Monday, February 3, 2014

I "Liked It" Man of Tai Chi: an evil Truman Show

Man of Tai Chi (2013) PosterMan of Tai Chi is not my kind of movie, really.

            I mean, I like any kind of movie as long as it's good. I've seen Wilson Yip's two Ip Man movies and liked them both. I've seen both District 13 movies and really liked them both. So I can enjoy action movies like that, they don't need explosions or gun fights, they can have just good ol' hand to hand fighting; as long as the story is interesting and the movie is entertaining, I'll enjoy it.

            Keanu Reeves gets a lot of crap, that's for sure, and whether he deserves it or not is pointless because he does little to argue it. I am still a fan of his, I generally like his movies (I even watched the Cowboy Bebop Movie when I heard he might be in the live action version). I'm not sure at what point Keanu turned all into this martial arts fan. I mean, of course there was The Matrix (they only made one movie of The Matrix, if you didn't know), but I never would have imagined that the first movie he would direct would be a martial arts film, though it seems to fit him pretty well.

            I don't know anything about making a movie, so I'll just say that whoever was in charge of how this movie was filmed and how scenes were set up (whether that be the director or cinematographer) they did a pretty good job. The first thing I noticed were the colors and how kind of slick and almost Matrix-y the movie looked and felt.

            I enjoyed Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon as much as the next guy, and I also dislike how much that whole flying through the air while fighting thing as been over used, and there's plenty of that in this. It just does not look real when people roll in the air and kick someone in the top of the head and they go flying backwards. I mean, I get that it's a movie and all, but it just doesn't even look comfortable for the actor to make it look real. It never seems like the actor doing the performance even believes it, they're just busy hoping they don't fall or hitting their mark. I get that the acrobatics look good and all but I really think it's time we toned it down.

            The movie's story is not original, and the fighting is not original, so the only thing that make it interesting is that it is Keanu Reeves' first time directing, and since that loses its importance very soon, it becomes about the acting. The thing that kept me watching was Keanu. He's not the main character, though he is the main bad guy, still, he's not in the movie a whole lot. The main character is pretty good, and though the first few fighting scenes weren't that well done (not very realistic) the fighting got better as the movie went on.

            I was into the movie enough to really appreciate and kind of be upset when the main guy starts fighting the older guy who taught him everything he knows. I think the fight would have had a lot more emotion had it gone harder and rougher, than it did, but still it was good the way it was. The whole scene, from the fighting (and this fight was done in a slow careful way, completely opposite to every other fight in the movie, and yet this fight was by far the best out of the entire movie) to the music and the way the scenes were set up and shot was great, and it’s a scene that you can’t just show someone without showing them everything building up to that moment, the frustration that the main guy is feeling is something that we all can relate to. I think that’s the main thing that keeps this movie interesting is that though I’ve never been in an illegal fighting circuit, nor ever had to really fight for money to save my . . . training temple? I know what it’s like to feel frustrated while trying to achieve a goal and always something steps in the way. I know what it’s like to want to just let it all out – usually on the wrong person – and not care who gets in the way.

            The lowest point of the movie was the fight at the club, on a dance floor, the music was bad and the fighting was bad, and when the main character loses he goes into tantrum mode (trust me, I’ve seen it many times around my house with the kids, so trust me, he was throwing a tantrum). It was enough to not like the movie, though the fight with his teacher saved it from that not being liked to being liked.

            The parts that made me enjoy the movie the most were the scenes when Keanu was really having fun, from his whispering one-liners with a growl, or his yell/roar that he does at one point, is all obvious that he’s having fun with what he’s doing. Another thing that I liked was at one point the main character gets mad and storms out of a room and when he does he walks towards the camera and at that point he angrily pushes the camera out of the way, completely breaking the fourth wall, or whatever they call it. It was a pretty crazy moment that made me like the movie and even Keanu just that bit much more because it’s there.

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