TIFF 2013: Man of Tai Chi Review

Man of Tai Chi

Man of Tai Chi

Special Presentation

Director: Keanu Reeves

Although heavily westernized, Reeves’ directorial debut will hold some thrills and excitement for those who aren’t too picky about their martial arts epics.

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Humble courier Tiger Chen has been on the road to become a master of Tai Chi, a martial art known more for defensive techniques and meditative slowness rather than brute force. He’s a skilled fighter, but when the temple he learns at is threatened with razing, Tiger enters into an unholy agreement with Donaka (Reeves), a security consultant running brutal underground fights on the side, sometimes to the death. Donaka tries to turn Tiger into an online celebrity and a killer, but can the innocent young man resist the temptation.

Despite some admittedly great fights (courtesy of master Yuen Woo-Ping), a likeable hero, and a perfectly hammy performance from Reeves in the villain role, there just isn’t an interesting enough story to fill in the gaps. Reeves has some chops as a director, but he could use a lesson or two about editing. There are some fun moments, but it’s all a bit pat, repetitive and anti-climactic. (Andrew Parker)

For a full length review from the film’s proper theatrical release, click here.



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