User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 86 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 72 out of 86
  2. Negative: 5 out of 86
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  1. BenjaminS
    Jul 9, 2008
    9
    I liked Jackie Chan and Jet Li in one great kung fu fighting movie. I recommend it to everyone who love's this type of movie.
  2. AlP.
    Apr 17, 2008
    7
    Excellent action and good humor. Could even take your kids to see it.
  3. DaveJ.
    May 9, 2008
    8
    If you love martial arts flicks as much as everyone involved in this production, you'll have a blast! Light-hearted in tone with every variety of kung fu and countless references to Hong Kong classics.
  4. JackR.
    Apr 19, 2008
    8
    While the dialogue in the movie is cheesy at times this movie is definately entertaining.
  5. William
    Aug 1, 2008
    3
    I desperately looked forward to this and was thoroughly disappointed. The story was garbage, the kiddie lead annoying, and they didn't give Li or Chan enough quality fighting time.
  6. PL
    Apr 19, 2008
    10
    This movie is so entertaining that I want to see it again. It is hilarious and doesn't take itself seriously. Beautiful cinematography and well done CG, with awesome kung fu. Simply put, I love it. It should've been marketed as summer blockbuster movie. I highly recommend it.
  7. PaulS.
    Apr 20, 2008
    6
    I wanted to like this movie -- I really, really did. Jackie Chan and Jet Li are (well, were) the best at martial arts action films, and the prospect of them as a kind of chop-socky Odd Couple was irresistible. I'd been looking forward to it for months, and went to see it on opening day. What I didn't realize was that this was neither a martial arts comedy (like Chan is known I wanted to like this movie -- I really, really did. Jackie Chan and Jet Li are (well, were) the best at martial arts action films, and the prospect of them as a kind of chop-socky Odd Couple was irresistible. I'd been looking forward to it for months, and went to see it on opening day. What I didn't realize was that this was neither a martial arts comedy (like Chan is known for) or an epic (like Li has done) but rather, at its core, a children's movie. It's like The Karate Kid meets The Neverending Story -- complete with training montages, "real world" bookends, and a gawky hero that was a little too aggressively banal to like. There are moments of excellence; Jet Li's exuberance as the trickster Monkey King is genuinely delightful, and both the good-girl and bad-girl characters are ridiculously attractive. In the end, though, all I could think about was how much I would've enjoyed the film if I were 11. To be fair, parents of 11-year-olds should definitely consider this one for a Saturday afternoon. The rest of us, however, should save our money. Expand
  8. ChadS
    Apr 22, 2008
    7
    What does John Lennon and "The Forbidden Kingdom" have in common? They both do the Oz; but they don't do God. Against the backdrop of a cerulean sky, Jason(Michael Angarano) envisions kung fu fighting on dreamscape mountaintops. The warriors fly around like substitute angels. Their staffs are malevolent harps. Later on, when Jason finds himself in a predicament that confirms the What does John Lennon and "The Forbidden Kingdom" have in common? They both do the Oz; but they don't do God. Against the backdrop of a cerulean sky, Jason(Michael Angarano) envisions kung fu fighting on dreamscape mountaintops. The warriors fly around like substitute angels. Their staffs are malevolent harps. Later on, when Jason finds himself in a predicament that confirms the timelessness of Newton's Law, life doesn't flash before his eyes like a god-fearing man. Instead, he goes to the mythical China of celluloid reality, just like how a Yoda acolyte-wanna-be would jettison himself to a planet far, far away, in a heartbeat, if his heart stopped. Once there, Jason demonstrates his knowledge of chopsocky. The narrative is standard fare. He's not trying to reinvent the wheel, like Ang Lee("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"), but the boy's narrative shows the influence of his own culture; popular culture(e.g. the preponderance of CGI effects). As the casting director of his own imagination, he uses a twilight Jackie Chan, and an equally white dwarf-ish Jet Li, to help him free the monkey king(Li as Bruce Lee in code. "Monkey Man" was a ska classic by The Specials. Bruce Lee was special. Jason could be a ska fan. An anagram for "ska" suggests Kansas: "Ka[n]s[as]".). To Jason's credit, in the film within a film, he learns kung fu, but not to an extent, in which he'd defeat an obviously superior opponent, mano-a-(wo)mano. The martial arts-neophyte needs help. He's subordinate to Lu Yan(Jackie Chan) and the Silent Monk(Jet Li). Jason doesn't colonize his daydream by upstaging the people indigenous to the films he loves. It respects the genre. Like Victor Fleming's "The Wizard of Oz", Jason populates the movie in his head, with people from his life. Aware of Pink Floyd's enthusiasm for "Oz" during the recording of "Dark Side of the Moon", "The Forbidden Kingdom" seems to draw from John Lennon's solo debut "Plastic Ono Band"("God", "Do the Oz"). The ex-Beatle believed in Yoko. Jason used to believe in "Enter the Dragon". But now that he's met Golden Sparrow(Yifei Liu), there's a good chance that the fantasy-addled boy, will enter the. Expand
  9. JonathanK.
    Apr 24, 2008
    7
    Jackie Chan and Jet Li give a magnificent performance. It's a shame the movie is not really about them. As has been said, it's a really a movie aimed for younger audiences. The fight scenes are impressive but the lead character is really quite obnoxious. I will give it a 7 because I got what I wanted out of this movie, and that is excellent fight choreography by 2 of my favorite Jackie Chan and Jet Li give a magnificent performance. It's a shame the movie is not really about them. As has been said, it's a really a movie aimed for younger audiences. The fight scenes are impressive but the lead character is really quite obnoxious. I will give it a 7 because I got what I wanted out of this movie, and that is excellent fight choreography by 2 of my favorite film martial artists. I did my best to shut my eyes to the rest. Expand
  10. ErdnaS
    Apr 30, 2008
    5
    Those rating this movie above a 7 are, well, let
  11. DanielL
    May 14, 2008
    9
    The perfect adventure movie! You'll like it and your kids will love it. Well, to tell the truth, I loved it too. But then I have a thing for beautiful fighting scenes, amazing scenery and feel-good-fantasy-stories.
  12. viet
    May 21, 2008
    10
    This movie i think is great, its a modern twist to the original monkey king. (i advise you to watch or read about the original monkey king before you watch this movie or else you might think its corny or cheesy- like many people) = I liked the twist at the end when jet li turned into one of monkey king's hair, i just thought he was acting 2 parts in the beginning/ = would i recommend This movie i think is great, its a modern twist to the original monkey king. (i advise you to watch or read about the original monkey king before you watch this movie or else you might think its corny or cheesy- like many people) = I liked the twist at the end when jet li turned into one of monkey king's hair, i just thought he was acting 2 parts in the beginning/ = would i recommend it? - yes. Expand
  13. RicoG
    Jun 3, 2008
    10
    This Movie is great despite reviews, you love martial arts, Jackie Chan and Jet Li. This Movie is for you. I love martial arts and this movie was awesome.
  14. FrancesS
    Apr 17, 2008
    10
    It's just one big love letter to kung fu movies, and a real tribute to its two amazing stars!
  15. MiguelA.
    Apr 19, 2008
    8
    Though the storyline, as well as some choregraphy seem recycled from older movies, it's a breath of fresh air in the kung fu flick genre. It's great to see that Jackie and Jet are working together as well, and together, they made art in the style of martial arts. My only problem is the teenage boy who seems to ruin the movie at certain points.
  16. AaronF.
    Apr 21, 2008
    10
    I think it was absolutely brilliant. The style was a lot of fun to watch, and they handled a plot that could have been incredibly cheesy with a lot of finesse and believability. From a critical standpoint, they did a great job with this movie in the atmosphere they intended. In reviewing any movie, you have to consider what the intent of the movie was before you decide if it was good "for I think it was absolutely brilliant. The style was a lot of fun to watch, and they handled a plot that could have been incredibly cheesy with a lot of finesse and believability. From a critical standpoint, they did a great job with this movie in the atmosphere they intended. In reviewing any movie, you have to consider what the intent of the movie was before you decide if it was good "for you". More critics (at least profession ones) need to learn to review from the point of view of the intended audience, not the reviewer him/herself, to decide whether the movie was good. Expand
  17. LindaL
    Apr 25, 2008
    10
    Great movie. I loved Jackie Chan and Jet Li together on the screen. The actress with the long white hair was really good. The teen actress was beautifull too. Loved it!
  18. RandyY.
    Apr 29, 2008
    8
    The romance is complete crap but the fighting and story are really good
  19. DarvellH
    May 25, 2008
    6
    It was not as good as I expected it be. You would thin that the two greatest martial artest would have been in a better. It was just not a good. I didn't understand anywhere it was coming from. The plot seem unreal. The only good thing that I like about the movie is that Jackiee Chan and Jet li was in it. It is about time that we saw a movie with the greatest Martial Art stars It was not as good as I expected it be. You would thin that the two greatest martial artest would have been in a better. It was just not a good. I didn't understand anywhere it was coming from. The plot seem unreal. The only good thing that I like about the movie is that Jackiee Chan and Jet li was in it. It is about time that we saw a movie with the greatest Martial Art stars togther. It was a good movie but not the best. Expand
  20. HuaweiW
    May 4, 2008
    8
    Pretty good. The fighting was exciting, the dialogue was interesting, and the concept was excellent. Unfortunately the movie felt kind of rushed to me. It was too short and if it was to be really good it should have been lengthened to a trilogy.
  21. NicholasD
    Jun 23, 2008
    10
    Fricking amazing, can't believe didn't get an official box office release here in Oz (or did and I somehow missed it). I also kinda can't believe it got such a low score here on metacritic... Ah well I guess an ode to classic kung fu is not everyones idea of a great film... but Jet Li and Jackie Chan (especially without a bad Hollywood comedy script) was my idea of cinema gold.
  22. WilliamS
    Jun 30, 2008
    10
    This is the perfect escapist Far Eastern fantasy. For anyone (like myself) who has read lots of Eastern philosophy and mythology, this movie is an excellent blend of humour and fantasy. There are plenty of humorous references to Toaist and Zen Buddhism texts and legends. I loved when Jackie Chan mistaked a boy's stunned silence for complete understanding ("He speaks does not know, he This is the perfect escapist Far Eastern fantasy. For anyone (like myself) who has read lots of Eastern philosophy and mythology, this movie is an excellent blend of humour and fantasy. There are plenty of humorous references to Toaist and Zen Buddhism texts and legends. I loved when Jackie Chan mistaked a boy's stunned silence for complete understanding ("He speaks does not know, he who knows does not speak"). In this movie you will see characters and places from the Seven Taoist Masters, ancient Chinese folklore, and hear teachings from Zen Buddism. Its really alot of fun, with beautiful scenery, cool fight scenes, and plenty of comedy. Expand
  23. JasonA
    Sep 15, 2008
    10
    I love this movie, it's alot of fun for the whole family. Enjoy it for what it is a saturday morning kung fu flick on steroids.
  24. JohnM.
    Apr 19, 2008
    4
    Fighting is fine, but not a believable story. Don't take your watch with you, you'll be looking at it regularly.
  25. AndyA
    Apr 21, 2008
    9
    The cast says it all and it lives up to every bit of it. If you like these movies you will get your moneys worth.
  26. JFD
    Jun 15, 2008
    8
    That's why American People dont appreciate asian cinemas, they do not know the real story of the Monkey King, well they have team up together the 2 martial arts superstars, and the story line is supperb, but they should not put an american actor in the film anyways.
  27. CatS
    Jun 19, 2008
    10
    I thought this movie was tremendous. I love martial arts flicks, and this one was funny, well-acted, and had lots of nods to fans of the two leads. I enjoyed the heck out of it!
  28. JayH
    Aug 26, 2008
    6
    A pleasant surprise, I am not at all into martial arts/kung fu films, but the production was excellent, great special effects and a good story. The cast was fine. Good plot and enjoyable, very entertaining.
  29. Mar 2, 2011
    8
    The plot in this movie is bogus and the dialog is cheesy, it will scratch the Kung-Fu maniacs itch, there is a lot of reasons to love or hate this movie, I would recommend trying this for yourself.
  30. May 26, 2012
    7
    Jet Li and Jackie Chan's combination of powerful performances combined with decent storytelling make this a decent action movie.
  31. Dec 29, 2011
    7
    It was ok suprisingly. The action was good and it was great to finally see Chan and Li fight against each other in a film. The plot was alright but it was just a bit too stupid at times. Overall though it was entertaining and worth the watch.
  32. Sep 28, 2013
    9
    I was surprised by this movie since I didn`t hear much about it. I guess I shouldn`t be cause Jet Li, and Jackie Chan are a great duo.The sounds the action all make for a great adventure.The Heroes and the Villans give you a feeling of a different world, and that`s what I look for in a movie.
  33. Nov 28, 2012
    7
    Clever, dashing, and fairly amusing, "The Forbidden Kingdom" is a special kind of action adventure film that actually stimulates the audiences' minds as well as their eyes.
  34. May 25, 2014
    7
    From the beginning of this movie (which I just decided to watch while channel surfing) I was not sure what I was getting into but was intrigued. This is a GREAT story that kept me interested, watching and completely entertained. Even the ending was well done and I never felt like the director "jumped the shark" with any plot lines or insulted my intelligence. Who knew the kid star in thisFrom the beginning of this movie (which I just decided to watch while channel surfing) I was not sure what I was getting into but was intrigued. This is a GREAT story that kept me interested, watching and completely entertained. Even the ending was well done and I never felt like the director "jumped the shark" with any plot lines or insulted my intelligence. Who knew the kid star in this movie had some serious skills! At the end I felt great about the movie and made sure to save it so my kids could watch it to. For kung-fu fanatics the opening scene may worry you a bit but the action gets better and better all the way to the end. Expand
Metascore
57

Mixed or average reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 27
  2. Negative: 1 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    50
    On its own terms, it's a handsome albeit unexceptional juvenile adventure shot on some magnificent Chinese locations.
  2. Once past the clunky prologue, the film is great fun, with a good balance between computer effects and athleticism.
  3. Reviewed by: Stephen Farber
    50
    Will please its core audience but won't enthrall anyone over the age of 16. (Even that might be stretching the point.)