I hate to say it, but when you see any modern martial arts type of movie you have pretty much seen them all. The new Marvel film “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is no exception. It features a story that mirrors hundreds of other, better-produced pictures leaving no originality for the audience to enjoy.
The film is based on the Shang-Chi comic books published by Marvel. The story centers on Shaun (Simu Liu), who is later known as Shang-Chi. Shaun is living a carefree life in San Francisco working with his friend Katy (Awkwafina) as a parking valet at a hotel. His life is then thrust into the spotlight as he and Katy are traveling on a city bus on their way to work. Several thugs start to attack Shaun, who must defend himself.
This fight reveals that Shaun is an expert in martial arts. The thugs end up stealing a pendant given to him by his mother. He tells Katy he must return home to China to warn his sister of the danger. He fears she might be the next target due to her owning the matching pendant. The journey home reveals more to Shaun about his family, himself – and what the future holds in store.
The trailer of “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” shows a story that seems to stand on its own from other Marvel films while creating something truly unique in the process. However, this isn’t the case.
The first half of “Shang-Chi” has a good direction with an engaging story and some nicely choreographed fight scenes. These fights remind me a lot of Bruce Lee’s films and some of Jackie Chan’s movies like “Police Story,” “Operation Condor,” or “Rush Hour.”
The second half of the film is where “Shang-Chi” starts to decline and lose focus. Instead of focusing on the characters, the story, and showcasing the martial arts action, Marvel instead did the opposite. It decided to use a lot of computer-generated effects in the final battle sequence, which to me took away from the story.
The heart of the story in “Shang-Chi” was the healing of a broken family and how the relationship between a father and son had been lost. Ever since the “Avengers” series of movies came out, Marvel always uses some big dramatic computer-generated fight to wrap up its films. “Endgame” in 2019 was a great example of that.
With “Shang-Chi,” this over-the-top production was not needed at all. A simpler ending would have worked so much better instead of the long-drawn-out mess audiences were given.
With all these factors, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is largely a forgettable movie. Unlike other Marvel movies such as the first films of “Iron Man,” “Captain America,” and “Wonder Woman,” I won’t be revisiting this film any time soon. I give “Shang-Chi” seven out of 10 stars. The 132-minute movie is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action and language.
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” can be seen at ShowBiz Cinemas, located at 108 Broadhead Road in Waxahachie. Additional information about the film can be found at www.marvel.com/movies/shang-chi-and-the-legend-of-the-ten-rings.