A dedicated artist from Russian Georgia struggles to get recognition.
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Harry W (es) wrote: Serving as Keanu Reeves' directional debut and acclaimed by action director John Woo, Man of Tai Chi sounded like a good chance to see an action star working behind the camera.Classic martial arts films aren't that common in mainstream cinema today with the latest I remember seeing being Jet Li's Fearless, so it's refreshing to see a film like Man of Tai Chi receiving such wide recognition. And for a directorial debut, Man of Tai Chi is a powerful exercise in martial arts filmmaking. The story in Man of Tai Chi is not exactly groundbreaking because it largely serves as a familiar story and an excuse to piece together a series of martial arts scenes, but the passionate work of Keanu Reeves as director and the strong production values of the film elevate it far beyond the average martial arts film. The story in Man of Tai Chi is an interesting one, if a familiar one, partially because of the martial arts concepts that it explores. We see protagonist Tiger Chen finding a way to integrate the art of Tai Chi into a fighting style before he is given the chance to really put them to use, and from there as he loses sight of his mental training and becomes obsessed with his physical capabilities. The film works as an exploration in the true values of martial arts and the sense of honour that one must maintain by displaying what happens when you lose sight of it. The story in Man of Tai Chi is a story about how villains are made, and it consistently presents compelling situations and valid reasons for fights to be taking place. It is all done with a screenplay which explores martial arts very well and maintains occasionaly moments of humour to lighten the mood, so Man of Tai Chi is an insightful experience and a funny one occasionally, even if it may be rather familiar. The only problem I found with the story was that the twist ending left me feeling somewhat uneasy. With so much of the story in Man of Tai Chi building up the idea that antagonist Donaka Mark is a seriously dark criminal, for the twist ending to oversimplify his actions and intentions is not that effective for the story. We see Tiger Chen progress from an ambitious martial artist into a man condemned to violence by his determination to be the best only to have his actions broadcast to him by Donaka Martin which serves as a moment of realization to him. This strangely Hollywood confrontation just does not seem genuine enough and feels almost like it summarises everything in the story on a child's storybook level of storytelling for viewers which is almost condescending in a way. It's not the kind of twist ending which destroys everything that the rest of the tale in Man of Tai Chi has spent working towards, but it still feels strange. But the story in Man of Tai Chi is not the primary reason to watch the film.The best thing about Man of Tai Chi is Keanu Reeves' directorial work. I say that because Hollywood is slowly killing the action film genre by ensuring that essentially every film they release today has action which is built on overkill of visual effects, shaky cinematography or excessively choppy editing. The place to look for action has no longer become the West as it has reverted to its place of origin, the East. Yet Man of Tai Chi is an excellently crafted Eastern style film created by a Western filmmaker, and it has some of the best action in years. Man of Tai Chi is built on excellent fighting choreography which showcases the diverse fighting talents of the various cast members filmed with extensive shots and edited at a steady rate while the sound effects are edited in timely. The action in Man of Tai Chi is absolutely masterful, choreographed with very fine detail and captured with a powerful visual style in a way which is not available in mainstream cinema circles any more, and with the addition of an intense musical score which has the feel of a traditional Chinese piece but the style of a modern piece which effectively makes the atmosphere striking, leaving the experience as an intense one. The only criticism I would have for the fight scenes is that even though Tiger Chen is pitted against countless fierce martial artists, Man of Tai Chi wastes the presence of Pencak Silat warrior Iko Uwais, the star of the critically acclaimed films in The Raid series. He proved on those films that he has magnificent fighting skills, but Man of Tai chi puts him in a short sequence where he does not actually engage in a fight and just throws a few techniques at Tiger Chen who keeps away from him until the fight subsides and the story moves on. Man of Tai Chi does not capitalise on Iko Uwais' skills which is truly a shame. But aside from him, everyone else is on par in Man of Tai Chi, in particular Tiger Chen.Having spent years working in action choreography and playing supporting roles, Tiger Chen is given the chance to exercise his skills in the lead role as the titular Man of Tai Chi which he does proudly. Working with close friend Keanu Reeves, Tiger Chen gives it everything he's got in Man of Tai Chi and proves that he is an actor capable of holding a career with leading roles. In terms of acting, Tiger Chen really captures the ambitious nature of his character but progressively makes more of an impact in the way he depicts the development of the character from a young and passionate martial artist into a cold blooded wrecking machine. As well as maintaining intense line delivery, Tiger Chen captures the tension of his character on a physical level. I refer partially to his facial expressions, but more so to his fighting style. To be blunt, Tiger Chen's incredible fighting skills on display in Man of Tai Chi makes him one of the best leading Asian action stars since Tony Jaa delivered a breakthrough performance in Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior, and for Keanu Reeves to give him this chance is just excellent. Tiger Chen's display in The Man of Tai Chi is one with the charisma and amazingly swift and flexible fighting skills of a true action star, and he leaves me eager to see him back again in the spotlight.Keanu Reeves delivers a fairly effective supporting role. Keanu Reeves maintains a cold stare of death in his eye and confidently intimidating physicality which fits the villainous context he sits in, but his performance can prove rather monotonous at times. He takes the angle Christian Bale took on Batman, but it is a gimmick which can only go on for so long. All in all he manages to stay within that state of mind the entire time which makes him a convincing villain, and he certainly has an intense sense of intimidation to him. But what is really impressive his fight skills. While he revealed in The Matrix series that he has powerful fighting abilities, Man of Tai Chi is a film where he cannot hide behind visual effects. As a result of that, he shares an impeccable fight scene with Tiger Chen towards the end of the film where they both deliver equally powerful efforts. Keanu Reeves makes up for the rather repetitive nature of his performance with an incredible fight scene, and so his efforts in front of the camera are not wasteful even though they do not compare to his work behind it.Yu Hai also brings a certain sense of wisdom to his part as Master Yang, and he works with Tiger Chen very well.So although Man of Tai Chi has a simplistic story and a strange plot twist, it benefits from incredible directorial work from Keanu Reeves and delivers the kind of martial arts passion that are no longer available in Hollywood circles which should please fans and martial artists worldwide.
Mohammed A (gb) wrote: Love it the same love the first movie
gloria b (us) wrote: I loved this movie. Great acting, twisting plot, violence and an unpredictable vigilante. What John Doe says in this film is true. We are all John Does.
David J (mx) wrote: "We Need to Talk About Kevin" is an unsettling, true-to-life psychological thriller featuring a career-defining performance from Swinton. If only we could say a little more about Kevin, or, at least, more than "He doesn't seem all that realistic, even for a serial killer."
Bradley K (ag) wrote: Solid nature gone awry flick, not groundbreaking but neither is it insulting to one's intelligence or exploitative. Beautifully shot and full of tension.
Will D (ca) wrote: An underrated b-movie from the 70s, Embryo explores a scientist who is experimenting on bringing up fetuses artificially from dying pregnant females. This procedure somehow makes the embryo grow rapidly to a grownup in days, and the scientist uses a serum to retain growth to normal. Little does he know however, that there is a side effect that leads the patient to act violently.After experimenting with a dog fetus which proves success, he gets the chance to work on raising a human embryo. Despite more challenge in the process, it is proven a success for the scientist. The subject, a newborn girl whom the scientist names Victoria, learns quickly with speech and knowledge from books that teach her everything from computers to chess games, making her particularly unique. However, she too is effected with the side effect, feeling an occasional ache of age.The acting's actually not bad in this film. You can feel connected to the bond between the scientist and Victoria as she is 'growing'. Rock Hudson's not bad playing the scientist who journalizes his experiments; you feel involved with him and what's happening in his mind. You might say the actress playing Victoria is kinda hammy, but it fits the part, since she is a child at first when she first awakens in adult form.The idea is interesting. On the downside, there are some cheesy moments that break the seriousness; like how the dog manages to open and close a car door and murders a poodle, hiding its trace secretly. You wish those moments were left on the cutting room floor.But despite criticism, it's quite watchable for a b-movie. Check it out while you can.
Schavi N (jp) wrote: This was a good movie
Sam M (it) wrote: Somewhat a step up from the last Death Wish sequel.
Michael R (us) wrote: An oddball sequel that's both rehash and far departure.