TAI CHI ZERO (Well Go USA, 2012) D: Stephen Fung, w/ Yuan Xiaochao, Angelababy. Rating: NNN; DVD package: NN Rating: NNN
Historical fact: Yang Lu Chan was the first person outside the Chen clan to be taught tai chi; it happened in Chen Village. Apart from that, director Stephen Fung couldn't care less about history. His Tai Chi Zero is all about lively action, light comedy, fun with onscreen graphics and multiple images and a bizarre dash of steampunk.
Dying of the same physical oddity that makes him a martial arts prodigy, Lu Chan arrives in Chen Village, where they not only refuse to teach him, but beat him up repeatedly to make him go away. This fails miserably as a discouragement tactic but offers a splendid opportunity for veteran fight choreographer Sammo Hung to show off the Chen style.
Lu Chan's chief nemesis is Yunia, played by Angelababy, who has some of the gravitas and concealed humour of Michelle Yeoh. She calls Lu Chan an idiot, but Yuan Xiaochao plays him more as good-natured, good-hearted and enthusiastic. They make an appealing couple.
Yunia's Westernized fiancé, resentful of the Chen clan and determined to build a railroad through the village, shows up with a Western woman and a monstrous wrecking machine. It's iron-clad, bigger than a house, rolls on self-made rails and crammed full of clockwork.
The brief extras look at the infernal machine and Fung's thoughts on revitalizing the traditional kung fu movie.
EXTRAS: Making-of doc, music video. English, Mandarin audio. English, Cantonese subtitles.