Growing up, I always wanted to be a martial artist after seeing Bruce Lee do his thing in several movies.
Then, it was Jackie Chan that caught my eye with his groundbreaking stunts.
Now, I can say Simu Lu, the actor behind the eponymous hero Shang-Chi in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” is approaching the level of the two actors I mentioned.
I can appreciate a good fight scene and there is something about martial arts-style fighting that enamors me. The choreography of fight scenes throughout the film and especially in the first half, had me practicing my Kung-Fu moves after the movie ended.
A lot of action films can be over the top with their action scenes and the first half of “Shang-Chi” is a callback to martial arts films of old.
I would also take the time to learn how to pronounce Shang-Chi; it is quite simple and there is a whole segment of the film dedicated to it. Names are important, spelling and saying them correctly is just a respectful thing to do.
Another thing that is remarkable about this film is that I would equate it with the impact that “Black Panther” had on culture and having inclusive representation of film.
Growing up as a white male, I had plenty of characters I could point at and say, “I look like this person.”
I imagine it must be exciting to finally have Asian culture in the mainstream more and more. This film represents Asian culture in a respectful manner and in some parts pokes fun at Marvel Studios’ choices in the past.
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” tells the story of Shang-Chi (Lu), a master of unarmed weaponry-based Kung Fu, being forced to confront his past after being drawn into the Ten Rings organization led by his father Xu Wenwu (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung.)
While this is for sure a superhero movie, I honestly was more intrigued by the familial aspects of the film. The family dynamics explored throughout the movie bring a breath of fresh air to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Leung does an an excellent job of portraying a complicated father figure that at his core loves his family; albeit he does train his son to be a master assassin.
The film goes a tad off the rails in the latter half of the movie, when it goes full superhero. While I did not hate the second half, it did break my immersion a bit when the film goes from a martial art movie to out of this world opposition.
I understand that Marvel must set up Shang-Chi as someone that can stand with fellow Avengers characters so I will it ding the movie too much for the second half.
The movie is visually stunning as well, and I was lost in the scenery so much that I have already likely seen the movie for a second time by the time you are reading this review.
I fully encourage the community to support this movie as it is great film and breaks ground for representation.
I review movies on a scale of one bucket of popcorn to five buckets of popcorn.
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” earns a rare 4.5 out of five buckets of popcorn for being a good introduction to a character that leaves potential for further growth in sequels.
This movie’s fight scenes are worth the price of admission alone.