Man of Tai Chi – Movie Review

manoftaichi.pngI don’t know how fair it is for me to review a martial arts movie after having spent 7 hours filming use of force training videos for a security company. Especially a movie that is closer to the art half of martial art as Man of Tai Chi. Since I have just spent considerable time focused on efficient, simple, and relatively easy to learn techniques that have demonstrably high success rates, trying to appreciate a showy Hong Kong style fight movie presents a challenge. I will endeavour to do my best.

Man of Tai Chi is a modern take on a worn story. Usual Suspects this is not; you will not find any startling, creative story telling in this movie. Taking place in China it follows the life of Tiger Chen as he is lured into the underground fighting world. It’s a predictable tale of falling from grace and loss of innocence and the inevitable split from his honourable master. The story isn’t great, and the acting isn’t stellar, so what are the redeeming qualities?

It’s very well shot and choreographed. There are some beautiful, novel and innovative martial arts scenes and techniques that highlight the flowing movement of Taichi. Is it actually Taichi? I have no idea. There’s definitely a few bones thrown to mixed martial arts crowd, and definitely some Kung Fu, but not being at all familiar with Taichi I can make no honest assessment. But there is some great fight sequences that I could believe are Taichi in action.

What I really like is you can actually see what is happening. For the most part the camera angles are wide enough that you can see what they’re doing but tight enough you’re not distanced from the action.

If you enjoyed Ninja 2 then I think you’ll enjoy this. If it drives you nuts when guys partake in a protracted fights and don’t breathe heavily, then you won’t enjoy this. And if you want to see Keanu Reeves at his most wooden, then this is your chance. (Seriously – this movie will make you truly appreciate his range and depth as an actor in The Matrix.)

Man of Tai-Chi is available on BluRay on Amazon in both Canada and the US.

Comments (2)

2 thoughts on “Man of Tai Chi – Movie Review

  1. From the trailer, it did not seem like there was any taichi in this movie. Taichi chuan is a martial art. You could make a movie that has a bit more truth in advertising. The Ip Man movies aren’t pure wing chun, but Donnie Yen did put a good bit of wing chun in them.

    Keanu Reeves’ “47 Ronin” also departs significantly from the original story, but, I must say, it was still a decent movie. I saw it by accident, and it was much better than I thought it would be.

    1. I will readily admit to not being an expert on Taichi, but there were moments that the movements looked like they could have been Taichi or at least derived from Taichi. Ip Man does a much better job, in my humble assessment of staying true to the roots of the martial arts. I really doubt, for instance, there are any flying arm bars, in Taichi. But again, I don’t have credentials in either art, so take my judgement with a grain of salt.

      I’ll add Reeve’s 47 Ronin to my list of eventual movies. Unless I really want to see something, I only end up watching films I get asked to review. Thanks for your comments.

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