Dave and I watched the Jackie Chan–Jet Li movie The Forbidden Kingdom again last night. We had watched it a few years ago and we wanted to see it again, because I recently found a copy of Monkey — the Arthur Waley translation and abridgement of the Chinese classic Journey to the West, which has been on my books-to-look-out-for list for years — at Moe’s. I haven’t even started to read it yet, but it reminded us of this movie, which contains all kinds of references to Journey to the West and other Chinese lore as well as to some classic martial arts movies; some of the references are tongue in cheek and others are more poetic. So we thought it would be fun to watch it again.
Fun movie! Beautiful visuals! Great fight sequences! The story is rather clichéd but lively, sometimes genuinely funny, and well acted. Jackie Chan does more of his drunken fighting while playing Lu Yan (AKA Lü Dongbin, one of the Eight Chinese Immortals, who traditionally has a weakness for drink). Jet Li doing kung fu in the character of the Monkey King is totally irresistible.