The Forbidden Kingdom
Imagine that Star Wars were set in ancient China and hybridized with The Lord of the Rings and The Neverending Story, dumbed down to an archetypal fantasy adventure, and handed over to a terrible director. Then imagine, somehow, that director was given blockbuster funding and hired the best martial-arts stars, the best visual-effects staff, the best cinematographer, and the best technical team that money can buy. This should offer some idea of the idiotically written, visually gorgeous, campy fun romp that is The Forbidden Kingdom. A boy (it doesn't matter what boy) is whisked off to a faraway land (it doesn't matter what land), to be told he'll fulfill a prophecy (wait . . . no, doesn't matter either), meets beautiful women and wise teachers, learns to fight, and saves the world. It's recycled fantasy fodder that might have been original 40 years ago, but there's something nostalgic about the timelessness of such a simple tale, and the lush visuals and beautifully executed action sequences make it look new again. Of course, it doesn't hurt that all those stunning acrobatics are performed by masters Jackie Chan and Jet Li, either.