Pin It
Favourite

The Forbidden Kingdom 

The misleading advertising sells Jet Li and Jackie Chan headlining a movie together at last. This is an easier pitch than admitting the main star is the lesser-known Michael Angarano, playing Jason, an American teenager whisked into ancient China where he’s mentored by Li and Chan. But confronting it openly reveals its charm. The Forbidden Kingdom is the sort of ’80s kids’ movie that built an audience through frequent cable airings. Its base appeal---a loser kid gets to have an adventure where he’s side-by-side with heroes and the girl of his dreams---doesn’t spell classic and it doesn’t intend to. The joyful mash-up that writer John Frusco concocts blends surface-level martial arts comedy with the underlying epic mysticism of Hero and Curse of the Golden Flower. Not everything runs this smoothly. There’s a sense of Western supremacy in the way Jason’s Asiaphilia becomes a stepping-stone to self-improvement. Back home, the world’s most stereotypical Italian greaser bullies him. By absorbing his Chinese fetish superpowers, he’s able to fight the Italian and go on living as a more dignified American kid. It’s culture clash, with cultures only understood through movie fantasy about them. That’s where The Forbidden Kingdom is both dangerously ignorant and agreeably goofy.

Pin It
Favourite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Mark Palermo

Survey Asks

Women are boycotting Twitter in protest of how the social network has ignored abuse directed at its members. What should men boycott?

  • Comment sections
  • Mansplaining
  • 20 percent of their salaries
  • Systemic inequality and aggressive patriarchal dominance creating a culture of abuse and harassment towards women.
  • Dick pics

View Results

Art Attack

More »

In Print This Week

Vol 25, No 20
October 12, 2017

Cover Gallery »


Real Time Web Analytics

© 2017 Coast Publishing Ltd.