Watched Jul 11, 2012
Mr. DuLac’s review:
Learn the form, but seek the formless. Hear the soundless. Learn it all, then forget it all. Learn The Way, then find your own way.
-The Silent Monk
This film is a true oddity. It's going to be a "must watch" film to some while others will just find it odd. It's like the Neverending Story of Kung Fu movies. That's odd enough, but it's also sort of a tribute to the old style of Kung Fu movies. Think 70s and 80s Shaw Bros Kung Fu movies. Needless to say all those things combined really narrows the audience that will appreciate this film. Oh, and to top it all off it's not a Chinese made film, it's a Hollywood movie. So people looking for a "Hollywood Kung Fu Movie" aren't going to get it, and people that would love a "Shaw Bros Tribute Film" won't think to look here.
First off not only do you have Jet Li and Jackie Chan in their first movie together, but also have the legendary Woo-Ping Yuen doing choreography and Peter Pau on cinematography. So even though it's a western film Rob Minkoff has gone out of his way to make this as authentic as possible. Which is what strikes me as odd because I think the movie will alienate people who aren't already fans of this style of Kung Fu films.
To me this is Rob Minkoff's tribute to the Shaw Brothers. If you're already a fan of such groups as the Venom Mob and recognize Toad Style as a form of Kung Fu then you will appreciate this love letter to the genre from beginning to end. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, I honestly don't think this should be your introduction to the genre. It's truly a film made for a specific fanbase.