The steam-punk genre is relatively new to the movie industry, but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining. This is ESPECIALLY true when you can combine something like martial-arts with it! TAI CHI ZERO does this on an epic scale. The result is a fast-flying thrill ride that will leave you aching for the second film.
If you are not familiar with TAI CHI ZERO, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of the Blu-ray cover:
In legendary Chen Village, everyone is a martial-arts master, using their powerful Chen Style Tai Chi in all aspects of their lives. Lu Chan has arrived to train, but the villagers are forbidden to teach Chen Style to outsiders and do their best to discourage him by challenging him to a series of fights. Everyone, from strong men to young children, defeats him using their Tai Chi moves. But when a man from the village’s past returns with a frightening steam-powered machine and plans to build a railroad through the village at any cost, the villagers realize they may have no choice but to put their faith in Lu Chan…who has a secret power of his own.
I mentioned the next film in the paragraph above because this is the first in a trilogy from what I understand; the follow up film is titled TAI CHI HERO, although I have not heard a release date for it yet.
TAI CHI ZERO is an excellent martial-arts extravaganza and it is a feast for the eyes to behold. The film is shot very well and includes some stunning scenery from its on-location sites. The acting is also pretty good, although I have to admit that I’m not familiar with any of the cast.
The story is fun and even humorous to an extent; when Lu Chan has to fight the individual villagers, the action is fast and furious but also includes a hearty dose of humility-imbued hilarity. Lu Chan is a likable goof who ultimately comes into his own by the end of the film, a fact that the audience cheers for as the credits roll.
The fighting is well done in TAI CHI ZERO and even the steampunk itself is impressive. My sole complaint about the film is that a particular incident at the beginning of the film is never explained (this is in regard to Lu Chan getting hit in the head and then turning into a demonic creature of some sort). I am hoping this is discussed more in the second film.
TAI CHI ZERO is a lot of fun and I highly recommend it. It is a unique and visual trek into a new genre, and it is also a very enjoyable film to watch. The film is available in a couple of weeks, so make a note to check it out.