I went into this movie, not having high hopes to begin with. If you do, let me bring you down. If you go in thinking it is a whole movie Jet Li verus Jackie Chan, you will be disappointed. Let's say Jackie Chan is in 3/4 of the movie, then Jet Li is half the movie. And if you think this movie will be like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (one of my favorites) or House of Flying Daggers, you will be disappointed. The basic plot is a white boy in New York that loves Kung Fu movies get sucked into the past with a bo staff and has to return it to the Monkey King, from Chinese folklore. There he gets help from an 'immortal' Lu Yan (Jackie Chan), an orphan girl Golden Sparrow (Liu Yi Fei), and a silent monk (Jet Li). The trailer has you believe the monk and Lu Yan were rivals, but reality they meet each other in the movie and their fighting is just boring.
We are reminded endlessly that our hero Jason (Michael Angarano of "Will & Grace") is a white boy with no skills. He slowly becomes a warrior, but unlike Karate Kid, I am not so convinced. We are suppose to awe at his new muscles and tone-ness but unfortunately Angarano can't pull it off. And i say muscles loosely. The love interest Golden Sparrow has a unique way of speaking, she speaks to herself in the third person. My friend told me the reason she does this is to conceal her identity. She has some vengeance thingy and blah blah blah. Both Li and Chan play dual-roles. Chan with bad makeup plays an old guy in a pawn shop Jason goes to.
The screenplay has a bunch of holes, horrible writing. For one, they say Jason is a new kid in town but somehow has a report with Hop (Chan). The bullies want to break in and use Jason to do so. The bullies are horrible as well, tacked on and forced. As usual in these sort of white boy meets the East movies, the ringleader controls four not-so-sure bullies. On top of it, this bully Lupo (Morgan Benoit) is dumb enough to carry a gun. The main villain the Jade Warlord (Collin Chou) looks very familiar, he was in The Matrix. Run of the mill villain, so is his henchman the White-Haired Assassin (Li Bingbing) is a cliche of an Eastern villianess, she hates men and uses a feminine trademark... hair as a weapon. Ovberall, the movie reminds me of Surf Ninjas. The movie made #1 the opening week.