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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sheep Movie Review: TAI CHI HERO

DirectorStephen Fung
Starring: Jayden Yuan, Angelababy, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Eddie Peng and Daniel Wu

Producer: Zhang Dajun, Stephen Fung, Daniel Wu
Well Go USA Entertainment
Genre: Action & Adventure
Sub Genre: Martial Arts
Run Time: 100 min.
Theatrical Date: Apr 26, 2013
Original Language: Mandarin
Subtitle: English

Limited release:
AMC Metreon in San Francisco
AMC Cupertino in Cupertino

Lu Chan (Jayden Yuan) is still trying to find his place in Chen Village, the legendary town where everyone is a martial arts master…and Chen-style Tai Chi is forbidden to outsiders. But since he helped save the town from a frightening steam-powered machine, Yuniang (Angelababy), beautiful daughter of Grandmaster Chen (Tony Leung Ka-Fai), agrees to marry Lu Chan and bring him into the family. It’s only a formality, though – she is the teacher, and he is the student – and that suits Lu Chan just fine, as the mutant horn on his head gives him incredible kung-fu power, but leaves him dumber each time, and closer to death.

Chen Village still stands in the shadow of danger. A prodigal brother returns, Lu Chan’s presence invokes a curse on the town, and Yuniang’s scorned fiancĂ©e has an appetite for revenge, as well as some new partners in crime.

"TAI CHI HERO is a full-on, steampunk-infused, video game-influenced kung fu throwdown that will knock you out of your seat."

What they said! This movie is worth checking out. You don't have to be a fan of the genre to enjoy this. Every thing from the costumes to the music to the cinematography is exciting and well done and it manages to be campy without crossing into the cheesy martial art movie stereotypes. 

This is actually part 2 of a trilogy and picks up right after the end of the first, Tai Chi Zero. I haven't seen the first movie, but I plan too. The movies are a Chinese steampunk based on Yang Luchan, the man who founded Tai Chi in the 19th century and has become the most popular Tai Chi style in the world. They have taken some liberties with the story and the martial art abilities, but gravity defying martial art is part of the fun.

Beside being a visually captivating movie there is an eclectic selection of music used. Everything thing from the Nutcracker Suite to heavy metal. The steampunk element comes from the invasion of British soldiers and The West Indies Company that wants to bring their steam powered weapons and railroads to China. The director does a great job of bring a steam punk aspect to this movie. It never felt out of place or over done. The use of slow motion and fast motion and camera angles added a lot to the tone and action.

There isn't much violence because Yang Luchan is known for fighting without hurting his opponents. I would say the movie is borderline PG-13. The only issue I have with the film is the subtitles. You have to be a speed reader! They move at a fast pace and sometimes you have to choose between reading and watching, but you adjust to it and I was able to figure out what was going on

If you get a chance to see this or rent it, do! Check out the trailer below. This is a case where the movie does live up to the trailer.

5 "finding Yin and Yang" sheep

Sharon Stogner (edit by Kalpar)

About the Director
A Hong Kong native, Stephen Fung Tak-Lun made his acting debut in FORBIDEN NIGHTS, playing the childhood version of the male lead. By 1998, Stephen was voted by the Hong Kong press as "Upcoming Actor of the Year." In 2004, Stephen wrote, directed, and starred in his feature film directorial debut ENTER THE PHEONIX for Jackie Chan's company JCE Movies. His second directing feature HOUSE OF FURY was the opening film for the Hong Kong International Film Festival 2005, official selection for the 18TH Tokyo International Film Festival, and at home, the highest grossing Hong Kong film for the first half of 2005. Besides continuing with his acting career, Stephen directed JUMP for Sony Columbia Pictures Asia, which was written and produced by Stephen Chow.


  1. Sounds like this one has everything any action fan would love and a kung fu kick to top it off! It's in my area and I've got to get out and see it!!!

  2. This does look like it would be a beautiful film. I am concerned about the speed of the subtitles, if they are as fast as the trailer - I am greedy and do not want to miss either dialogue or the picture - wouldn't it be great if we could have Mad-Eye Moody eyes and concentrate on both ;) Thanks for the awesome review, I will have to watch for this one.

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