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"THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM"
(2008) (Jackie Chan, Jet Li) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Moderate Extreme *Moderate Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Heavy None Heavy None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild None Mild Moderate Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Action/Adventure: With the aid of various martial arts fighters, a South Boston teen finds himself in ancient China where he tries to return a mystical staff to its owner.
PLOT:
Jason Tripitikas (MICHAEL ANGARANO) is a normal teen growing up in South Boston and fan of all martial arts films. His favorite thing is looking for the latest titles in the Lu Yan Pawn Shop run by the elderly Old Hop (JACKIE CHAN) where he also finds an ancient staff.

Yet, his obsession with such fighting hasn't transferred to the real world, meaning he must put up with being physically intimidated by the likes of Lupo (MORGAN BENOIT) and his gang of bullies. That comes to a head when they force Jason to escort them to the pawn shop where Lupo ends up shooting Old Hop who tells Jason he must deliver that staff to its owner.

Not knowing what that means, he flees, with Lupo and his thugs in hot pursuit, and ends up falling off a roof. When he comes to, he finds to his shock that he's in ancient China, surrounded by armed soldiers. Even more surprising is that a middle-aged warrior, Lu Yan (JACKIE CHAN), manages to save him despite being intoxicated, and then informs Jason of the history of the mystic staff.

It seems that it once belonged to the Monkey King (JET LI), a mischievously playful but formidable warrior who was tricked by the Jade Warlord (COLLIN CHOU) during a battle. As a result, the Monkey King was turned into a stone statue, but not before sending his staff off into the distance.

Now, 500 years later, the Jade Warlord is preparing to allow the witch Ni Chang (BING BING LI) to join him in immortality, but not before she returns the staff to him. He's not alone in desiring it, however, as The Silent Monk, a.k.a. Lan Cae He (JET LI), has long been searching for it. Accordingly, he soon joins Jason and Lu Yan on their quest, as does a young woman by the name of Golden Sparrow (YIFEI LIU) who wants to avenge her parents' deaths at the hands of Jade Warlord's men.

From that point on, the unlikely quartet tries to return the staff to the Monkey King, all while contending with the Jade Warlord, Ni Chang, and a host of warriors who all want to catch and stop them.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're into martial arts movies and are fans of Chan or Li, they probably will.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For sequences of martial arts action and some violence.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JACKIE CHAN plays a traveling scholar and usually intoxicated warrior who rescues Jason, informs him of the boy's prophecy, and then trains him to do battle with Jade Warlord and his various minions.
  • JACKIE CHAN also plays the aged owner/operator of a pawn shop that Jason frequents.
  • JET LI plays the mischievous but formidable Monkey King of ancient China who ends up frozen as a stone statue after Jade Warlord tricks him.
  • JET LI also plays the mostly stoic Silent Monk who does speak while on his quest to find the staff and return it to the Monkey King. He briefly drinks, briefly battles with Lu Yan, helps train Jason, and battles various villains.
  • MICHAEL ANGARANO plays an average kid with a love of martial arts movies who suddenly finds himself in ancient China, fulfilling a prophesy of returning the staff to the Monkey King and thus defeating the Jade Warlord. He grows into that role with the martial arts training provided by Lu Yan and the Silent Monk. Back home, he must also contend with the bullying ways of Lupo and his gang.
  • COLLIN CHOU plays the immortal Jade Warlord who wants the staff so that he can complete his reign of power. He's responsible for various deaths.
  • YIFEI LIU plays a teenage or slightly older orphan who joins the quest as she wishes to avenge her parents' earlier murders by killing Jade Warlord.
  • BING BING LI plays a witch hired by Jade Warlord to retrieve the staff. She does so as she desires to drink from his elixir that will turn her immortal.
  • MORGAN BENOIT plays a local punk who bullies and beats up Jason.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this action/adventure film that's rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 3 "s" words, while a handful of other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. There's a brief bit of innuendo and some women are seen in what's presumably a concubine.

    Violence includes all sorts of martial arts fighting (resulting in several non-bloody deaths via various weapons), as well as a bully beating up a teen and shooting an older man (wounding him). A little bit of blood is present, as is the sight of two previously hung bodies. Some of that action and other behavior might be enticing for some kids to imitate, while younger viewers and those with low tolerance levels for such material might find some of it intense or unsettling.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, while one major character is often seen drinking and/or intoxicated. Meanwhile, some flashback tense family material is present.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there's some of that from lightning.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Old Hop drinks from a flask.
  • Lu Yan is nearly always seen carrying a gourd of wine, drinking from the same, and/or appearing intoxicated to some degree.
  • Lu Yan falls off his ride, intoxicated, holding a gourd of wine.
  • Lu Yan orders more wine.
  • About rumors, Jade Warlord says that's the mortal's opium.
  • Lan Cae He takes Lu Yan's gourd, prompting the latter to ask if he thinks it's a sin. Lan Cae He replies it is, referring to not sharing, and then takes a swig, as does Lu Yan after him.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • About a squatted (and clothed) stance that Lu Yan has Jason doing, Lan Cae He jokes that it's good "for taking a dump."
  • After going through the desert with no water, Lu Yan tries to create rain through an old ritual. It appears that he's succeeded as drops fall on his parchment and then on him. We then see, however, that it's Lan Cae He playfully urinating on him (including that hitting Lu Yan's face).
  • During a battle with Ni Chang, Jason has a slightly bloody slice on his cheek, as well as a bit of a bloody lip.
  • Jade Warlord partially hits Lan Cae He on the shoulder with his sword, drawing blood through his clothing.
  • Golden Sparrow has a slight bit of blood on her mouth.
  • Jade Warlord's skin turns all veiny and black, followed by it burning up when he falls into lava after a dagger impalement causes the first reaction.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Lupo is a punk/bully who enjoys verbally and physically picking on Jason (with Lupo's minions accompanying him). About Jason's bike, Lupo asks if he's "still riding this loser cruiser;" he and others use the term "chinks" for Chinese people; and he forces Jason to take them to Old Hop's shop so that they can rob it. He ends up shooting Old Hop during that and he and his goons then chase Jason. When Jason returns, Lupo beats him up (until Jason stands up for himself).
  • Jade Warlord is an immortal who's taken over while his ruler is away, pillages villages (and abducts or kills their inhabitants), tricks Monkey King during a battle and thus turns him into a stone statue, and wants the staff Jason possesses to complete his power play.
  • Ni Chang is a witch that Jade Warlord summons to steal the staff, and she does everything in her power to do so (all so that she can be granted immortality by Jade Warlord).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may be unsettling or suspenseful to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material, but probably few, if any others.
  • Jason briefly dangles from a ledge and Lu Yan catches him when he falls.
  • Lu Yan tells Jason that if the latter dies there, he'll end up dead back home.
  • On horseback, Lan Cae He chases after Jason through the woods (we initially think he's the witch Jade Warlord has summoned), and steals the staff from him.
  • We see the feet of two previously hung bodies, and then a full but distant view of their entire bodies hanging there.
  • Jason and his entourage walk along the ridge of a high desert dune. Jason falls and starts to roll away, with Golden Sparrow saving him before he goes too far.
  • Jason and the rest fear that Lu Yan is going to die from an arrow to the back wound, especially after they hear he really isn't immortal.
  • Various guards come at Jason, but then let him pass when he shows he's carrying the magical staff.
  • Jade Warlord's skin turns all veiny and black, followed by it burning up when he falls into lava after a dagger impalement causes the first reaction.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handgun/Staff/Swords/Spears/Knives/Arrows/Whip/Trident: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Crouching tiger, spanking monkey," "Loser cruiser," "Chinks," "Chill, man," "Jeez," "This is insane," what sounded like "bitch," "Maggot" and "You're the man."
  • All of the fighting, martial arts moves and other stunts, etc. may be enticing for kids to try to imitate.
  • A miscellaneous girl wears a midriff-revealing top.
  • In a flashback, Monkey King bends over and playfully wiggles his clothed butt toward Jade Warlord and that man's king.
  • Lu Yan jumps from balcony to balcony to get away from guards after him.
  • Lu Yan and Lan Cae He use Jason's body to practice hitting each other, thus manhandling him (played for comedy).
  • As part of his training, ropes are used to spread Jason's legs into the splits (causing him pain).
  • After going through the desert with no water, Lu Yan tries to create rain through an old ritual. It appears that he's succeeded as drops fall on his parchment and then on him. We then see, however, that it's Lan Cae He playfully urinating on him (including that hitting Lu Yan's face).
  • We see miscellaneous graffiti in the present day.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of suspenseful, ominous, action-oriented, and heavily dramatic music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 3 "s" words, 1 damn, 1 hell and 1 use of "Jesus."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see a poster showing Bruce Lee shirtless.
  • About Jason's obsession with martial arts films, Old Hop playfully jokes about "Crouching Tiger, Spanking Monkey."
  • We see exotic dancers doing their thing (in the period equivalent of midriff-revealing halter tops) in ancient China.
  • In what's presumably a concubine, we briefly see two clothed women fawning over a man (all clothed), while they and others show varying amounts of cleavage.
  • We see Jason shirtless while training.
  • We see Jason shirtless in another scene.
  • Ni Chang shows some cleavage.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We hear that Golden Sparrow's parents are dead, and then see a flashback to soldiers burning a village, while Golden Sparrow's mother lowers the young girl into a well, only to be hit and killed by an arrow (with the girl scared down in the well).
  • We hear that Jason never knew his father.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The martial arts and films involving them.
  • Dealing with bullies.
  • Ancient China.
  • The notion of immortality.
  • About rumors, Jade Warlord says that's the mortal's opium.
  • We hear that Jason never knew his father.
  • Revenge.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We see fantasy-type wire-fighting where Monkey King battles various soldiers high atop rock precipices, deflecting their swords with his staff that he also uses to knock them about, including back into the rocks. This is a dream or vision on the part of Jason as we see him sleeping and a martial arts movie playing on the TV in his room.
  • Lupo and his bullies remove Jason from his bicycle, with Lupo pushing, slapping and then kicking Jason in the chest.
  • Lupo grabs Old Hop and then pushes him back against something as he and his goons start to rob the place. Old Hop then hits one punk, but Lupo pulls a gun and shoots Old Hop in the shoulder, downing him. Realizing Jason is a witness, they then chase him through various places, ending up on a rooftop. The ancient staff Jason is holding then yanks him backwards off the roof, sending him falling toward the street/alley below, but we don't see any impact (as Jason then wakes up in ancient China).
  • In Ancient China, Jade Warlord's men raid a village, grabbing and manhandling various people. One is hit with a sword in the back, but we don't see the impact, while some soldiers on horseback chase after Jason (who doesn't know where he is). An intoxicated Lu Yan then comes to Jason's rescue, drunkenly avoiding the soldiers and their swords, all while knocking some of them about, including flipping one over hard, and kicking another in the face.
  • As Lu Yan explains the legend of the staff, we see a return to the mountaintop fighting from above featuring Monkey King battling soldiers (staff vs. swords), but done in a playful way on his part.
  • In a flashback, Monkey King battles Jade Warlord (staff vs. spear) in a sequence of gravity-defying wire-fighting. During this, Jade Warlord uses his magical powers to send a hot cauldron at Monkey King (with the latter breaking it apart), and then an array of spears at Monkey King who blocks all of them away. He then tricks Monkey King into dropping his staff, thus allowing Jade Warlord to use his magic to turn Monkey King into a stone statue.
  • While intoxicated, Lu Yan avoids and returns blows to guards coming after him, all while protecting Jason (a gourd is thrown, along with kicks, while he deflects swords with the magical staff, and Jason ends up hitting a few with the staff, as well as Lu Yan by accident). Golden Sparrow then arrives on the scene and throws two small knives into the throats of pursuing guards, presumably killing them (no blood). They then escape when Lu Yan crashes his way on horseback through a thin ornamental wall.
  • Lu Yan knocks Jason to the ground to prove a point to him.
  • Jade Warlord kills a messenger by running him through with a sword or knife, which is heard, but the actual act/impact is not seen.
  • Lu Yan and Lan Cae He (not yet allies) battle each other in an old temple, starting with Lu Yan throwing his gourd at Lan Cae He who shatters it and then flips Lu Yan. That's followed by many thrown and delivered punches and kicks, as well as Lan Cae He head-butting Lu Yan. He then knocks Lu Yan back through a statue, while many hard/brutal blows are delivered both ways, but no long-term injuries (or blood) take place.
  • Ni Chang uses a whip to snare and yank a man toward her, and then to knock him away.
  • Lu Yan and Lan Cae He use Jason's body to practice hitting each other, thus manhandling him (played for comedy).
  • As part of his training, ropes are used to spread Jason's legs into the splits (causing him pain, but played for laughs).
  • We see the feet of two previously hung bodies, and then a full but distant view of their entire bodies hanging there.
  • We hear that Golden Sparrow's parents are dead, and then see a flashback to soldiers burning a village, while Golden Sparrow's mother lowers the young girl into a well, only to be hit and killed by an arrow.
  • Ni Chang grabs the staff and Lan Cae He grabs it back, followed by him, Lu Yan, Jason and Golden Sparrow battling her and soldiers, avoiding spears, swords and even what looks like a trident. When even more guards race toward them, the four escape. Yet, as they ride far off into the distance, Ni Chang fires an arrow that travels an incredibly long distance and hits Lu Yan in the back (we don't see the impact, but do see the arrow sticking out after that), with him then falling off his horse and landing face-first in a shallow stream (the others rescue him).
  • Jade Warlord decides that Ni Chang should battle Jason to the death to determine who gets the immortality elixir (she wants it for herself, he wants it for Lu Yan). During this, she hits Jason with a whip, leaving a slightly bloody cut on his cheek, while otherwise knocking him around and using that whip to grab him by the neck and flip him around. She also sends him crashing back against a wall. When it appears Jason has been defeated, Jade Warlord orders his death, so a guard races a sword above him, but Lan Cae He and Golden Sparrow arrive to rescue him, with spears hitting a few, followed by a large-scale battle. During this, Jade Warlord summons a pit of lava (with a walkway over it), and Lan Cae He nearly falls in while battling Jade Warlord. At the same time, Golden Sparrow battles Ni Chang, while Lan Cae He hits Jade Warlord hard in the neck with the staff, but Jade Warlord seems to be okay. Men from the local temple then arrive and also battle the guards, while Ni Chang uses her long hair as a whip-like weapon to strike at others. Lu Yan drinks the immortality elixir that heals his wound and allows him to join the fight, while Jade Warlord partially hits Lan Cae He on the shoulder with his sword, drawing blood through his clothing, while there are other close calls with that sword.
  • Jason smashes the stone statue of Monkey King, resulting in a shock wave emanating from it that knocks down everyone.
  • Monkey King smashes Jade Warlord back through a stone chair, while Lu Yan battles Ni Chang, knocking her back through a stone railing. Her hair, however, grabs Lu Yan and yanks him toward the cliff edge, but he cuts that strand of hair and she falls far away, presumably to her death (but no impact is seen). As the battle continues, Golden Sparrow throws a jade dagger at Jade Warlord, but he uses his magical powers to block it and blast her backwards, leaving her limp. Lu Yan then knocks Jade Warlord back into Jason who impales him with that dagger. Jade Warlord's skin turns all veiny and discolored, followed by him falling back into the lava and burning up.
  • Spoiler Alert: One of the major characters does from their wound.
  • We return to the above scene where Jason has fallen off the roof when Lupo and his thugs are after him. Lupo then confronts him again, grabbing Jason, pushing him back into something, manhandling him, and pushing him back against a fence. He then kicks him back, but Jason finally fights back, blocking and avoiding other blows. When Lupo then pulls his gun, Jason kicks him back, defeating him.



  • Reviewed April 9, 2008 / Posted April 18, 2008

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