Film and TV

Kung Fu Goes Steampunk in Tai Chi Zero

It's one of the strangest films I've ever seen, but Tai Chi Zero is also without a doubt one of the absolute best. Director Stephen Fung and action master Sammo Hung give us the story of Lu Chan Yang (Yuan Xiaochao), a kung fu prodigy from birth who is slowly being killed by the art he practices. Desperate to save his life and wanting to fulfill the dying wishes of his mother, Lu Chan makes his way to the remote Chen Village to learn a new style that will re-alter his energy flow and keep his own power from destroying him.

The pacing of the flick is beyond odd. The pre-title sequence alone takes 15 minutes as Lu Chan's past is replayed in silent film style. Fung mixes humor and tragedy masterfully by first having Lu Chan as a baby fired from the birth canal like a bullet through multiple walls, but within minutes shows the young boy mourning his mother who was beaten to death by his father for stealing.

With nary a breath, Lu Chan is the secret weapon of an army, able to defeat whole platoons bare-handed. This causes him to faint, and the army doctor (Played by Leung Siu-Lung of Kung Fu Hustle fame) tells him of the Chen style he briefly studied that can cure him. An attack leaves the army dead, and Lu Chan searches for the village.

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner