Tai Chi Zero (2012)
Brief review: Self-proclaimed as a steampunk kung-fu flick, "Tai Chi Zero" is HK director Stephen Fung's latest film, shot back-to-back with the following sequel, "Tai Chi Hero". Right from the very beginning, particularly the hilarious back story presented as a silent, black and whine film, you could tell that "Tai Chi Zero" will be a quirky, goofy fun, and it turns out exactly that. Sure, it's a bit silly and the story itself is nothing special, but who cares, considering all the delightful craziness happening on screen. Visually, "Tai Chi Zero" looks like a mash-up of styles and techniques, that feels refreshing and unique in its own way. It's like watching an authentic old-school kung fu film turned into a video game, with a hint of Western influence. The legendary Sammo Hung can do no wrong, and he proves that yet again with his fight choreography, which is imaginative without being too over-the-top. The videogame-ish action scenes are fun, edgy, smartly-executed and accompanied with an outstanding wire-work, and "King Fu Hustle"-like cartoonish special effects. "Tai Chi 0" also celebrates the acting debut of Yuan Xiaochao as the lead character Yang Lu Chan, and what a great debut it is. Although, he barely shines with any remarkable acting abilities, his strong screen presence combined with his enviable martial arts skills will make you rooting for his likable character. The rest of the cast is good too.
Overall summary: Slightly goofy and generally all over the place, yet entertaining and conceptually innovating, "Tai Chi Zero" never take itself seriously, plus, its clever visual approach and creatively-choreographed fight sequences leave you craving for the upcoming sequel.