While hunting down bootleg kung-fu DVDs in a Chinatown pawnshop, Jason Tripitikas (Michael Angarano) makes an extraordinary discovery that sends him hurtling back in time to ancient China. There, he is charged with a monumental task of freeing fabled warrior, the Monkey King, who has been imprisoned by the powerful Jade Warlord. Jason is joined in his quest by wise kung fu master Lu Yan (Jackie Chan) and a band of misfit warriors including Silent Monk (Jet Li). But only by learning the true precepts of kung fu can Jason hope to succeed – and find a way to get back home. Jackie Chan and Jet Li, the two most revered martial arts film stars in the world today, come together for the first time in filmmaking history. While both Li and Chan, who are close friends, have long expressed a mutual desire to work together, it wasn’t until The Forbidden Kingdom that either had found an appropriate project that featured two strong roles and memorable fight sequences. “Stories like the Monkey King, which the story is based on, are completely unknown to most Western audiences,” says Li. “But the script got so many details right, and it created this great fusion of Eastern and Western sensibilities. It seemed like the perfect way to bring this character to an international audience.” According to Chan, most fight sequences require about ten to fifteen takes per segment; but his sequences with Li required only three to five. Action superstar Li, who has two young daughters, sees the wide appeal of the film as an advantage. Having made so many violent movies in his career to date, he thought it was time he made a film that families with children will be able to enjoy together. As big in Asian cinema as Clooney and Eastwood are on this side of the globe, Chan and Li deliver plenty of kick to this enjoyable action adventure. With director Rob Minkoff Managing to blend the trademark comedy of Chan with Li’s more action-based personality, the plot is undemanding and whips along from one fight to the next with some decent quips and visual gags. For kung fu fans, this one will be movie heaven, for the rest of us it’s familiar territory with two masters as our guides.