Tai Chi 2: The Hero Rises (2012) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
7 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
6/10
A Nutshell Review: Tai Chi Hero
DICK STEEL2 November 2012
I had such a blast with Tai Chi Zero, that I was really looking forward to the follow up for more of the zany presentation style adopted by Stephen Fung, to tell a Zero to Hero story of a martial arts protagonist. The first film had protagonist Yang Lu Chan (Jayden Yuan) finally being accepted into the Chen clan through a proxy marriage to Yu Niang (Angelababy), daughter of village chief Master Chen (Tony Leung Kar Fai), since he had assisted in the defeat of their common nemesis Fang Zijing (Eddie Peng), and saved Yu Niang's life, earning admiration and general gratefulness from the villagers.

But Tai Chi Hero didn't quite live up to expectations on many fronts, and became somewhat of a pale shadow that the first film had set up. Sure, the elements are there in Yang Lu Chan's ascension to become a martial arts great, having the fortune to understudy both his wife and father-in-law's renowned kung fu, learning both the physical aspects as well as the philosophy behind the techniques. But it seemed that Stephen Fung had probably gone all out with the first installment, that the second one ran out of steam and suffered from a total burn out. I felt if this had been a trilogy then it wouldn't have to rely on an ending that was obviously so rushed that it ended at the drop of a hat, with story arcs miraculously closed with plenty of convenience poured in.

The fights, as choreographed by Sammo Hung, weren't as many nor as varied as the earlier film, given that Lu Chan is now battling using Tai Chi, and most of the mass battle sequences turned out to be a real blur, which is something of a cheat sheet escape from racking one's brains to come up with something innovative to wow an audience. One on one fights also became an impatient montage eager to get things over with, so the build up to the finale where Lu Chan has to battle against a few masters to get to the boss, became totally short- changed. Probably the only battle worth one's time and money here, is the test of skills between Lu Chan and a Bagua Zhang master (Yuen Biao) atop a series of kitchen panels reminiscence of the tabletop fight in Ip Man 2.

Perhaps the focus here was really more on the relationship between father and son, in Master Chen's estranged relationship with his prodigal oldest child Zai Yang (Feng Shaofeng), who made a quick cameo appearance toward the end of Tai Chi Zero as some martial arts expert. As it turns out, Zai Yang was more of a character than Lu Chan was in this installment, playing up on his martial arts prowess and his engineering smarts that allowed for more of the fantastical steampunk elements, gadgets and vehicles to grace the screen once again. Zai Yang and his wife seem to be on a mission to usurp leadership of the village for some dastardly reason, and much of the film's more emotional portions come from this father-son relationship, rather than from Lu Chan-Yu Niang as newlyweds trying to make sense of their marriage of convenience.

Villain wise, Eddie Peng returns to snarl a lot more on screen as Zijing, this time relying on the backing of the British East India Company's backing for him to assume a minor governor's role so that he has access to cannons and troops to lead the annihilation of the Chen village. But isn't this something we've already seen, and repeating it just isn't quite worthwhile, especially the unceremonious manner in dealing with this character. There's no clear cut, strong villain that's in Tai Chi Hero, which in turn makes Lu Chan's ascension quite hollow.

So I guess the sum of both films put together, only unfortunately averages it out, which is a pity, given the very light hearted fashion the narrative got presented, and the many fun elements and comedy being peppered around. It could have been a lot more should the story here be more focused, just as how Lu Chan is consistently reminded to be when dealing with formidable exponents, and balanced its more philosophical, dramatic moments with its action sequences.
23 out of 32 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
underrated amazing slick kung-fu film
danbayliss29 January 2013
I saw a popular review with 1 star. What the hell are they watching this film for when the trailer is accurate and the film gives you so much more. Firstly if your a fan of Kung Fu Hustle or Dragon Tiger Gate or even The Storm Riders you will love these couple of films.

In short a martial arts village must survive against the evil steampunk death machines and armies who want to build a railway which would destroy the town.

The story is really secondary. It carries the film, but the effects, action, strong characters are flawless if you understand the genre. Most of it is quite unique and visionary while not compromising on the values of a good dramatised Kung Fu adventure. I mean it is really slick how they merge effects, big graphic overlays to convey action and humour which is really good. My only regret after watching them was that I never saw them in the cinema.

If you like Kung Fu films this must be one of the most rewarding films you will ever see. The vision made reality is really epic. It's an instant classic. Anything less than a 7 and you really shouldn't be watching this type of film as it is a near perfect master class. Crouching Tiger action. Subtle Kung Fu Hustle humour. Tarantino style. Sherlock Holmes steampunk. Main character is like Jet Li early years. AMAZING FILM
26 out of 38 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Some spoofing; some history; some steampunk
westsideschl10 September 2013
(1.) Great location - the type of natural carved canyon that makes the film a visual pleasure just on that alone. (2.) Great sets/props - the usual beautiful, authentic intricate carving and crafting found in Chinese epic films; often at full (and I mean full) scale. (3.) Great story line - bringing us a bit of the history of Tai Chi as it relates to Kung fu. (4.) Great contemporary tie ins - some classical pop music; then some metal or rock; then some computer game animations. A good spoofing, at times, of the martial arts genre e.g. with the fruits and veggies or when the moves were following the cooking style of each meal. Great steampunk tie in - why not. Great da Vinci tie in with regards to his design and innovations e.g. the flying machine. (5.) Great wire acts and martial arts - imaginative wire routines with Tai chi juxtaposed to Kung fu movements; nothing ridiculous just to fill space but instead used to educate as to the philosophy and aesthetic of the movements. (6.) Great acting -yet nuanced, understated performances in keeping with Tai chi philosophy.
7 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
Casey's Movie Mania: TAI CHI HERO (2012)
caseymoviemania25 November 2012
The highly-anticipated TAI CHI ZERO -- a classic martial-art movie with a steampunk twist, was supposed to be a turning point in the well-worn genre. Instead it's a huge disappointment in all level. So here we are again -- an immediate sequel titled as TAI CHI HERO which is shot back-to-back with the first movie. The biggest question is: does this second installment improves considerably? Well, the answer is a big "NO". Even though TAI CHI HERO has lowered down its geek culture references and focusing more on character-driven drama, this disappointing sequel remains lackluster from start till the end.

Picking up where the last movie left off, we learn that Yang Luchan (Jayden Yuan) is now preparing to marry Yuniang (Angelababy). During the wedding ceremony, Yuniang's elder brother Zaiyang (Feng Shaofeng) and his wife (Nikki Hsieh) make their sudden appearance. Zaiyang doesn't particularly agrees with her decision to marry Yang Luchan just because he saves her life in the previous movie. He also reminds everyone why their Chen-style martial arts cannot be taught to outsiders like Yang Luchan. In a brief flashback scene dating way back at one hundred years ago, we learn that Chen-style martial arts was made legendary by the 10th Grandmaster (Patrick Tse, in a heavy makeup) who had many students from all over the regions. One day, a formidable Monk (Daniel Wu, also in a heavy makeup) made an appearance to the Chen village, and subsequently revealed that he has apprehended one of 10th Grandmaster's students who had ran amok in the region. The monk who had an incredible martial-art skill, warned the 10th Grandmaster never ever teaching outsiders again or else he would return and destroy the village.

Meanwhile, the badly-injured Fang Zijing (Eddie Peng) is determined for payback time and wants to hatch an evil plan with the corrupt Duke Fleming (Peter Stormare) of the East India Company, to avenge the death of his British girlfriend, Claire (Mandy Lieu). With the help of Duke Fleming, Zijing is appointed as the new deputy governor. With a large army and heavy artillery at his disposal, he strives to destroy Chen village once and for all so he can continue to make the railroad where he last left off.

At 103 minutes, TAI CHI HERO wastes too much time establishing a lot of new characters, new agenda as well as extensive backstory that doesn't really drives the movie forward. Don't get me wrong. It's good that the sequel tries hard to expand its universe but expansion alone don't mean a thing if the execution feels hollow, yet uninvolving. Not surprisingly, the story fails to build any sort of compelling tension. Even the so-called characters development in this sequel feels perfunctory.

All the returning actors here are more or less the same disappointment. Newcomer Jayden Yuan continues to be the biggest disappointment of all. His so-called "from zero to hero" character is hardly convincing at all. Again, his performance is as wooden as a piece of plank. Angelababy is basically repeating herself from the first movie without any further development to her character. Her chemistry with Jayden Yuan is close to zero, while there's hardly a conflict or struggle between their characters throughout the movie that could have been worthwhile to watch them for. Other supporting actors including Eddie Peng and Feng Shaofeng are nothing more than strict caricatures.

Where all else fails, one would expect that Fung and martial-art choreographer Sammo Hung could at least redeem this sorry sequel with rousing set pieces. Alas, the movie even fails in that level -- again. All the fighting sequences here are all style but little sense of excitement. Even the would-be classic showdown between Luchan and Master Li (Yuen Biao) in the climactic finale doesn't really generates the necessary "wow" factor.

If that's not insulting enough, TAI CHI HERO ends with another sequel (where Fung has planned to make his movie into a trilogy) which hardly generates any sense of excitement at all. With two back-to-back movies already failed to make a lasting impact, what's the use of anticipating a third movie?
19 out of 57 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
BORING with Fast subtitles!
scottls13 December 2013
Yawn!- "Trying" to speed-read the Fast subtitles before they disappeared, distracted from watching the visuals! Nothing missed though, as this Boring/ nonsensical / "hard-to-follow" movie, just went on-and-on....

I took Karate for 15 years, and much of this floating... nonsense, turned me OFF!- At least Van Dammme/Segal/Jet Li/ Bruce Lee movies are believable! If you are into make-believe, then you just Might like it? I just don't understand the good reviews!?

BTW- I prefer even poor-dubbing to subtitles, as I can at least watch what is happening!
6 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
Well...Slightly better this time around
KineticSeoul25 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
After the disappointing "Tai Chi Zero" comes "Tai Chi Hero". The first movie is just poorly developed and not very coherent. It just didn't seem like a complete movie. And I guess it's because the two movies was shot back to back. "Tai Chi Hero" is better than Zero but not by much. It does have a better build up though. But moves along very slowly at times, the pacing needed some work. Both these movies tries to go in a modern hip and cool comic book style kung-fu movie that takes place during a ancient Chinese era. Which is a cool idea, but it's just not executed in a very entertaining manner. The special effects are good, but it falters in a lot of areas. The build up and direction is just mediocre at best and there just isn't enough kung-fu fight sequences. And when there is, it goes in a close up, wire works, special effects direction. But the fight choreography is just bland and forgettable for the most part. The music is however cool. There is one part in this movie where the protagonist has to fight 7 masters of different arts. But it just skims through it. It might have been at least cool and entertaining if it went in a slight Chinese Scott Pilgrim direction. With more depth to fighting through to reach the top scenarios. The foolish and yet righteous hero this time uses more head to head kung-fu but it's just way too far in between. If only they put as much emphasis on kung-fu as much as the special effects. This time it goes in a more Eastern tradition, culture and kung-fu direction which I thought had more meaning than the first one. However the ending seemed way to rushed and again incomplete. Even if plans for another sequel is coming up. Random but I thought Nikki Hsieh is pretty in this movie.

5.8/10
2 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
The Chinese Steam Punk Western is back
ersbel29 January 2019
The Chinese Steam Punk Western is back with the same primitivist stance. What I find amusing is how a huge place like China can develop the same fairy tale as North Korea (and hundreds of other countries) of the victim of the "great powers".
0 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed