Man of Tai Chi. The first film that was directed by Keanu Reeves. Strangely, this movie doesn’t get any attention in my region. I don’t why. Maybe it was released early in other countries (like Zombieland) or don’t passed the film filtration department. Seriously, I don’t know why. I’m interested in this movie when I saw a trailer in Youtube. In an advertisement. Yup, in there. Now, before I give my opinion about the movie, let’s recap some of the moments.
A deliveryman named Tiger Chen was a disciple of Yang, a Tai Chi master. Chen always taking care of the temple that his master lived in. Every day, he gave a donation to the temple and trained tai chi with his master. To improve the temple’s condition, he entered a martial art tournament to gain acknowledgement from the world that tai chi is not just an exercise, but it’s also can be used as a martial art. He was doing well with his job, his girlfriend (a very cute one) and his tournament until he met Donaka Mark (Keanu Reeves).
Stated in a letter that Chen received one morning, Donaka worked at Security System Alliance. In that letter, Donaka offered Chen a job. Chen prepared for an interview that he didn’t expect. Upon arriving, Chen suddenly fighting a guy that clearly want destroyed him. Chen won the fight and got the job. The job was simple. Fight and get paid. If you lose, you get fired. Skeptical at first, Chen accepted the job and won his first payment. As more payment he get, Chen became more aggressive. His master detected (yes, I used the word detect, seriously) this during one their morning training and told Chen to be prepared for the consequences in his chosen path.
These underground tournament was being watched over by a police named Sun Jingshi (Karen Mok). although being discharged from this case, she still continues tracked down the clues. From the info from a mole, who later died and disappear, she warned Chen. He didn’t listened because he was too blind by money, wealth that he got. He managed to save the temple from being demolished, support his family to a better life and buy a new car. Volkswagens, man. That’s pricey.
Until one day, Donaka told him to be himself, forget others. He managed to took down a twin in a fight. at the tournament he showed this aggressiveness to his opponent and get disqualified for that. His master unfortunately saw this and indirectly smeared his name as well. On the next day, Chen betrayed his master and fought him. Sadly, power can’t overcame a calm mind. His master won with a qigong attack.
At the final battle, the ‘bad’ Chen finally realized that he just got played. At the opening before the fight, a show consists of all his life are shown to the public. Everything that he thought private was all thrown to the sea. What Chen thought this was only an underground fight was wrong. Donaka explained that this was all about him. People want to see an honest man become a killer. That was his main objective. Pretty cruelly devilish, don’t you think?? Chen decided not continue the fight and demand a round with Donaka. Everything crumbled apart when the police arrived at the scene due to Chen cooperativeness prior to this. Sun also discovered that her boss, Wong the Superintendent of HK Polices involved in this underground fighting.
At his master temple, a final showdown between Chen and Donaka who succeeded in fleeing the scene before. Surprisingly, Donaka know how to fight. Seriously bad ass. Better than Chen. until one moment where Chen got a, what we call, self-realization about himself and delivered the finishing blow. A powerful qigong attack. Eventually, Donaka died but satisfied because his point was proven. Chen can become a killer. At the end, we saw the temple was finally saved and Chen was happy with his girlfriend.
Let’s move on to my opinion.
Honestly, when I saw the trailer, I thought the movie was going to be a bad ass, but it’s don’t reached that level. It was good but not bad ass. Here’s why:
- Keanu Reeves directing was good, but his performances was not. Yeah, I have seen many of his films and he delivered it quite awesome, but not this one. His line was too simple and I feel he can do more than that. And there was the fighting. I’m getting The Matrix vibe right there. His style was rigid and much worse than The Matrix.
- Chen does a very good job. I don’t know his name. according to IMDB, his real name also Chen. so, deal with it. His fighting style was genuine and so much fluidity. His acting was good too. But still have many improvement to make.
- Supporting role are too ‘supportive’. Take his girlfriend for example. I only saw her during the office and at the last scene. Seriously?? I mean what his girlfriend’s role exactly? I can’t find it.
- The fighters are real martial artist. Yup, I just know it. well, from IMDB.. and here I thought there are choreographer involved. Well, except in the last fight.
- The plot was predictable. I can foresee them before it can happen. For example, in the police matters. If everything you do, if you got every info about a bad guy and he still managed to slipped away, there is something wrong there right?? Like, A DIRTY POLICE?? C’mon. don’t they have any bright ideas??
That’s all I can squeezed from this brain. Hey, this is my opinion. What’s your opinion?? Let me know in the comment below.. until then.. see ya..XDXD