Lots of attempts at humour. Not enough kungfu

Featuring
Jayden Yuan as Lu Chan/The Freak
Tony Leung as Chen Changxing/The Grandmaster
The plastic fantastic Angelababy as Chen Yuniang
Eddie Peng as Fan Zijing
with Mandy Lieu as Claire

Following on from the rush of films about how awesome Wingchun kung fu is, by paying homage to Yip Man, the famous Grandmaster who taught Bruce Lee, comes a rush of movies about Tai Chi, the martial art practiced by groups of old people in smog ridden parks. Tai Chi Zero is far less a martial arts film, because whoever wrote this decided to make a a mish mash of genres, ensuring it never actually gets anywhere.

Lu Chan is an idiot of epic proportions. However, he’s born with a horn on this head (not that kind of horn), which turns him Super Saiyan when someone mashes it. Unfortunately, it will also kill him if he uses it too much (just like that kind of horn), but because he’s an idiot, he doesn’t know until it’s almost too late.

He journeys to the Chen family village, where a very specific style of martial arts that could calm his horn and save his life, is practiced. Sadly, everyone who is not of the family is forbidden from learning the style and he gets beaten up by everyone in the village. In the village, there is change coming, as the upstart Fan Zijing tries to bring industrial revolution technology to his inbred peers by force.

Tai Chi Zero is an attempt at many things. It’s got elements of 300 in it, with dark filters and silly antics, it has attempts at comic book story telling and introduces the cast as they appear on screen. Adding it all up, though, the movie is still less than the sum of its parts. It’s funny in places, and suitably silly, but you also don’t feel very drawn in to the story.

Sadly, for a movie titled Tai Chi Zero, there’s not much Tai Chi in it. The scenes that contain Tai Chi are essentially five minute wire fighting jobs where everyone can fly just like in the old 80s television shows, which are so fake, they don’t even pretend to hide it. The movie also ends on a cliff hanger since they know a sequel was being filmed alongside it.

So what is Tai Chi Zero? It panders do a lot of potential audiences like Samsung smartphones, but once you get a taste of it, you realise that because its many gimmicks and doodads weigh it and you just want to go back to using an iPhone. If you were to ask me whether this is better than Man of Tai Chi, then it’s definitely a no. Maybe the sequel, Tai Chi Hero is an improvement?

Rating

A mediocre comedy kung fu movie that doesn’t contain enough kung fu. At least if you’re going for comedy kung fu, ask the master himself, Jackie Chan for some pointers…

Watch this if you’re…

Easily amused by the simpleton antics of a village introduced to its adoptive idiot

Don’t watch this if you’re…

Unable to believe the stick figure that is Angelababy can beat anyone in a fight

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