‘Tai Chi Zero’ Movie Review – Avatar Meets Steampunk Meets Kung Fu Hustle Meets Video Games
Tai Chi Zero is a kung fu movie like you’ve never seen before. It mixes so many elements and delivers something I wasn’t expecting. But before we get too much into it, let’s talk about the story.
Tai Chi Zero centers on Yang Luchan (Yuan Xiaochao) a gifted young man born with a fleshy abnormality on his forehead that unleashes tremendous power when you hit it. After being told of the Chen style Kung Fu being taught in the distant Chen Village, Yang decides to head over there to fulfill his mother’s last wishes and learn this new style.
Unfortunately, when he arrives there, he is told that Chen style Kung Fu is not taught to strangers and through a multitude of fights with the young and older people of the village, Yang is intent on finding Master Chen (Tony Leung Ka Fai) and get him to teach him.
When a steam-powered machine arrives to the gate of the village, lead by Fang Zijing (Eddie Peng), a childhood friend of Yuniang (Angelababy), Master Chen’s daughter, ready to build a railway through the village, Yang will stand with the village to fight these new invaders off and hopefully earn a place in the village.
One thing you should know about Tai Chi Zero is that it doesn’t take itself seriously. In fact, there is a lot of humor in it. Similar to Stephen Chow’s Kung Fu Hustle but also very different, Tai Chi Zero‘s director Stephen Fung mixes a video game style into the movie, along with steampunk elements, Avatarish moments (and I’m talking about Avatar: The Last Airbender series, not James Cameron’s Avatar), really cheesy love scenes, fights and a cast of actual kung fu experts.
Speaking of the cast, I have never seen this in any other movie, but the actors and their characters are introduced throughout the film with a title card and sometimes a fun fact about the actor. Another aspect that made the film different from anything you have ever seen.
I was pleasantly surprised by Tai Chi Zero, it was a refreshing take on movies we’ve seen over and over before. It’s funny and enjoyable. And I should mention that this is only part one (something I didn’t realize until the end). Turns out the sequel, Tai Chi Hero is coming out in January 2013 according to the trailer attached at the end of the movie. I for one enjoyed the first one enough that I want to see how it all ends in the second one.
So if you’re looking for something different to watch this weekend, I would encourage you to give Tai Chi Zero a chance.
The movie is out in limited theaters starting today, October 19th. You can watch the trailer below as well as more photos.