Coming to us from iTunes Movie Trailers, this is the most coherent and fleshed out trailer we've seen yet for Man of Tai Chi, the martial arts-infused directorial debut from Keanu Reeves. Screenwriter Michael G. Cooney is best known for having written video games like Resident Evil 6 and Lost Planet 2, and the movie indeed looks like a cinematic version of fighting game. It's kind of like a novelization of a movie, only with Reeves saying things like, “Finish him!” and “We have a contender.”
I can easily forgive a half-baked plot if the film’s main attraction, the fight scenes, are on par with those seen in other films starring actors Tiger Hu Chen, Simon Yam and Iko Uwais. Chen was part of the stunt team behind The Matrix trilogy and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon; Yam starred in the action-packed Ip Man from 2008; and Uwais was in last year’s The Raid: Redemption. The last title in that list, directed by Gareth Evans, featured a simple plot heightened by amazing choreography, and it seems to have the most in common with Man of Tai Chi, which seems to be just as straightforward in its storytelling. I'm glad the trailer focuses on the story like the last trailer did, avoiding the non-mysteriousness of the teaser trailer.
Speaking of straightforward, now is a good time as any to bring up the film’s new poster, which is the result of someone’s imagination just giving up for a while. If the above trailer truly is a proper representation of the film as a whole, I want Reeves’ villain character to be seen as little as possible - and this poster just puts him right on top, in both fighting stance and in name.
I will also add that I'm liking the look of Reeves' directing style. I’m perfectly comfortable with him utilizing limited spaces to capture intense, high-flying battle scenes, and I don’t think I ever need to see what a Keanu Reeves-directed car chase scene looks like.
As Donaka Mark, Reeves seems dead set on corrupting the virtuous nature of Tiger (Chen), a Tai Chi master, by talking him into raising up in the ranks of an underground fight club. Kill or be killed is the law of the land. We’ll see who makes it out alive when the film hits VOD on September 27th, and goes nationwide in U.S. theaters on November 1st.