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Jackie's clunking fist hits home

PUBLISHED: 11:41 10 July 2008 | UPDATED: 17:10 16 August 2010

PUNCH DRUNK: Jackie Chan stars as Lu Yan.

PUNCH DRUNK: Jackie Chan stars as Lu Yan.

TWO of China s biggest martial arts stars, Jackie Chan and Jet Li, are united to entertaining if slightly disappointing effect in this mystical time-travelling adventure which takes place half in modern-day Boston and half in ancient China.

TWO of China's biggest martial arts stars, Jackie Chan and Jet Li, are united to entertaining if slightly disappointing effect in this mystical time-travelling adventure which takes place half in modern-day Boston and half in ancient China.

Kung fu-obsessed teenager Jason is transported to ancient China by a magical golden staff he finds among the piles of old junk he is rifling through in a Chinatown pawnshop owned by Old Yop (Chan).

He is immediately set upon by a gang of soldiers under the command of a despot and all-round nasty piece of work, the Jade Warlord (Collin Chou). Luckily for Jason, Lu Yan (also played by Chan), a peasant with a penchant for rice wine, is on hand to save him with his impressive mastery of the drunken fist. It turns out Jason is the 'seeker', a hero prophesied to return the staff to Monkey King (Li), a simian warrior who has been encased in stone by the evil Jade Warlord and his silver-haired witch Ni Chang (Bing Bing Li)

The two are soon joined by a mute monk (also played by Li), who agrees to help train Jason after a thrilling fight with Lu Yan and Golden Sparrow (Liu Yifei), a young female warrior seeking to avenge the death of her parents.

Together the four heroes go on a journey through some impressive CGI-enhanced landscapes to confront the Jade Warlord and return the staff to its rightful owner.

The fighting scenes were put together by the undisputed master of kung fu choreography, Yuen Wo Ping, responsible for the gravity-defying sequences in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and do not disappoint. The clash between Li and Chan part-way through being the undoubted high point.

Fans of Chinese action films have been salivating at the prospect of a Chan/Li double header for years but with the two actors aged 54 and 44 it could be argued the film has come ten years too late. Things are not helped by the derivative script, which borrows from just about every Asian martial arts film made in the last 30 years, but there's just enough action to keep things on the right side of watchable.

The Forbidden Kingdom opens in cinemas tomorrow.

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