely if you're watching Man of Tai Chi you're one of two things or both; either a kung-fu/martial arts movie enthusiast or a fan of Keanu Reeves. If you're neither of these things you may not enjoy the film very much.

The film itself is a perfect blend of that classic kung-fu movie style and Keanu Reeves' darker side. The overall tone of the film is a contrast between good and evil, as are most films.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the film and found it to be a new favorite among my kung-fu movies along with Yip Man, Fearless, etc. The quality of the film, along with its dark stylistic overtones and music was excellent.

Definitely looking forward to move movies directed by Keanu Reeves.

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