Tai Chi Zero
Actors: Yuan Xiaochao, Angelababy, Qi Shu, Daniel Wu
Directors: Stephen Fung
Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC, THX, Widescreen
Language: Mandarin Chinese
(Barry’s score 4 stars out of 5)
Buy @ Amazon
Tai Chi Zero
As an uncommonly gifted child, Yang Luchanhas a fleshy abnormality that holds tremendous power growing on his forehead.However, being teased as the town fool, Yang s mother spurs him to practice martial arts. Following her wishes, Yang travels across the land, finally arriving at Chen Village in hopes of learning Tai Chi. In this legendary community and center of power, everyone practices Tai Chi – using it in every aspect of their lives.However, it is forbidden for the villagers to share these secrets with an outsider. Yang learns this the hard way. Once he arrives, everyone challenges him to fights. From the strongest men to the women and children, he is engaged – and cruelly defeated by their masterful moves. After a particularly tough battle against Master Chen s beautiful daughter Yuniang, Yang is more determined than ever to master the art of Tai Chi…but he needs the Master’s permission first. Little does Yang know, the poor strange man he befriended when he arrived at Chen Village is Master Chen – who recognizes Yang s genius but hides behind a disguise to secretly guide Yang to his own realization of Tai Chi. Soon after, a frightening steam-powered machine arrives at Chen Village, powered by Fang Zijing, a childhood friend of Yuniang. Fang has bribed and conspired with government officials to permit him to build a railway – one that runs right through the center of the village. Yang decides to join forces with Yuniang to defeat Fang and destroy the monstrous machine – a brave and dangerous act that might just win the hearts of the villagers…and the girl…
Part martial art movie, part comedy, part steampunk, and all fun. I have to admit my bias, as a child I grew up loving martial art movies. In addition to wonderfully choreographed martial arts and amazing wire-work, the steampunk elements of the movie were very well-done. Tai Chi Zero didn’t rub my nose in the sins of western colonialism, but gave me an entertaining tale of the clash of progress versus tradition.
While my favorite steampunk vehicle remains the Nautilus, the steam powered rail-layer of Tai Chi Zero has leaped over the tarantula in Wild Wild West to become my second favorite steampunk vehicle. Love the eyes on that machine…
I think gamers will get a chuckle out of the life-meter graphic. There are lots of laughs scattered throughout the movie, and over-the-top kung fu. On the downside, it ends with a cliffhanger. I can’t wait to see the next installment, Tai Chi Hero.
The movie isn’t for everyone, but I give it 4 stars out of 5!