Man of Tai Chi features the directorial debut of Keanu Reeves in an American-Chinese film revolving around a kind of lethal fight club. Reeves also plays the baddie and can a Bond villain be his next future turn?
Reeves recruits martial arts fighters for his illegal Hong Kong club. The thing is when they tire of the sport, and they soon do, he kills them himself. “You owe me a life.” The newest fighter Tiger Chen (Chen Lin-Hu) has a quiet life working for a delivery company, competing in Tai Chi competitions and studying with his wise master. But the money turns out to be the corrupting factor and Tiger finds himself unable to quit without severe consequences.
There’s also a police detective hot on the trail of Reeves who never seems to get enough evidence for an arrest. Man of Tai Chi moves in a predictable way and is certainly a worthy entry in the martial arts genre. Viewers looking for anything else may be puzzled. The film ends as one would expect, Tiger and Reeves going mano-a-mano.
- Michael Bergeron