Man of Tai Chi

By Christopher Redmond

Mailed on October 24, 2013

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Dear Mike Leeder
Fighter Casting

Dear Mike,

There must have been quite a buzz going around the office as you were auditioning martial artists from around the world. After all, this would be the next action movie starring Keanu Reeves (he knows kung fu)! The first film directed _by Keanu Reeves! And most importantly, at least to the aspiring fighters flipping off your casting couch, the first film starring Tiger Hu Chen - stuntman from _Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon _and The Matrix _trilogy. Surely if these new fighters made an impression to Keanu as well, they too could one day see riches, glory and fame, right?

Fools. Man of Tai Chi was made specifically to warn them against this dark path.

It's also meant to entertain (I guess), in that classic kung-fu tournament B-movie kind of way. Which must have been a dream come true for someone like you. It demanded that you bring in top hand-to-hand combat top talent, from Ninjutsu to Pencal Silat to Serbian street fighting, all for your selfish viewing pleasure - only to have their lives and fights repacked and sold to audiences around the world. Just like Keanu's character in the film, Donaka Mark.

You evil bastard.

Sorry, I didn't mean that. I'm just having a hard time separating this film from reality. I mean Tiger Chen plays a character named Tiger Chen who's recruited by Keanu Reeves to star in his big, secret, unknown project. We're going to have to borrow Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey lingo_ _going forward.

So Evil Keanu finds ways to create an Evil Tiger Chen, who bastardizes and lethalizes the old-man-in-the-park martial art of Tai Chi. This makes for some entertaining montages leading up to the ultimate Battle of the Hands, where a couple of good robots are invented from the power of Tai Chi and Home Hardware to kill the Evil Keanu and Evil Tiger.

Nope, sorry. Now I'm really mixed up.

Whatever. There are some decent fighting scenes throughout, and a plot that chugs along like it should, plus a couple twists and an inevitable showdown to keep the whole thing satisfying. The only real problem is poor Keanu may have stretched himself a bit far by also acting in the film. Look no further than the "climactic" series of close-and-closer cuts as the camera punches in on his face when he delivers lines like "Let. (cut) The show. (cut) Begin (cut)".

But hey, who are you to fight with the director, right? You're no Tiger Chen.

Bowing out,


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