The Myth (2005)

Posted in Reviews by - January 04, 2015
The Myth (2005)

Jackie Chan (playing a character imaginatively called ‘Jack’) wakes up in his oil-rig house after a recurring dream in which he is an Imperial bodyguard for Emperor Qin, protecting the Royal Princess (Kim Hee-seon) against separatist fighters. Jack, a kung fu archaeologist with a slight cinematic resemblance to Indiana Jones, travels to India with his buddy William (Tony Leung) to investigate the source of a special gemstone with magical levitation properties. William takes off with the rock and Jack narrowly escapes a stoning from the village folk, waking up in a Bollywood scene and discussing his dreams with an ancient mystic who tells him to channel the energies from his previous life.

Essentially we have two films here, and one is a lot better than the other. Clearly uncomfortable with casting Jackie Chan in a straight wuxia role – similar to a character found in Zhang Yimou’s films – the producers settle for a nonsensical film-within-a-film concept which struggles to make sense in an overcrowded premise. In an attempt to appease Jackie’s global fan base, there is a random section in India with Bollywood actress Mallika Sherawat followed by a laborious fantasy element which conjures up disturbing memories from Chan’s most lacklustre American films. These grisly elements distract from the wuxia scenes, which are the best parts of the film and act as a welcomed respite, even if they feel crow-barred into the narrative. Chan cuts a demanding figure in a period setting and it is refreshing to see him in the sort of role usually reserved for more serious actors like Chow Yun-fat and Jet Li. There are also a couple of funny action scenes: one inside an Indian temple and another at a glue factory.

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