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Superstar Jet Li shows off his legendary speed, power, and agility at the peak of his martial arts prowess in this sweeping action epic. In an age of swordsmen and rebellion, two best friends and fellow martial arts students are expelled from the storied temple of Shaolin, only to meet again on the battlefield one a power-hungry general, the other a freedom-fighting rebel, both mortal enemies. Featuring Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon s Michelle Yeoh and directed by the celebrated Yuen Woo-Ping (action choreographer of The Matrix films), Tai Chi Master is a quintessential martial arts classic.
Tai Chi Master is the greatest "wire-fu" film from Yuen Woo-ping, best known as the martial-arts choreographer of the Matrix and Kill Bill films. "Wire-fu" films were created during the martial arts film resurgence of the late 80s and early 90s, and in terms of fight choreography, this is arguably the best of the entire genre. Tai Chi Master demonstrated Jet Lis martial-arts abilities at their most frenetic and fluid, and Li was at the height of his athletic prowess. If that wasnt enough, it's also one of action queen Michelle Yeohs finest performances in a wuxia period piece. Li and Yeoh were supported by an equally athletic cast, led by the remarkable Chin Siu-hou, who plays the nemesis to Lis hero. Chin manages to steal every scene, even when he is being beaten to a pulp. Li and Chin play best friends Jun and Tien, who grow up in Shaolin Temple during the Manchu Dynasty. Gentle Jun is satisfied with the simple things in life, but hot-tempered Tien craves power and wealth. The films exposition pays homage to the 70s Shaw Brothers films (such as The 36th Chamber of Shaolin), and the closing scene in the temple is only the first of a series of spectacular martial arts set pieces. Jun and Tiens dispositions lead them to two different paths in life; Jun joins the rebellion against the cruel Manchu regime, while Tien joins the army. Here, Yuen treads all-too familiar territory, but the actors still throw themselves into the thin material. The films mid-part is weighed down by the usual intrusion of feckless Hong Kong slapstick, but the story quickly recovers when Jun discovers the secrets of tai chi. When Li fires up his tai chi skills, the results are some of the best boxing scenes the genre has ever witnessed. Tai Chi Master established Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh as the best martial arts actors in the business, and Yuen the best choreographer. Though elements of the film are dated, Tai Chi Master remains a landmark in the martial arts genre. --Roberto Azula
I also practice Tai Ji Quan and love any movie that shows the many benefits of this exercise/martial art.Published 2 months ago by Thomas Lloyd Vieth