One of the films I watched recently – and was impressed with – was the directorial debut of Keanu Reeves, Man of Tai Chi. It had a traditional storyline, which was the corruption of power and the loss of discipline and control which is such a favourite theme of the martial arts movie. However, despite its orthodox philosophy, it also had an unusual engagement with the spectatorship of martial arts movies and the types of personalities that are involved. I was particularly interested in this latter theme.
The action was good throughout, although, like most modern-day martial arts movies, there was nothing really very spectacular. The final fight, which involved the final confrontation between Keanu and the star of the picture, Tiger Chen, was disappointing (but one hardly expects anything dazzling from the aging Hollywood hero).
Overall, I thought it a good contribution to the genre and was disappointed that more people could not make it a box office smash – my own brother didn’t like it very much himself.