Not quite action: ‘Kingdom’ is for the kids

By Ricky Simpson

The Forbidden Kingdom

Starring: Michael Angarano, Jackie Chan, Jet Li

More than anything, the marketing on this film is confusing. The trailer promises a “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”-type film, headlined by two of the biggest names in martial arts (Chan and Li). Of course “Kingdom” has its share of sword-swinging, but it is less a simple samurai film than a fantastical journey tale.

Jason Tripitikas (Angarano) is a high school student with a passion for kung fu films but zero ability to perform his own moves. Jason is befriended by an elderly antique salesman (Chan) who hands off a powerful bow staff to him. While being chased by neighborhood bullies, Jason and his bow staff travel through time to ancient China, where he is tasked to find the staff’s the rightful owner.

While on this epic journey, Jason meets up with martial art master Lu Yan (Chan) and an unnamed monk (Li), who teach him the ways of the samurai to prepare him for battle against the rebellion.

“Kingdom” is a nicely drawn up fantasy film with above-par combat scenes. Written by John Fusco (“Hidalgo”), the plot is quite transparent and predictable to say the least. The action is still there, and with believable characters, the viewer’s interest remains for the duration. Still, this film should have been marketed as a children’s adventure flick like “The Chronicles of Narnia.”

Somewhere along the road, someone told Chan he was a comedian, and he is having trouble breaking out of his comfort zone to take on a serious character. Again in “Kingdom,” he comes off as foolish and unwittingly comical. The producers’ attempt to sell this as an adult action film doesn’t mix with director Rob Minkoff, who is known for family comedies like “The Lion King” and “Stuart Little.”

This film runs 113 minutes and is rated PG-13 with a lot of kicking and punching, but no blood or gore. It could have succeeded as a family film, but the misleading marketing attracts adults to a cheesy picture unknowingly.

Grade: C

Playing At: Cinemark Fayette Mall, Regal Hamburg Pavilion, Movies 10 Codell Drive

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Playing At: Cinemark Fayette Mall, Regal Hamburg Pavilion, Movies 10 Codell Drive

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Playing At: Cinemark Fayette Mall, Regal Hamburg Pavilion, Movies 10 Codell Drive, The Lexington Movie Tavern


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Playing At: Cinemark Fayette Mall, Regal Hamburg Pavilion

Upcoming DVDs

The Golden Compass (April 29)

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Dakota Blue Richards

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