While hunting down bootleg kung-fu DVDs in a Chinatown pawnshop, Jason makes an extraordinary discovery that sends him hurtling back in time to ancient China. There, Jason is charged with a monumental task: he must free the fabled warrior the Monkey King, who has been imprisoned by the evil Jade Warlord. Jason is joined in his quest by wise kung fu master Lu Yan and a band of misfit warriors including Silent Monk. But only by learning the true precepts of kung fu can Jason hope to succeed - and find a way to get back home.
About The Production
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 in THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM. In this epic action-adventure tale, Boston teenager Jason Tripitikas confronts the toughest journey he has ever faced in his life – one which takes him on a dangerous mission through ancient China where he learns the art of kung fu from his mismatched teachers, Lu Yan and the Silent Monk. While both Jet Li and Jackie 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. But when Li read screenwriter John Fusco’s script for THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM, he knew the time had finally come.
“I was immediately impressed by the extensive knowledge of various ancient Chinese legends,” says Li. “Stories like the Monkey King, which THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM is based on, are completely unknown to most Western audiences. 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.”
Jackie Chan readily admits that his attraction to THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM hinged on Li’s involvement. “I have always hoped to make movies with some people whom I really admire, like Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro, before I retire from this business,” he says. “Jet Li is someone with whom I have wanted to work for more than ten years.”
When the momentous day finally came for Chan and Li to shoot their first fight sequence together, the chemistry was palpable. “It was seamless,” avows Chan. “With most people, you have to practice. But with Jet, I don't know why, we both looked at each other and we just said, ‘Let’s just do it, yeah.’ And we did it. The first two takes were so fast that everybody had to tell us to slow down or they’d have to use slow motion.”
According to Chan, most fight sequences require about ten to fifteen takes per segment; but his sequences with Li required only three to five. “All I did was tell Jet I’d do these few strokes and let him know my rhythm. He would pick up my rhythm and just react with his strokes. That kind of chemistry is rare.”