So last night I saw Jackie Chan’s new movie The Myth at the theater. I wanted to see it despite not even really knowing anything about it, which only seems silly to me in retrospect. I’ll admit I was fooled by the movie posters. The movie wanted very much to be another “Chinese epic” in the tradition of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero. That much is obvious simply in the movie posters. Chump that I am, I was even fooled into thinking this was Jackie Chan playing a serious role in a movie. Actually, maybe I was just lured in by the inclusion of (hot) Bollywood actress Mallika Sherawat.
The truth is the movie was a cross between a typical Jackie Chan movie and the “Chinese epic” (or at least an attempt at one). Both fell short, and the fusion kind of flopped. It still had its entertaining elements, though.
Some points I found interesting:
– The scene in the “rat glue” factory was awesome. I was of the opinion that Jackie Chan hasn’t been coming up with very innovative new action scenes for a while now, but this one was extremely well done.
– Malika Sherawat and the whole India sequence seemed totally unnecessary. The whole depiction of India seemed pretty stereotypical to me, but I can’t say I’m exactly sure what stereotypes the Chinese/Hong Kongnese apply to India or how an Indian would feel about the way India was portrayed in the movie. I guess the whole India bit was all just to show off Malika Sherawat and capitalize on Bollywood’s popularity? It was worth it in the “rat glue” scene.
– I watched the movie in Mandarin Chinese, and it was pretty easy to understand (except for a few parts in the “ancient China” scenes). What I found weird, though, was how they chose to use (Chinese) subtitles in some parts, but just had people speaking Chinese in other parts. For example, in the opening sequence, the princess speaks Korean and it’s subtitled. Later, foreigners working for a research company all speak Chinese (they were clearly dubbed). Jackie speaks in an Indian language with a guard in a temple in India (and it’s subtitled), but the rest of the time in India the Indians all speak (dubbed) Chinese.
– The violence in Jackie Chan’s movies has traditionally been pretty slapstick. It gets pretty bloody in this one, particularly in the ancient China flashbacks. Looks like Jackie is abandoning his principles for a piece of the “China epic” pie?
The last point deserves to be made in its own paragraph rather than just a bullet. It’s a rather weird point to make, and I’m not sure how many would agree with me here. But here goes. The bad guy in The Myth, played by actor Zhou Sun, looks like an older, Chinese version of Joey from Friends (actor Matt LeBlanc). No joke! You know, in the same way that Koizumi looks like a Japanese Richard Gere. I’m not just all talk, though. I have photos for comparison purposes! See if you can pick out who is who! (Warning: bad facial hair ahead!)
Quiz: Joey or Zhou?
If you can’t figure out who is who, you can e-mail me for the answers. I hope you guys agree that they look alike. Last time I suggested a Chinese model looked like Katie Holmes, I didn’t get a lot of support. I know this Caucasian-Asian lookalike phenomenon is real, though, thanks to the incontrovertible Koizumi-Gere case.