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The Forbidden Kingdom (2008)

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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.

Director:

Rob Minkoff

Writer:

John Fusco
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Popularity
4,057 ( 406)
5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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 »
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Details

Country:

USA | China

Language:

English | Mandarin

Release Date:

18 April 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jackie Chan/Jet Li Project See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$55,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

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

Gross USA:

$52,075,270

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$127,980,002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | DTS | Dolby | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The characters were mostly taken from Chinese mythology and adventure pulps. Lu Yan is a famous Taoist Saint (he is better known as Lü Dongbin, one of the Eight Immortals referenced in Jackie Chan's Drunken Master movies). The Jade Emperor is the ruler of the Heavens in Chinese myth. The Monkey King is from a sixteenth century fantasy epic by Wu Cheng En. Golden Sparrow was the name of the character played by Pei-Pei Cheng in several Shaw Brothers movies, like Da zui xia (1966). The White Haired Demoness is the anti-heroine of a pulp novel by Liang Yusheng (filmed twice) with the same title. See more »

Goofs

When Jason is fighting the witch in the Jade castle, he jumps to recover the staff. You can clearly see that he has his hands on the pole when lands. In the next shot, the pole is several feet away from him. The shot after that, it's just within fingers reach. See more »

Quotes

[the Jade Warlord tricks the Monkey King into becoming a statue]
Jade Warlord: Martial art is based on deception, my friend.
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 »

Connections

References Virtua Fighter 2 (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Just saw it at the theater down the street from my house...
18 April 2008 | by dee.reidSee all my reviews

In gong-fu movie lore, it has long been foretold that one day two of the greatest stars of the genre would come together one day on the screen. That day has come in "The Forbidden Kingdom," which stars two of the latest and greatest stars of the martial arts movie genre - Jackie Chan and Jet Li.

Combined, both men's careers span over 30 years and over 100 movies, in their native China and here in the United States; that's a lot of kung-pow kicking and punching. They both decided to make their American crossovers around the same time during the 1990s - Chan's first hit in the U.S. was "Rumble in the Bronx" (1995) and became a mega-star due to the "Rush Hour" movies, while Li made his American debut as the lead villain in "Lethal Weapon 4" (1998), received his first English-speaking starring role in "Romeo Must Die" (2000), and earned critical respectability with "Unleashed" in 2005.

Now, we're at "The Forbidden Kingdom." I like both stars. My friends and I, like many other martial arts movie fans, have eagerly awaited this cinematic pairing for some time.

Starting in the present - 2008 - an American teenager named Jason (Michael Angarano) who has an obsession with gong-fu movies is magically transported back in time to ancient China by the long-lost staff of the fabled Monkey King (Li, in one of two roles in the film), where he learns he has been chosen to return it to him. 500 years earlier, the mischievous martial arts master Monkey King had been imprisoned in stone by the Jade Warlord (Collin Chou).

On his journey, Jason comes across the drunken beggar Lu Yan (Chan, in one of two roles in the film), who teaches him gong-fu so that he will be able to take on the Jade Army. They are also aided by The Silent Monk (Li, in his other role) and the orphan assassin Sparrow (Yifei Liu). There is one particularly funny sequence where Lu Yan and The Silent Monk fight over how to train Jason to defend himself - with Lu Yan's unorthodox methods and the Monk's more traditional approach.

"The Forbidden Kingdom" is one fast-paced and entertaining martial arts flick that keeps you watching just because of the know-it-all/seen-it-all before charisma of the star talent. With nods aplenty toward the martial arts movies of yesteryear (chiefly old-school Shaw Brothers movies, as well as plenty of helpings of Taoist philosophy and the Jeet Kune Do teachings of Bruce Lee), "The Forbidden Kingdom" is perhaps what Quentin Tarantino has fantasized about so much during countless cinema grind-house outings as an impressionable teenager and later as an adult realized on the screen in his "Kill Bill" films.

But Tarantino is nowhere in sight. Behind this production, is American screenwriter John Fusco (who based the script on the epic story "Journey to the West," which is cited as one of the four great novels of Chinese literature) and American director Rob Minkoff (of "The Lion King"). This production, put simply, is probably the best combination of American-Chinese talent since "Enter the Dragon" way back in 1973. Choreographing the fights with plenty of wire-work and CGI pizazz is Woo-ping Yuen, known for his work with both Chan and Li, as well as "The Matrix" (1999) and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (2000). It's pretty impressive that although it's fairly obvious that wires are being used in the fight scenes, it doesn't really take away from the action like it often tends to in American features, but actually enhances their intensity here.

I got a lot of enjoyment from watching "The Forbidden Kingdom" and watching the magnificent grace of Jackie Chan and Jet Li. Despite occasional script deficiencies, I found this picture working from the opening credits, which was a sure sign that what was about to come would surely satisfy the martial arts movie fan inside of me. For many martial arts movie fans, "The Forbidden Kingdom" may perhaps be the movie they've been waiting for since the untimely passing of Bruce Lee 35 years ago.

10/10


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