Tai Chi Zero

Tai Chi Zero is relatively not a well known movie around my area. I only know about it from the ongoing trailer on one of Astro's channel where they demand you to subscribe in order to watch just ONE movie. The trailer was intriguing, but I had a certain feeling that this movie might bore me to tears.

I was not exactly right, but not wrong either.

The movie's premise focused on the whole western technologies meet kung fu, which was not exactly a new concept, but they brought about a much different style.

This movie centered on a guy named Lu Chan who was born with a fleshy horn on his forehead. The horn somehow gave him unexplained strength when it was pinched, in addition of him able to mimic any form of kung fu upon activation. However, the use of his horn came at the cost of his life as every time his horn was pinched and he went berserk, his energy channel became more and more messed up. This act not only endangered his life, it also made him stupider. So he traveled to a village to learn the Chen kung fu style. However, outsiders were prohibited from learning the Chen martial art. Furthermore the village was under threat from foreign powers that wanted to demolish it in order to give room to the railroad the government was building.

Watching Tai Chi Zero, I keep recalling Scott Pilgrim vs The World in which the whole scene had this video game elements or logic (like drawing up a huge KO when a character was defeated). There were a lot of flashy effect like floating words to explain the fighting style, CGI drawing to make us understand about the movement, and such. But in all honesty, the effects are quite unnecessary. It doesn't do much in helping the plot to advance, and it distract from the scene. In Scott Pilgrim it helped the narrative and also helped the audience to understand the characters' mood. The comical fighting effect was also neatly executed. In Tai Chi Zero however, it was just so messy. The story was fine, I think, but the pacing bothered me. It rushed at some part, but got laggy in the middle. The movie should develop the characters more as well because I hardly felt anything for the characters. I don't even root for the leading character Lu Chan, but maybe that's because he's the stereotypical idiot. The fight choreograph was interesting though. Plus the final fight was very smart and entertaining. Oh, and they used modern rock song to go with some of the fight scene. It's unfitting but, I don't hate it.

Overall, Tai Chi Zero could have been more if they had lessened the video game effect because frankly, the effects were meaningless. The Rule of Cool work great on Scott Pilgrim, but not on this one. Besides, this movie already got a good story and it certainly offers something new in in term of the fighting setting and choreograph. The characters can be improved a lot more as I am especially disappointed in Claire and Lu Chan. The other characters had a bit of complexity to them, these two were incredibly bland despite one of them being the leading character. So this need to be remedied in the sequel.