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MAN OF TAI CHI (2013)

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MAN OF TAI CHI (2013)

Wednesday, 18 December 2013 19:55

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Written by 

The Buzz:

        A young martial artist's quest to prove Tai Chi is a true martial art takes him down a dark path when his temple is under threat of being torn down, and a mysterious man offers him large sums of money to participate in underground, high-risk fighting matches.

 

Life of the Party:

        I'm going to start this with something I'm sure some of you never expected to hear: do NOT let the fact that this stars, and is directed by, Keanu Reeves dissuade you from seeing Man of Tai Chi. He does a really good job in this utterly fantastic film. Also do not let all the reviews I found online in my brief search, apparently written by people who seem to have only a passing familiarity with English and proper grammar, that say this is not a "good" film and should be viewed as such, dissuade you.

        The story of Man of Tai Chi may not be original, but it is compelling, and it is executed very well. We the audience get to see Tiger Chen's descent from an innocent man to a bloodthirsty fighter as he proves to be better and better, against tougher and tougher opponents. It goes to his head, and we get to see that fall from grace, and his eventual struggle for redemption.

        But this is a martial arts film, so you're probably wondering how the fight scenes are. So I'll start that topic by stating that I am not a big fan of "wire-fights" like we see in films like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon; I appreciate really raw, real fights like in The Raid: Redemption (side note: the star of that film Iko Uwais makes a special appearance in this film!). Man of Tai Chi scratches that itch for me; the fights are a showcase of real talent and athleticism, with a minimum of wire-stunts and "kung-fu sorcery" [EDITOR'S NOTE: which is still preferable to "kung-fu treachery"]. What little there is was largely minimal (except for one point I'll make later).

        Overall if you're a fan of martial arts films, Man of Tai Chi is a solid entry and worth your consideration.

 

I think they missed an opportunity to cast Billy Blanks in this role...

Potential Hangovers:

        If I had to make a complaint about this film, it's the one inclusion of "kung-fu sorcery" that just comes completely out of left field. I don't want to spoil too much here, but it kind of made the final fight a bit of a letdown. It's a minor point, and maybe on a second viewing I could change my mind, but when it happened I was left a little confused.

 

The Vibe: Casual Gathering

        Man of Tai Chi is appropriate for most viewing styles besides "large party," but I believe that it's best enjoyed with small group for one of your movie-night events, and a few drinks. If you like films like Ong Bak or The Raid, then Man of Tai Chi may very well be for you.

 

Plus/Minus:

+ Very good martial arts

+ Minimal wires and "sorcery"

+ Properly good film

- One bit of "sorcery" did seem completely out of place

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About Us

Tanked Matinee is the place to go for good drinking movies. What do we mean by that? Simply speaking, we evaluate and recommend entertainment media based on how much fun it is to watch with friends on the sofa and a cold beer in hand.

Everyone knows "The Godfather" is a great movie, but is it as great to drink with as "Roadhouse?" We can appreciate "Citizen Kane" as a masterpiece of cinema, but is it as good a centerpiece for your party as "Santa Clause Conquers the Martians?"

Tanked Matinee appreciates film as art, but when you're kicking back on Friday night with a tall Rum & Coke, you're not looking for art, man, you want to be entertained. We're here to recommend the best movies for your night in, whether it's a big party, small get-together, or just a quiet night alone with a bottle of wine or three.

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