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The Forbidden Kingdom Review Critics


Dave White Profile

… kind of like Baby's first kung fu. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 25

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly

    This kingdom really should be forbidden.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    Will please its core audience but won't enthrall anyone over the age of 16. (Even that might be stretching the point.)

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    For martial arts action fans, The Forbidden Kingdom may be the best fantasy story since the genre was opened to a wider audience by "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."

    Read Full Review

  • See all The Forbidden Kingdom reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 12+

Mostly bloodless Chan/Li martial arts adventure.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, despite its seemingly endless parade of bone-crunching kung-fu battles, this Jet Li/Jackie Chan martial arts action movie is actually pretty tame. Since there's more focus on the artistry of fighting than on its gory aftermath, there's very little blood (despite the presence of knives and swords). Plus, the basic story -- in helping others, a young man discovers his own strength and will -- is pretty warm and fuzzy. There's minimal swearing and basically no sexual content; Chan's character drinks, but it's presented as a weakness. One warning: Younger viewers may need to be warned not to try the kung-fu moves at home.

  • Families can talk about how the movie depicts martial arts battles vs. other fights. What's the difference between martial arts and "regular" fighting? What makes the former an actual "art"? What message is the movie sending by presenting the martial arts sequences beautifully and casting the present-day brawls in an ugly light? Are some forms of combat more acceptable than others? Families can also discuss Jason's choices in the movie. In the end, does he redeem himself?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Overall, the movie is a classic good vs. evil scenario, with good triumphing in the end. And the main character learns important things about himself through helping others. Still, Jason's choices do lead to an old man getting shot, Li Yan appears unable to get by without drinking, a young woman is hell-bent on revenge, and a warlord and his henchwoman will stop at nothing to get what they crave.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: Fight scenes make up the bulk of the movie, but they're beautifully choreographed and largely bloodless. That said, there are plenty of disconcerting sounds, such as bones breaking and joints crunching. Swords and arrows are repeatedly brandished, and some characters perish. A group of thugs beats up Jason and shoots an elderly man -- an incident that's far more disturbing than the martial arts fights, which appear more like a ballet than a violent skirmish.

  • sex false0

    Sex: A martial-arts fighter crashes through what appears to be a brothel, though the women are fully clothed; later, a villain ogles a woman as if she were an item he was considering purchasing.

  • language false0

    Language: Fairly tame, though "s--t" is said a couple of times. Other words include "damn," "hell," "pissant" and "bitch."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not much of an issue, except for several mentions of Bruce Lee film titles.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: One adult character can only thrive when he drinks.