Does Man of Tai Chi cover up the real message with the usual plot elements of a martial arts film?

Man_of_Tai_ChiI recently viewed the new film, Man of Tai Chi directed by Keanu Reeves, who also stars along with Tiger Chen. Critics rated it poorly and it went to Netflix very soon after release. Not much play in theatres in the US anyway. I don’t know about Hong Kong or China. I imagine it is a popular movie there. The fight scenes are so uniquely choreographed that any martial art enthusiast should enjoy the film just for techniques. Yes, they use the blue screen and invisible ropes and pullies, but even that is done pretty well.

The predictable usual plot, of course, is not what drama-oriented viewers will rave about. The protagonist starts out honorable, goes against his honorable teacher’s warnings, so the bad guys entice him into bad ways, but for a good cause. He meets the enemy and it looks like he’s going to lose, but he returns to the honorable way at the last minute, beats the bad guys, and gets the girl in the end. Whew.

But that’s not what the film is about. The film is about the fight scenes. It’s also about the notion of the deep significance of the taiji principle of humbleness. What? You’re kidding! Well, to a degree anyway, which keeps the faith to taiji cosmological principle. Not in the sense of Christian piety, but in true release of the self in order to flow with the source of all things in your movement through space and time. Of course the film does not go into such esoteric detail but it’s still included in the film, The film of course is marketed to the masses and in these times of trite mass appeal, even a little superficial attention to the lasting principles of mind awareness and internal equilibrium have some value. I recommend readers watch it and reply with your thoughts. I would love to hear them.


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