Jackie Chan Presents: Wushu Review

By Tina Tsai

I admit it: I have a very high tolerance for bad martial arts films. So when I saw a DVD copy of the movie Wushu sitting on the shelf in Best Buy, I bought it right away. I’d seen the trailer before. I knew it was going to have a cheesy plot, vapid acting, and sophomoric writing, but the martial arts was gorgeous, so I had to have it.

For those of you who don’t know what wushu is, a direct translation of it into English is literally “martial arts”, but it’s come to define the modern sports genre that encompasses various aspects of martial arts. Jet Li, for example, was a wushu prodigy champion which was what launched him into the kung fu film superhero he is today. I took wushu for a couple of years, and it’s primarily performance and competition based. There’s of course practical applications for it, but it’s not the focus.

The story for the Wushu movie goes like this: five kids join a wushu school and become friends. They grow up and are the best students in the school. Sammo Hung plays a senior teacher at the school and is the dad of two of the boys. Aside from going up the ranks in competitions, each have their own personal challenges to overcome, exploring film careers and even get tangled up in black market operations of a former star student of the school. Blah blah blah, and the movie ends with a moral of the story: always do your best.

The nice thing about having really low expectations for a film is that you are pleasantly surprised if any part of it is good. The middle of the story actually got kind of interesting, but the story, editing, and overall cinematography left much to be desired. The soundtrack didn’t make any sense, especially the end song during the credits.

The actors clearly are noobs to the theater arts, but they’re seasoned and skilled martial artists, so the demonstrations are breathtaking to say the least. I can’t even do a single decent butterfly twist jump let alone a triple butterfly twist while catching a spear in midair and then landing in splits with mind-blowing grace. I’m sure that sounds impressive even if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

ABOUT TINA: Tina Tsai, Ph.D. is a writer, teacher, and founder of The Literacy Guild LLC. She and her students write and publish their work. Her debut teen kung fu romance novel The Legend of Phoenix Mountain is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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About tinabot

Tinabot is a writer, teacher, and ninja. She and her students write and publish their work. Her debut teen kung fu romance novel The Legend of Phoenix Mountain is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
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