Tai ji 1: Cong ling kai shi

2012 [CHINESE]

Action / Adventure / Drama / Fantasy

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Fresh60%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled52%
IMDb Rating6.0105116

martial artssteampunkchinese

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN


Top cast

Qi Shu Photo
Qi Shu as Mother Yang
Daniel Wu Photo
Daniel Wu as Mad Monk
Angelababy Photo
Angelababy as Chen Yu Niang
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
903.44 MB
Chinese 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 38 min
P/S ...
1.81 GB
Chinese 5.1
23.976 fps
1 hr 38 min
P/S 1 / 2

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by moviexclusive5 / 10

Trying too hard to be playful and inventive, this mishmash of kungfu, comic book and steampunk ends up messy, unfocused and only borderline entertaining

A lot goes on in 'Tai Chi Zero' - the first in a planned trilogy that attempts a revisionist take on the classic martial arts movie – but too little of it registers in a memorable way by the time it is over. Inspired by the life of Yang Luchuan – founder of the Yang school of taichi – this kinetic frenzy of a movie sees director Stephen Fung drawing from broad pop culture and cinematic influences to create something fresh, fun and irreverent, though the end result is probably noteworthy only for its ambition.

Barely five minutes into the movie, you get the distinct sense that Fung is trying too hard. Opening with what is supposed to be an epic battle between the Imperial Forces and a band of resistance fighters, we are quickly acquainted with Yang's supposedly superhuman powers that are unleashed whenever someone hits him on a small horn-like bump on the side of his head. Not content to leave it at that, there is an unnecessary flashback that transports us to the day of Yang's birth just to unravel his tragic childhood.

If what was supposed to be poignant turns up less so, it is squarely Fung's fault, employing the silent film treatment complete with a playful score and old-fashioned inter-titles to convey the characters' dialogue over the course of that flashback. That is when you also realise that Fung is serious about greeting all the famous celebs he's managed to get to cameo in his movie, using captions to tell you who and where an actor playing a particular character comes from – including Hong Kong director Andrew Lau of 'Infernal Affairs' as Yang's father and Shu Qi as his mother.

When we return to present time, Yang has blacked out and is advised by a physician (look, there's legendary kungfu actor Leung Siu Hung!) to seek a new form of inner martial arts, as the brute methods he's been learning so far will only drain his physical strength and lead to quick and certain death. So Yang escapes in search of the legendary Chen village, renowned supposedly for its tai chi techniques – though he will have to spend the rest of the first half of the movie convincing the villagers to teach their fiercely guarded moves to an outsider.

There's never any doubt Yang will eventually earn the respect of the villagers, so the first half instead takes a light-hearted tone as Yang faces off against the various village pugilists (one of them played by kungfu veteran Xiong Xin Xin) a la video game style. Amidst the stylised visuals that resemble Edgar Wright's 'Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World' in its pop-art, the film tries to earn some dramatic credit through Yang's unusual tutelage from a solitary labourer (Tony Leung Kar-Fai),as well as the unwelcome arrival of the East India Company on the heels of former village boy Zijing's (Eddie Peng) return.

The former follows the narrative convention of a wise old master teaching a brash young kid, while the latter adopts that of a humble village standing up for itself against the forces of modernisation. Except for the fact that the latter involves a massive steam-run metal machine called 'Troy No 1' that seems ripped from the celluloid of Barry Sonnenfeld's 'Wild Wild West', both stories stick faithfully close to formula, and the emotional beats they are meant to hit seem all too perfunctory to resonate.

Ditto for a subplot that fails miserably at building some sort of love triangle between Zijing, the village beauty Yuniang (Angelababy) and an 'ang-mo' officer Claire (played by some Hong Kong Caucasian model whose name is among the many we cannot remember) – the dialogue between the apparently starstruck Claire and Zijing is so stilted it is guaranteed to make you cringe. Even with a surfeit of visual distractions, it is clear that the plot is one of the movie's weak points.

So too in fact are the stylistic choices that Fung settles for. It's one thing to try to be different and another when you actually succeed – 'Tai Chi 0' unfortunately only manages the former. Indeed, all the elements for a good-ol throwback to the classic martial arts movie are in place – a true to life character, an ensemble of notable kungfu actors, and the evil Western revolution (think 'Once Upon A Time in China' – but Fung overdoes the cheekiness in messing with the form, and all that animation, comic book graphics and on screen captioning just grows tired and tiresome too quickly.

Still, if Fung doesn't have Stephen Chow's wacky sense of humour to make this the next 'Kung Fu Hustle', his love for the martial arts actors of the past is never in doubt. He also does his bit for the kungfu genre by unearthing a new bunch of young actors – including casting a suitably charismatic Yuan Xiaochan in the lead role of Yang Luchuan. With Sammo Hung as action director, you can be sure that the numerous action sequences in the movie do not disappoint – and the ones between Yuan and other true-blue martial arts actors like Xiong Xin Xin are especially thrilling.

Thankfully, most of them do make it alive for the second-parter, which is slated to open just three weeks later. The ending is tantalising to say the least - what with two formidable swordsmen arriving at the gates of the Chen village to challenge Xiong Xin Xin and an army of Western battleships heading towards the Chinese coast loaded with big cannons promising bigger and noisier battles – demonstrating a lot of promise here for a new 'Wong Fei Hung'-type franchise. While we're not objecting to Fung's choice for a playful and inventive take on the kungfu genre, he would do well to pay heed to the oft-told martial arts adage – restraint, and not excess, is what ultimately makes one potent.

Reviewed by jefflouvre-435-773673 / 10

Director uses Japanese animation and video games to jazz up his failing movie

KUNG-FU movies are a dime a dozen, what more if they are about a callow youth wanting to study it under a master and then getting a chance to impress the master's pretty daughter. Even having Sammo Hung choreographing the action scenes will have little effect.

There's a little commentary in Tai Chi 0 (Tai Chi Zero) about the dangers of aping decadent Western culture and how Chinese ingenuity can resist any white invasion. By this time, however, viewers would have lost interest in the narrative and, like me, would have been fighting to stay awake.

Director Stephen Fung's story about Yang Lu Chan, the founder of tai chi, uses Japanese animation and video games to up the movie's ante, but maybe he just wasn't too confident in the flick.

At the start, viewers are introduced to Lu Chan (2008 wushu champion Yuan Xiaochao, which is proudly announced on the screen). He's a tiger in battle because he has a horn-like stump on his head that can be hit to escalate his anger and increase his fighting prowess, just like the Incredible Hulk. But his downtime is also considerable. .

There's a flashback using black-and-white silent movies to describe his birth and childhood, including showing how far is mother (former soft porn star Shu Qi) would go to raise him.

In battle, his team is cut to pieces. So he heads for the mountains to learn a special kind of kung fu from Master Chen of the Chen Village, but this village is finicky because it won't teach it to outsiders.

Lu Chan is at his wits' end and fights villagers to show them his worth. These include Master Chen's pretty daughter Yu Niang (Angelababy). But he's beaten back at every step, until a labourer (Tony Leung) tells him to mimic the villagers' kung fu and use it against them.

Yu Niang's fiancé is Zi Jing (Eddie Peng),who is at odds with the culture of his country with his British clothing and snobby demeanour. He wants to build a railroad that will take it across the village, but this is met by fierce resistance from the villagers.

So he calls in the artillery, or a monstrous metallic ogre that's part tractor and part train. I don't know why but I thought about the metallic steam-powered spider in the desert in Wild Wild West (1999).

Lu Chan and Yu Niang conspire to bring the machine to a grinding halt, but not before taking down a regiment of hopelessly dressed white soldiers and a huge white guy.

A romantic subplot has Zi Jing working with a white woman whom he met in London. Her last moment on earth is to hear him tell her that he loves her, all within earshot of Yu Niang. Zi Jing should not mix business and pleasure.

The movie then ends abruptly, either living viewers unsatisfied or glad the movie ended.

Reviewed by claudio_carvalho7 / 10

To Be Continued

The boy Yang Lu Chan (Jayden Yuan) was born with a little fleshy horn on his forehead and is called The Freak and is humiliated and rejected by the other boys in his village. However, when the horn is touched, he turns into an eminent kung fu warrior. When his beloved mother dies, he follows his Master Lao Zhao (Hark-On Fung) that is the leader of the Divine Truth army that fights the emperor army. However, every time that Yang fight, his horn gets darker and Master Dong (Siu-Lung Leung) tells that if it gets black, he will die. When the emperor army attacks the Divine Truth, Dong is deadly injured and he advises Yang to travel to the Chen Village to seek out Master Chen Chang Xing (Tony Leung Ka Fai) and learn the martial art Tai Chi that would provide energy to him to survive. However, the Master Chen is in a retreat and the Chen villagers refuse to teach the technique to outsiders. Yang meets Chen's daughter Chen Yu Niang (Angelababy) and she successively beats up on him trying to force Yang to give up. But a laborer suggests Yang to learn the Tai Chi movements while she beats him.

Meanwhile, Yu Niang's former boyfriend Fang Zi Jing (Eddie Peng),who was born in the village but has studied in Europe, returns to Chen Village expecting to convince the locals to allow building a railroad across their land. His proposal is rejected and he returns with the railroad representative Claire Heathrow (Mandy Lieu) in a lethal machine with British soldiers to destroy the Chen Village. Yang believes that if he becomes a hero saving the village, the locals will teach him Tai Chi.

"Tai Chi 0" is a funny adventure that uses the ancient Chinese tradition in the format of a video game. The good thing is that despite the difference of cultures, the story is highly entertaining and is worthwhile watching this movie. The bad thing is that the movie is to be continued. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "O Mestre da Guerra" ("The Master of the War")

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