"Keanu Reeves knows his away around the front of a camera, but can he woo us from behind, the Big Chair?"
At least that's what us Neo fans have been wanting to know and it looks like "Man Of Tai Chi" delivers the answer! You know, it's always interesting when you see actors and directors switching roles from time to time because you never know what's going to come out the other end. Is it going to be good? Bad?
Fortunately for us, some of them can actually act or have a keen enough since of direction to well, direct a movie. "Man of Tai Chi" is Kenau's first major stab at this directing thing and we're weighing in! So, if you're ready, let's Unhinge...
Well, if you haven't heard by now, "Man Of Tai Chi" is a martial arts film, but it's not the over-the-top Hollywood Blowout that we've all been fed lately. This film has more of genuine plot with a different kind of approach to "beating up the bad guy". It would have been easy to serve up the standard, beat one hundred guys in 60 seconds, but in this story the hero's punches have meaning. After all, this is the "Man Of Tai Chi" we're talking about(lol).
For those that don't know, Tai Chi is a form of martial arts that has been proven to strengthen one's ability to balance the negative and positive energies within themselves Tai Chi can also be used to fend off attackers, but it is primarily for the benefits of enlightenment that one can attain through it's intricate series of movements. Now, there are other variations and hybrid forms which have developed over the years, but the true nature of Tai Chi is a peaceful resolution.
So with that said, "How do they make a movie about it?' Let's welcome, Mr. Chen Hu to the stage. Hu is the main actor in the film and he plays "Tiger Chen", a student of Tai Chi that believes his form of martial arts should be respected just as much if not more some of the other popular styles of combat. It's this belief, this tenacity which allows his spirit to be taunted with the lure of money, respect and corruption. Everyone's got a weak point, somewhere..lol
The movie begins showing Tiger doing his best to maintain a balanced work-life flow. He works the usual 9-5, has a girlfriend and trains with his master, but even this leaves something to be desired. He wants something more, maybe that's the reason that he participates in tournaments whenever he gets the chance, even during working hours. Somehow along the way, Chen finds a reason to look outside the norm, break his routine and this is where Donaka steps into the picture.
Donaka(Reeves) is a wealthy man, a manipulative man that knows just what buttons make us jump, with only the slightest push. So of course, it didn't take Donaka too long to find and manipulate Chen's buttons, once he found a way in. You see, Tiger likes to stretch his legs a little during some of the mixed-martial arts tournaments and it seems with each stretch, he wins. That's the reason Donaka even became interested in him in the first place, he needs a new fighter. A fighter for what? Let's just say, Donaka sees something in Chen that can make them both a lot of money, as well as, help Tiger find the chi he never knew he had, within.
Now that you know a little of what the movies about, let's get into Mr. Reeves(lol). All fans of "The Matrix" say "I"(crowd-pleasing moment). Okay so, all jokes aside, did Keanu deliver as a director? As a director, we're going to have to go with a soft "Yes" because it held our interest and it was perfect for our Netflix extravaganza. However, the fact that the characters were not complex, even in a raw state, this was a safe film for him to direct, first time out the gate. He's going to need to take on something that he's not in or even remotely tied too, before we can take him seriously as a director.
One interesting thing we noticed in this film is that, when it comes to Keanu's dialogue in film, there's a reason it's kept to a minimal state. He's always had more of a sponge-look in his movies, blown away by everything strange and new, but notice that he does not have long fluid conversations. He's always the receiver of bad news and not the bearer, but he may have pulled a hamstring in this one(lol). We love you Keanu, but stick with the awkward quirky roles and we'll watch one hundred more of your films to come.
So what can we say about the overall experience? It was entertaining because not only did we get to see Keanu's directorial debut, we got to see Chen kicking some major chi(lol). You can find this title on Netflix or at your favorite movie rental. Enjoy the trailer!
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