285 user 213 critic

The Forbidden Kingdom (2008)

1:25 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Prime Video

A discovery made by a kung fu obsessed American teen sends him on an adventure to China, where he joins up with a band of martial arts warriors in order to free the imprisoned Monkey King.


Rob Minkoff


John Fusco
4,639 ( 154)
5 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

More Like This 

Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

When a Chinese rebel murders Chon's estranged father and escapes to England, Chon and Roy make their way to London with revenge on their minds.

Director: David Dobkin
Stars: Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Fann Wong
Rob-B-Hood (2006)
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Thongs and Octopus accept a job from their landlord: kidnap a baby. Soon, the baby awakens strong paternal feelings in the two crooks, leading to complications when it comes to handing him over to his possibly crazy gang boss grandfather.

Director: Benny Chan
Stars: Jackie Chan, Michael Hui, Louis Koo
Shanghai Noon (2000)
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A Chinese man travels to the Wild West to rescue a kidnapped Princess. After teaming up with a train robber, the unlikely duo takes on a Chinese traitor and his corrupt boss.

Director: Tom Dey
Stars: Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Lucy Liu
The Medallion (2003)
Action | Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

A Hong Kong detective suffers a fatal accident involving a mysterious medallion and is transformed into an immortal warrior with superhuman powers.

Director: Gordon Chan
Stars: Jackie Chan, Lee Evans, Claire Forlani
Who Am I? (1998)
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A Secret Agent loses his memory after falling from a crashing helicopter. He is then chased by several other agency operatives, but he has no idea why.

Directors: Benny Chan, Jackie Chan
Stars: Jackie Chan, Michelle Ferre, Mirai Yamamoto
The Tuxedo (2002)
Action | Comedy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A hapless chauffeur must take a comatose Secret Agent's place using his special gadget-laden tuxedo.

Director: Kevin Donovan
Stars: Jackie Chan, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jason Isaacs
Fearless (2006)
Action | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A biography of Chinese Martial Arts Master Huo Yuanjia, who is the founder and spiritual guru of the Jin Wu Sports Federation.

Director: Ronny Yu
Stars: Jet Li, Li Sun, Yong Dong
The One (2001)
Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A rogue Multiverse agent goes on a manhunt for versions of himself, getting stronger with each kill. With only one version remaining, he races against the clock to finish him and become "The One."

Director: James Wong
Stars: Jet Li, Carla Gugino, Delroy Lindo
Unleashed (2005)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A man enslaved by the mob since childhood and raised into behaving like a human attack dog escapes his captors and attempts to start a new life.

Director: Louis Leterrier
Stars: Jet Li, Bob Hoskins, Morgan Freeman
The Myth (2005)
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Archeologist Jack keeps having reoccurring dreams of a past life, where he is the great General Meng Yi, who is sworn to protect a Korean Princess named Ok-Soo. Jack decides to go investigate everything with his friend William.

Director: Stanley Tong
Stars: Bing Shao, Jackie Chan, Weixing Yao
Rush Hour 3 (2007)
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

After an attempted assassination on Ambassador Han, Lee and Carter head to Paris to protect a French woman with knowledge of the Triads' secret leaders.

Director: Brett Ratner
Stars: Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Max von Sydow
Rush Hour 2 (2001)
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Carter and Lee head to Hong Kong for a vacation, but become embroiled in a counterfeit money scam.

Director: Brett Ratner
Stars: Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, John Lone


Cast overview, first billed only:
Jet Li ... The Monkey King / The Silent Monk
Michael Angarano ... Jason Tripitikas
Jackie Chan ... Lu Yan / Old Hop
Juana Collignon Juana Collignon ... Southie Girl
Morgan Benoit ... Lupo
Jack Posobiec Jack Posobiec ... Southie
Thomas McDonell ... Young Southie
Zhi Ma Gui Zhi Ma Gui ... Old Woman
Shen Shou He Shen Shou He ... Farmer
Bin Jiang Bin Jiang ... Young Village Man
Shaohua Yang Shaohua Yang ... Jade Soldier
Yu Yuan Zeng Yu Yuan Zeng ... Inn Keeper
Deshun Wang Deshun Wang ... Jade Emperor
XiaoLi Liu XiaoLi Liu ... Queen Mother
Collin Chou ... Jade Warlord


An American teenager who is obsessed with Hong Kong cinema and kung-fu classics makes an extraordinary discovery in a Chinatown pawnshop: the legendary stick weapon of the Chinese sage and warrior, the Monkey King. With the lost relic in hand, the teenager unexpectedly finds himself traveling back to ancient China to join a crew of warriors from martial arts lore on a dangerous quest to free the imprisoned Monkey King. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The battle for eternity is the fantasy of a lifetime. (Canadian poster) See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sequences of martial arts action and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



USA | China


English | Mandarin

Release Date:

18 April 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jackie Chan/Jet Li Project See more »


Box Office


$55,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$21,401,121, 20 April 2008, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

SDDS | DTS | Dolby | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Jet Li worked with John Fusco on the screenplay and said, "He is a superb screenwriter and has been learning Chinese martial arts for more than ten years. He has roughly put across in the film some of my basic understanding of martial arts and principles of Buddhism." See more »


As Ni Chang prepares to fire (should be shoot - fire is for guns) the arrow which hits Lu Yan, she places it on the wrong side of the bow. An arrow held as she positions it would rotate away from the bow as the bow is drawn. See more »


The Silent Monk: But, he's not even Chinese.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Jackie Chan and Jet Li are credited together before the title. Jackie Chan's name is spelled out horizontally, but Jet Li's is spelled out vertically, and the same "J" is used for both. See more »


Deng Zhe Ni Hui Lai
("Waiting 4 U")
Written by Yan Kuan
Performed by Bai Kwong
©EMI Music Publishing Hong Kong
avec l'autorisation d'EMI Music Publishing France
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Pointlessly Enthusiastic
24 April 2008 | by divadrummerSee all my reviews

If you're not a 13 year-old boy, Forbidden Kingdom was not really made for you. I understand the appeal of Jet Li and Jackie Chan, together at last, and everyone's hopes for a harmonious combination like peanut butter and chocolate. I shared this hope, but was served something more like canned cheese with crackers. It's not that this combination is bad, just that their pairing is framed within a feeble, pointlessly enthusiastic action film.

Forbidden Kingdom follows the story of Jason (Michael Angarano), a die-hard kungfu fan and his concussion-induced journey back in time to a mythical China. Jason must return a golden staff to the Monkey King (Jet Li), who is imprisoned in stone under the evil gaze of the immortal Jade Warlord (Collin Chou). Jason meets a silent monk (Jet Li), drunken master Lu Yan (Jackie Chan), and musical assassin Golden Sparrow (Yifei Liu) who all have a vested interest in the Monkey King or the demise of the Jade Warlord. They accompany Jason on his quest and give him the skills he needs to repel his foes.

The characters are interesting but completely shallow. We're introduced to them as stock. There's an assumed level of familiarity with martial arts movies, which they're directly inspired by, but little more is given than this stereotype. Lu Yan and the Silent Monk profess death threats, engage in playful antics, and display some unknown kinship, sometimes all within the same scene. We like Golden Sparrow because she's beautiful and she's the same age as our protagonist. Beyond an obvious romantic setup, a briefly uttered revenge quest, and a catfight, she's completely pointless. It's interesting that Li and Chan both play secondary characters in this movie, and in roles that are not their traditional typecast fare. Jackie Chan is terribly sympathetic, but by his own undeniable Jackie Chan charm, not on any strength of the movie.

My biggest problem with this movie lies in Jason's story. He's sent to mythical China with more stereotypes than skills, and through truly excessive use of montage, becomes a warrior who can help the Monkey King. I suspend disbelief for fantasy films, but the montages are as repetitive and annoying as the whiny Jason. Since we're so interested in Jet Li and Jackie Chan, why make them secondary characters and give the focus to a coming-of-age quest? My rhetorical question is answered for you in the first sentence of the review. But I think this also skirts the issue of trying to give equal screen time and top billing to the two biggest martial arts stars of our age.

As repugnant as the writing and editing may be, Forbidden Kingdom makes up for this in a good dose of fight scenes. This has some of the best story-to-action ratios of any martial arts movie, hearkening back to the heyday of kung fu, where the story is minimized to make room for more action. Nothing wrong with that! It's still entertaining as always to watch Chan and Li fight. There is one very long sparring sequence and while it's nothing terribly flashy, you do get a sense that the two are very well matched. Some of the editing is sketchy, relying heavily on reaction shots rather than allowing us to see maneuvers connect. Some of the fighting is extremely theatrical and extended, in true wushu style, and beautiful to see.

The visuals have that nearly animated quality, with emphasis on glow and gold, that we've seen so often in fantasy movies lately. Combined with the cutout characters, it gives the impression that you're watching more of a video game than a movie. I like video games, but this is not necessarily a boon. I'd like to see something more original, or maybe something that draws more heavily on Chinese cinema, since the movie already borrows so liberally from those films.

Forbidden Kingdom has all of the good components of a classic action film, but together, these elements work against each other in a big way. The narrative is short, but not short enough. The general tone is more like a poor comic book movie than a kung fu fantasy. This may appeal to some, but dressing up in silks doesn't make this tired thing new again.

57 of 94 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 285 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed