Martial-arts fans have been waiting for years to see Jackie Chan and Jet Li co-star in the same movie, and when these two living legends finally meet for the first time in The Forbidden Kingom, you can sense that the filmmakers wanted to make the most of this historic moment.

Chan plays Lu Yan, a slightly comic figure who is always drinking wine and does a lot of his fighting "drunken" style, while Li plays a mysterious figure known only as the Silent Monk—and their first encounter, in an abandoned temple, leads to a seemingly non-stop series of kicks and blows, choreographed by The Matrix's Yuen Woo-ping, that looks incredible but eventually begins to seem a little long.

You know how musical numbers are sometimes called "showstoppers"? That's pretty much what this fight scene does: it puts the story on pause, and as it goes on, you begin to realize that neither of these men is going to win the fight. Both of them have devoted fan bases, after all, and while both sets of fans will no doubt be thrilled to see their heroes in action, you can't really let either group down by declaring, in effect, that one man is more powerful than the other. It's like those old comic books where Superman engages The Flash in a foot race, and it ends in a tie.

Why are the two men fighting? Because the Silent Monk stole a magical staff from a friend of Lu Yan's. And the fight comes to an end when this friend finally shows up and reclaims the staff. But here's the part that martial-arts fans probably didn't expect all those years: The friend in question is an American teenager, and the first film to co-star Jackie Chan and Jet Li casts them both as supporting characters in this teenager's story. What's more, the film, directed by former Disney ...

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The Forbidden Kingdom
Our Rating
2½ Stars - Fair
Average Rating
 
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Mpaa Rating
PG-13 (for sequences of martial arts action and some violence)
Genre
Directed By
Rob Minkoff
Run Time
1 hour 44 minutes
Cast
Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Michael Angarano
Theatre Release
April 18, 2008 by Lionsgate
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