TIFF 2012: ‘Tai Chi 0’; or Scott Pilgrim Vs. The West
Tai Chi 0
Directed by Stephen Fung
Written by Kuo-fu Chen, Cheng Hsiao-tse and Zhang Jialu
If you find yourself at the cinema, and you happen to have a fistful of quarters, then, by all means, go and see a discount matinee of Stephen Fung’s Tai Chi 0. But if for whatever reason you can’t, if the nickelodeon is inexplicably full, the tickets sold out, or if you’re just tired of watching yet another Chinese kung fu extravaganza, then take your quarters to the theatre arcade. Deposit the necessary amount of credits into the machine, and treat yourself to an action-packed game of Street Fighter. You won’t miss a thing.
However, if you do decide to see the movie, for one reason or another, you’ll be thrust into the life of Yang Luchuan (played by Yuan Xiaochao, a martial arts gold medalist at the 2006 Asian Games). We pick up his story amidst an all-out war, with Yang singlehandedly dismantling the opposition. Punches land, bodies fly; Yang seems to be unstoppable, superhuman even.
In the middle of the frenetic fisticuff, we are treated to a flashback sequence, were we see how, as a child, Yang was born with a fleshy abnormality on his forehead. He’s ridiculed for his deformity, but Yang soon discovers that his temporal growth gives him special powers; powers that give him exceptional fighting ability, but also threaten to slowly drain away his life force (PS3 owners will immediately find a parallel to the game Heavenly Sword).