Man of Tai Chi, a kung-fu flick (which I’ve never been a huge fan of), is not a bad flick. Surprisingly well directed by Keanu Reeves, the movie features some great fight sequences and choreography and fine performances from Reeves and Tiger Chen.
Genre(s): Martial Arts, Crime
Anchor Bay | R – 105 min. – $29.99 | December 17, 2013
Directed by: Keanu Reeves
Writer(s): Michael G. Cooney (written by)
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Tiger Chen, Karen Mok, Yu Hai, Ye Ong, Simon Yam
Theatrical Release Date: November 1, 2013 (limited)
Features: Commentary, Featurette
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English/Mandarin/Cantonese (DTS-HD MA 5.1) w/ English subtitles
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: 20.5 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 3.0/5
Plot Outline: Donaka Mark (KEANU REEVES) is a wealthy owner of a Beijing underground fight club who recruits a humble Tai Chi student (TIGER CHEN) to his closed-circuit battles. But when the young man is seduced by money and power, it will trigger a war between the Hong Kong police, led by a gung-ho detective (KAREN MOK), the world’s deadliest combatants, and a peaceful spiritual discipline turned lethal new fighting style.
Quick Hit Review: I’ve never been much of a fan of martial arts/kung-fu-heavy movies and outside a couple of roles, namely The Matrix and Speed, Keanu Reeves has been an iffy in terms of acting. However, and strangely enough, putting the two elements together, Reeves and martial arts, Man of Tai Chi is an incredibly fun thriller led by a fine performance from stuntman Tiger Chen (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Charlie’s Angles, The Matrix 2 & 3) and a fun turn as a villain by Reeves.
Of course, the highlight of the movie isn’t with the script, dialogue or acting but instead the fights which are well choreographed by Yuen Wo-Ping (Iron Monkey 1 & 2, Kill Bill Vol. 2, The Forbidden Kingdom), and visual style by none other than Keanu Reeves who makes his directorial debut with what is clearly a passion project.
Although the martial arts genre isn’t my thing, for the most part I still enjoyed Man of Tai Chi and highly recommend it if nothing but the fight sequences culminating with a fun match-up between Chen and Reeves.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.0/5
Note: After the previews, this disc took a bit of time (a good 30 seconds) to load on both players I used, so be patient.
Audio Commentary – Actor/Director Keanu Reeves and Stuntman/Star Tiger Chen sit down for a relatively slow (there are more than a few pauses in chatter) but informative chat about the movie.
The Making of Man of Tai Chi (7:52; HD) is a short featurette providing a BTS look at how the movie was made with some comments by Reeves explaining the story and his involvement.
Previews – The Grandmaster, Only God Forgives, Dragon
VIDEO – 4.0/5
Man of Tai Chi arrives on Blu-ray presented with a 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. The picture here never quite looks that great as detail levels on wider shots aren’t as sharp though close-ups, such as on faces, are do look pretty good. The colors are nicely balanced and with the darker shots appearing nice and stark showing no signs of artifacts or pixilation.
AUDIO – 3.75/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track also never quite impresses, however it is effective enough providing for clear dialogue from the center channel as the front and rear channels are reserved for the fight scenes but, and pardon the pun, it doesn’t quite pack a punch…
OVERALL – 3.0/5
Overall, Man of Tai Chi, a kung-fu flick (which I’ve never been a huge fan of), is not a bad flick. Surprisingly well directed by Keanu Reeves, the movie features some great fight sequences and choreography and fine performances from Reeves and Tiger Chen. The Blu-ray distributed by Anchor Bay offers adequate audio and video transfers while the bonus material, while OK, is much to be desired.