The producers of “Kung Fu Hustle” put no small amount of cash behind Stephen Fung’s manic Qing Dynasty martial-arts send-up, “Tai Chi 0,” (Tai Chi Zero) which, with its comic-book strokes and steampunk intimations amounts to a rousing, loud time that suits the largest screen possible. While the central character is Yang Luchan, who invented Tai Chi, “Tai Chi 0” is also about unsettled rivalries, unrelenting action scenes and, well, the arrival of the railroad. Along with the Western touches, the anything-for-an-eyeball kick visual palette—animation, silent movies, punching the fourth wall—suggests an Eastern sensibility to match “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.” On top of relentless visual sizzle, the cast is littered with well-known actors, choreographers and directors, putting “Tai Chi 0,” in its own way, in the lineage of all-star mash-and-crash-up “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World” (1963). With Angelababy, Eddie Peng, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Shu Qi, Feng Shaofeng. 95m. (Ray Pride)
“Tai Chi 0” opens Friday at 600 North Michigan and Century Evanston. The rousing Chinese trailer below does not undersell its amusing virtues.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.