Movie Details

Man Of Tai Chi

"Man Of Tai Chi" marks the directorial debut of actor Keanu Reeves. Tiger Chen stars as a young martial artist who is recruited to take part in a no-rules underground fighting tournament. The tournament`s leader, played by Reeves, is set on corrupting the young fighter.

Language: English
Subtitle: NA
Classification: NC16
Release Date: 11 Jul 2013
Genre: Action
Running Time: 1 Hour 45 Minutes
Distributor: GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES
Cast: Tiger Chen, Keanu Reeves, Karen Mok, Iko Uwais, Simon Yam
Director: Keanu Reeves
Format: 2D

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Review
Writer: Lester Gan Wai Lun

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Five years in the making, Keanu Reeves finally makes his directional debut with a martial arts flick titled "Man Of Tai Chi". Alongside Tiger Chen (the stuntman in the "Matrix" trilogy) as the film's action director and main star, it is doubtless that this film will pack a punch in terms of the action but will Reeves' inexperience as director stand in its way from becoming a mega blockbuster hit? Unfortunately, that does seem to be the case as the combo of Reeves and Chen is clearly that of a double-edged sword variety.

Tiger Chen plays himself, a stubborn Tai Chi student training under a noble grandmaster who constantly warns him that, in order to find oneself, he must first be able to control his 'chi'. With a burning desire to fight and to prove to the world that Tai Chi isn't just for show, Chen joins a televised martial arts competition. It is on that televised competition where Chen gets scouted and manipulated into joining an underground "kill or be killed" network.

While Chen's character comes alive during the fight scenes, one couldn't care less about the actual character itself as Chen's monotone performance fails to make a connection with the audience. The lack of emotion, passion and expression from the inexperienced actor takes a toll towards the end of the film as moviegoers can't help but to feel disengaged and bored even as the final fight scene takes place.

This bilingual film also sees big names from Chinese cinema such as Karen Mok and Simon Yam, although their involvement in the film seems like a ploy to gain an audience in the east as Simon Yam barely had any screen time at all.

Reeves made a mistake by directing a martial arts competition instead of developing an amazing story revolving around the history of Tai Chi. A story about a noble grandmaster would be leaps and bounds better than what has been made here and would even make the title a better fitting one. Directing a film isn't as easy as acting in one, and sadly Reeves had to learn it the hard way. However with that said, it is no doubt that this film will still be making a healthy dose of profit despite its weak plot and terrible execution.

All in all, this is not a film to be remembered. Just as you were as eager to watch this film, you will be as eager to leave your seats as well. Let's hope Reeves has learnt from his mistakes and will come up with a better film next time. "Man Of Tai Chi" is more like "Man, waste my money".

Cinema Online, 16 July 2013
   
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Classification
Effective 15 July 2011
G - Suitable for all ages
PG - Suitable for all ages, but parents should provide guidance to their young
PG13 - Suitable for persons aged 13 and above, but parental guidance is advised for children below 13
NC16 - Suitable for persons aged 16 years and above
M18 - Suitable for persons aged 18 years and above
R21 - Restricted to persons aged 21 and above only
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