2008 kung-fu movie with a girl

Rating: 14/20

Plot: The mob boss isn't happy when two of his employees hook up. He separates them. The woman gives birth to the guy's baby, an autistic girl named Zen. Then, the mother gets cancer, and with no way to pay for treatments, finds herself in a pickle. Zen and her little fat buddy find a little black book with the names of a bunch of people who owe her mother money, and together, they go to those people to see about collecting. Zen has to kick a few in the head to get them to cooperate.

Full disclosure: I came very close to taking this out of the dvd player after the first ten or fifteen minutes. I like my kung-fu a little tongue-in-cheek, and this one, probably because of that oh-so-serious deep-voiced dubbing you get in a lot of these, just seemed to be the type of movie that was going to take itself way too seriously. But then I noticed that one of the female character's voices was dubbed by a man, and I was entertained by that. An autistic protagonist, although annoying at times, was also interesting, and there's a fat kid in the movie, too. Fat kids always lighten things up. Oh, and the fat kid, after noticing how quick Zen's reflexes are, develops this trick where he throws things at her for her to catch and it reminded me of Awakenings, one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. So I kept watching. I'm really glad I stuck with this one because although I never cared much about the characters or what was going on with them, I really enjoyed the fight scenes. This gal Jeeja Yanin's got some serious kicks. Her character learns kung-fu from watching movies, so she imitates different kung-fu legends in the fight sequences. There's a bit of Bruce Lee's birdy chirps in her first big fight scene, and some Chan-esque acrobatics and prop use in a scene that takes place in a factory. If you like seeing people getting kicked in the head, there's plenty of it in this. It all builds to a ludicrous fight scene on multiple floors of the outside of a building. It's great stuff, and I'm surprised to learn that wires and/or special effects weren't used. It definitely looks dangerous enough, and the credits reveal (painfully) that there were quite a few injuries during the shooting of this. In Jackie Chan's movies, you get the bloopers during the credits where somebody accidentally kicks Jackie in the side of the head and he rubs it and they all share a good laugh because they remember that Jackie Chan is actually made from rubber and can't be injured. In this, somebody will get kicked in the head and then crack the other side of their head on a wall or something and you think, "Wow. That guy probably just died." It's an exciting martial arts flick if that's what you're looking for. It's not without its problems, however. Jeeja Yanin can't act as well as she can beat up men, the main character's "kryptonite" is kind of stupid, that aforementioned dubbing is no good, and the techno music gives it that nauseatingly modern feel.

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