18 September 2013 | vchimpanzee
Pleasant enough with good fights but kind of violent
In China, Shaolin monks are shown training to fight. Everything is blue. I'm not quite sure what is going on.
Li Long finds himself in New York City, quite confused. We soon learn his brother and sister-in-law were killed and their son Michael needs someone to take care of him.
Social worker Sarah, who is attractive and really nice, has been staying with Michael at his large suburban New Jersey home. But she will have to leave. Li Long doesn't seem quite up to the task, but he is willing to try. Sarah will stay longer because Li Long is not ready, but her bosses won't let her stay indefinitely, even though Michael would really like that.
Li Long seems incompetent in this modern world, leading to some comedy, and he will need to make a living. He meets Dave, a former student, and they decide to start a martial arts school. When the two meet in a restaurant, some bad guys are harassing beautiful waitress Mei and the other staff. Dave confronts them and gets beat up. The otherwise peaceful Li Long can't just let this go, and the bad guys soon learn what he is capable of.
At home, Li Long encounters more bad guys running from the cops. I'll bet they wish they had never come this way. Cusamano is impressed and asks Li Long to teach the other cops a thing or two. One particularly disagreeable cop gets taught a lesson.
Li Long seems very capable as a teacher, and his students, including the restaurant staff, appear to be learning a lot. But the school is losing money. Dave has to deal with mobsters, and they want Li Long to participate in organized fighting. Li Long refuses, but mobsters have a way of getting what they want.
Meanwhile, Sarah has a choice to make: Michael or her job.
And all this time there are flashbacks of Li Long's life in China, including scenes that are supposedly with his brother. One saves the other from danger. More recent scenes are mostly blue and make no sense to me. But the quality of acting is higher than in the United States.
So how will it all turn out? I'll bet you already know.
The fighting is excellent, and probably the main reason to watch. There is, however, some unnecessary blood, and some innocent people get seriously hurt or killed. I should mention that I saw the acclaimed "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" the day before I saw this, but I enjoyed this movie more.
Peng Zhang Li has a pleasant personality but shows little emotion unless he is fighting. As a teacher he is very serious but kind. You have to see the outtakes, though. There he smiles a lot and even laughs. Everyone seemed to be enjoying making this movie.
Kristen Dougherty is so sweet and attractive, I'd like to see more of her and was pleased she had a large role. That's not to say she's a talented actress, but she would make a good office worker. She and her co-star had one of my favorite bloopers at the end.
Michael seemed kind of spoiled but was pleasant enough. His scenes with his uncle entertained.
Cusamano is an acquired taste. He's not automatically likable.
If you like martial arts fights, this is pretty good. If you like relationships too, this movie has that. There are better movies for both.