Man of Tai Chi Blu-ray review

Man of Tai Chi Keanu Reeves has been a fan of martial arts ever since he trained under Tiger Chen and Yuen Woo-ping in the Matrix films. Since then, Reeves and Chen have become good friends, resulting in Reeves wanting to direct a film project with Chen as the star. Man of Tai Chi is that movie, and it is inspired by Chen’s life. Reeves was even able to get Woo-ping to join as the fight choreographer.

Tiger Chen, who plays himself in the movie, is a student of Tai Chi and gets recruited to participate in a deadly underground fight club for the amusement of the elite. Well, innocent Chen slowly gets corrupted by the showrunner, Donaka Mark (Keanu Reeves). Will he be able to turn away from the dark side, or will it consume him?

I admire Reeves for having Man of Tai Chi be his first movie (it reminds me of RZA with The Man with the Iron Fist). It’s also admirable to know that he has decided to make it a bilingual movie using both English and Chinese languages. The man does appreciate kung fu, and you can see it in the way it’s shot. We get wide-angled shots with none of the crazy fast edits that’s popular nowadays.

The story is very similar to many martial arts films out there, however, the fight scenes were still entertaining. The acting performances were good as is. As for Reeves’ acting, he is still very monotone in his role, even when he’s mad. Tiger Chen does what he can with his role as a student who isn’t sure about his path. Oh, and the cameo appearance by Iko Uwais (The Raid: Redemption) was nice but short.

(Movie Grade: B-)

Video

The video quality is surprisingly good (I wasn’t expecting much). The transfer doesn’t appear to have any flaws and the details on faces and environment are clear and sharp. The colors are strong and vibrant, and the black levels are solid.

(Video Grade: A)

Audio

The Blu-ray comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio. When the music plays, it becomes the focus point. Other than that, it’s clear throughout. I usually like my punches and kicks to sound powerful in martial arts flicks, but it’s more of a personal taste.

(Audio Grade: B+)

Extras

The extras are very slim, but it does contain audio commentary with Keanu Reeves and Tiger Chen. They talk about many things including their history with each other, actors involved in the project, getting Yuen Woo-ping, shooting fight scenes and etc. It’s interesting but not something you have to listen to.

The second extra is “The Making of Man of Tai Chi” featurette. This short feature covers the movie and the directing, acting, Tai Chi and cinematography.

(Extra Grade: C)

Final Reaction

Man of Tai Chi isn’t something that will blow you away, but if you’re a fan of martial arts, it’s definitely worth watching.

Overall Grade: B-

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John 'Spartan' Nguyen
John 'Spartan' Nguyen 10182 posts

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