When you think of big-name on-screen collaborations, one normally thinks of “Heat“, where Robert De Niro and Al Pacino were sharing the big screen for the first time since “The Godfather part II” (Although in that movie they were never seen together at the same time), and there are rumours that De Niro and Pacino will team up again.
But until then, the one movie paring that many fans are eagerly awaiting is the on-screen collaboration between martial art stars Jackie Chan and Jet Li.
The “Jackie and Jet project” has been inactive for well over 10 years. Throughout the years, Chan and Li have often been quoted as wanting to work together, but haven’t because of clashing schedules, or because a good enough project wasn’t available.
A lot of people believe that the relationship between Jackie and Jet was at its worst after the Jet Li movie “High Risk” (1995), where Jacky Cheung parodied the Jackie Chan persona to the point where Li had to apologise for the over-the-top parody that bordered mockery.
Whilst they aren’t in their prime, and Jet has already warned fans to keep expectations low, adding “When Jackie Chan and I first wanted to work together 15 years ago, our passion was at its peak. “Our desire to succeed was very strong. Now we joke that when we watch the The Forbidden Kingdom our combined age is 100. How intense are the battle scenes? My mentality is to not have high expectations.”
So, what’s the movie about?
Well the title of the movie is “The Forbidden Kingdom” and is set in the ancient Chinese “Qin” dynasty and will revolve around a plot based upon the same fable as the Television show “Monkey”, where, according to IMDB, will involve “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.”
In this re-telling, an American teenager discovers a staff which transports him to ancient China where he joins in a quest to return the staff to the Monkey King. Jet Li plays the dual role of the Monkey King and Silent Monk while Jackie Chan will play a kung fu master named Lu Yan.
The movie is a “celebration of Chinese history, Chinese popular culture, Chinese cinema and Chinese mythology,” says producer, Casey Silver.
Setting the movie in the past and with an American production team, which includes American director Rob Minkoff has raised many eyebrows, particularly in the West. I think its okay, its risky; but its obvious that the movie is built for the Eastern market with an international flavour, much the same as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero, or other movies of that nature.
That being said, the fight sequences are still the most anticipated part of this movie. When the kicks started flying, Chan wondered what took so long. “I’ve known Jet Li for 15 years, 20 years. We’re good friends. The first time on the set with Jet Li, was just like wow, finally we work together. The first time we fight, spar — wow, good feeling.”, adding “Fighting with Jet Li is incredibly fast. It’s so fast that everybody on set complains..
The Jackie and Jet project “Forbidden Kingdom” is one of the most anticipated movies, and I for one look forward to it when it is eventually released, even if the fight sequences are “watered down”, even if its a “family-safe” movie; I’m hoping that the movie will take a leaf from the Crouching Tiger, Hero, Curse of the Golden Flower, etc to give everyone want they want from this highly anticipated movie.
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