With both a domestic and international trailer for martial arts flick Man of Tai Chi – Keanu Reeves’ upcoming directorial debut – already online, a third one doesn’t seem like much of a necessity. And yet here it is, the film’s tertiary teaser, which popped up on the web yesterday. Truth be told, the clip doesn’t differ all that much from its predecessors; the focus here, as with the other two, is on Man of Tai Chi‘s veritable smorgasbord of fight scenes, and maybe that’s the only quality that Reeves needs to showcase to sell audiences on his picture. (Though the distinct lack of Iko Uwais is noted.)
But there’s one detail expanded on here, and that’s the teacher/student relationship between the film’s hero, Tiger (Matrix stunt performer Tiger Chen), and his master. That’s clearly meant to serve as an honorable, disciplined counterpoint to the world of greed and corruption Tiger exposes himself to when he accepts a lucrative offer from Donaka Mark (Reeves) to participate in good old-fashioned underground MMA bloodsport; while there isn’t a huge amount of footage dedicated to this plot point, its inclusion nonetheless impacts the trailer’s tone.
Which is to say that all discussions of Tiger’s responsibility as the titular man of Tai Chi aside, Reeves’ film is still clearly all about highly-choreographed sequences of people punching, kicking, leaping, and spinning at each other. This doesn’t look like a narrative that cares much about exploring the human condition; it’s designed to show off what looks like some really solid martial arts action, something that the first official poster for the production emphasizes as well. Have a look at the image below:
Perhaps not the most flattering one-sheet – it certainly belies the fact that Man of Tai Chi does look like the real deal in terms of its volume of fight scenes – but it gets the message across. More importantly, the movie actually has a release date now; while it’s running the festival circuit at present, and will screen at Fantastic Fest and TIFF, Man of Tai Chi will be on iTunes on September 27th, and hits theaters November 1st.
That’s good news for fans feeling the anticipation for this one, though whether it’ll end up being an unintentional comedy or a worthy entry in martial arts canon remains to be seen. Expect early reviews to start creeping in this month and confirming one way or the other.
Man of Tai Chi hits iTunes on September 27th, and arrives in US theaters November 1st.