Man of Tai Chi, with Keanu Reeves, Tiger Hu Chen, Iko Uwais & Karen Mok. Director, Keanu Reeves. Though the film is definitely produced & geared towards an Asian audience, with some individual actors that I’m not familiar with, it was definitely a hit in my book. Not usually being a fan of martial arts movies, it was fascinating & good entertainment.
Reeves, seeming the elder statesman because of his former glories as star of the Matrix trilogy, is quite capable in a movie that he stars & directs. I’m thinking that he needs to shape up a little more, but one can do all sorts of things with the correct lighting & a modern girdle. He stretches a bit more, in his character range. His malignant rage is believable, to a certain degree within his innate stoicism. I enjoyed his performance & admire his reaching out to the East.
The West glimpses some quite candid views of the smog-filled landscapes of China. Old & new architecture & a bit of their daily culture. Again, old & new. Ordinary at first, then a bit backward & naive; would be my overall observation.
Chen’s character, an innocent student of the contemplative physical discipline, Tai Chi; wends his way through competitive public fighting, in the beginning of the film, soon to be duped into fighting for a criminal organization. The actor is an associate of Reeves; someone that has worked in his films as a stunt man. I’ve noticed, in the gossip sites, that he has been seen rubbing shoulders with Reeves & I would dare extrapolate that they’re friends, of some kind. Further; one could confidently guess that Chen has a patron, in that friendship. He’s an excellent athlete, if not an actor – by any stretch of the imagination.
Great cinematics, Reeves seems to have absorbed quite a bit of directorial skills over the years. Technique & enough gumption that the “kung fu movie” didn’t seem borish or old hat. As far as the script is concerned; I’m sure it would seem original & new to the folks in Beijing. As well it should. There is no fault in that.
I recommend the film for viewing, on its merits & applaud what really isn’t a comeback by Keanu, but a triumph nevertheless.
Of course, anything that Keanu does, is of interest to me.
Note: I wasn’t too keen on the soundtrack music score. Cacophonous.