Bear with me, I’m no good at movie reviews or commenting on an actor’s screen performance but I’m gonna have to try for my newest favorite kung fu flick, Man of Tai Chi – Keanu Reeves’s directorial debut in 2013, starred by Tiger Hu Chen.
Three pointers and this is done.
One: Unless I misunderstood it, there was a tiny loophole in pointing out the fine line between a fighter and a warrior. In the introductions before Tiger’s fight with the twins, the script said that while one fights for reason, the other fights for purpose. It might have been part of the intentionally discreet logic and the brain-racking part, as to who was the fighter and who was the warrior. And it could only be just me, but I found that point falling short of clarification. If you look at it just through the surface, Tiger must be the warrior fighting to save his temple – a great purpose – by money’s way. Plus, “warrior” sounds more fit for a lead character than “fighter”. But it wasn’t about that of course. And it wasn’t bad at all, I mean the vagueness of that part. In fact, it was some kind of a stirrer, at least for me.
I found an alternative way though of understanding the logic behind it. I took it that it was Tiger’s fight against himself, and not against the twins. If you think of it, Tiger was both a fighter and a warrior in the story. A warrior who wanted to save the temple, he would sooner or later become the heir of. He wanted to tell the world that Tai Chi is not just a lousy form of exercise and meditation for the old. He wanted to tell the world that Tai Chi is powerful. And maybe part of his purpose was also to lift his family? On the other hand, when Donaka Mark (Keanu) asked Tiger after one of his underground fights, why he wins, Tiger said, “Because I’m better.” Reason. Of a fighter. Or I could be wrong. That’s how it appeared to me at least. Mr. Tiger Chen, please confirm. 😊
Two: Not wanting to rather have Tiger died in the end (because I love movies where the good man always lives and the bad forever dead, hahaha), but what if Tiger died in one of his fights? What if some other fighter or warrior happened to be “better”? But just what if? Then how would the movie have ended? Except really sad.
Three: Despite some comments that Tiger was a bit too stiff in his acting, I totally loved how he played around the Man of Tai Chi’s character naturally. Not the kick ass, murderous fighter, but the way he seemed so detached from the worldly. I like how the aura appears to be so peaceful yet strong at the same time. Tiger was Yin and Yang in the entire movie. Rooms for improvement, yes, but as far as how he did in Man of Tai Chi, Tiger nailed it!!!
Very honestly, I think he is by far the most graceful Kung Fu martial artist I’ve known, apart from Jackie Chan being the funniest. Two thumbs up for Tiger and may Kung Fu live long through you! 🙂