Neo has left the Matrix to test his Kung Fu directorial abilities in this top martial arts film called ‘Man of Tai Chi’.
Keanu Reeves directorial debut in this film has earned him a chunk of respect in my book, because this movie kicks serious martial ass!
Sorry for the lame ‘martial ass’ line, I got carried away there…
So to cut to the chase, we’re watching a young man named Tiger Chen, played by Stunt man and friend of Reeves Chen Hu, as he gets a new ‘security’ job. This ‘security job’ is the an official title for an underground fighter, who fights for the underground league under the employment of Donaka Mark (
Neo Keanu Reeves).
Whats interesting about this film is that Tiger isn’t just another fighter stepping in to prove he’s the best like 99% of tournament/fight movies.
Instead, Tiger is a Tai Chi practitioner – an art considered to be not so effective for combat training.
Tiger takes this soft style and slowly turns it into a hard hitting brutal style that gets more punishing as his character develops. The character development is, to me, the most interesting aspect of the film.
Tiger finds himself enjoying combat and getting more violent and angry. As it’s put in the film, his ‘innocence is lost’ as he loses his inexperience and is guided toward the life of a savage fighter driven by is urge to be the best. Meanwhile, his sifu is constantly trying to prevent this transformation.
It’s pretty cool to watch one side of the coin, as Tiger’s master tries to prevent his descent into violence while comparatively Keanu Reeve’s character twists and bends his motives to destroy his innocence – sending him spiralling toward that of a brutal killer.
On top of this attention to character development and plot, the movie starts off with a bang, with a fight happening in the first few seconds of the film. It then remains a constant example of terrific martial arts action.
I take my hat off to Keanu Reeves for creating an awesome fight/martial arts film.
Keanu even steps in doing some fighting himself – doing a decent job too! It’s reported that he’s been seriously into martial arts for years after his experience on the Matrix and it shows with the outcome of this film.
Tiger Chen’s physical performance is exciting and intense, with his style slowly changing and shifting with his character. Going from smooth to brutal, switching smoother techniques for more powerful strikes. He even deals with a few different fighting styles and even ends up defending himself against a character played by The Raid star Iko Uwais!
My final word – see this film! As far as American Martial Arts movies go this is one of the best in recent years. My only hope is that Keanu keeps doing films like these because he’s done awesome with this one!
On Blu Ray –
Region A (US & Canada)
Man of Tai Chi [Blu-ray]
Region B (UK, Australia, New Zealand, Europe etc)
On DVD –
Region 1 (US & Canada)
Man of Tai Chi
Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
Region 4 (Australia, New Zealand, etc)