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After recently mumbling his way through the indie drama Generation Um…, Keanu Reeves nailed down that directing debut he’d been wanting to make for the last couple of years. The name of the film is Man of Tai Chi, the trailer can be seen above, and the expectations that the trailer leaves you with…well, I have no idea what to do with those, because they weren’t expected to come up.
Maybe I’m the odd man out, here. This is a decent trailer, isn’t it? All the fighting and flipping around certainly seem a lot more exciting than whatever Reeves is talking about in the voiceover. Oh, he was talking about the plot? Dammit. The trailer threw me off by initially showing him sitting with his back to the camera, which is bizarrely similar to a moment or two in The Matrix.
Thankfully, Man of Tai Chi’s other Matrix connections are largely successful, including the use of fight choreographer Yuen Woo-ping and Reeves’ martial arts trainer Tiger Hu Chen. Since the film’s fighting locations look to be limited to rooms and stages, more attention seems to have gone into the fights themselves, rather than how to incorporate an entire area into the battle. It’s like an Asian update of Bloodsport.
It does indeed involve a tournament to the death, and Reeves plays Hu Chen, a villain who is forced to enter the battles. Iko Uwais will play a young warrior who also gets roped into things. Expect him to fight Reeves in the end. And hopefully it will be a lot more satisfying than the end of this trailer, which features Reeves giving his worst William Shatner: “Let…the show…begin.”
Man of Tai Chi doesn’t have any release dates set for either side of the planet, but you’ll still be able to see Keanu Reeves kicking someone’s ass in Carl Rinsch’s 47 Ronin when it releases on Christmas Day.