Oh, Keanu. You were so close.
I enjoyed the genre-smashing 47 Ronin (see here) and had a ball watching the outrageous John Wick (see here). So I was really looking forward to Man of Tai Chi. Keanu directing and playing a bad guy? Sign me up.
But Tai Chi isn’t much of a movie. The fight scenes, with lead Tiger Chen, were damn fine. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen tai chi in a combat setting, so that was new. The movie pits Chen against fighters from a variety of styles, from masters of other martial arts to pure brawlers. So each fight offered unique visuals as the styles went fist to fist.
Problem is, other than the combat, there’s not much to love. The plot isn’t much, and stylistically, Reeves’ choices seem to be to cool or conservative when he should be letting things get out of control and crazy, one example being Chen’s final underground fight of the film against Iko Uwais of The Raid and The Raid 2 fame, which is a dud despite it being the most promising battle of the film. Keanu is serviceable as Donaka, the man behind the fight club, but the script doesn’t give him much to work with. The final battle versus Donaka is good, but a bit of a let-down. And so on.
Bummer. Still, it’s been nice to ride the Keanu train as long as I have. It’ll be interesting to see where it stops next.