Keanu Reeves makes his directorial debut with this spectacular martial-arts epic starring former Matrix stuntman Tiger Chen and featuring fight choreography by the legendary Yuen Woo-ping.

Special Presentations

Man of Tai Chi

Keanu Reeves

A bone-crunching, high-flying, supercharged saga of self-realization through martial arts, Man of Tai Chi follows a quiet delivery man recruited to take part in illegal, no-holds-barred fights, where financial rewards can be dizzyingly high — often at the cost of one's soul. The directorial debut of iconic actor Keanu Reeves speaks to his rigour, sensitivity to process, and willingness to learn from the many great filmmakers with whom he's collaborated.

Linhu (Tiger Chen) lives in a Beijing tenement block. When not working, he studies English and practices a form of tai chi called Ling Kong, which means "Empty your spirit." Everything changes when Linhu receives an offer from a mysterious businessman, Donaka Mark (Reeves), to compete in an underground fight club.

Initially Linhu turns Donaka down, until he realizes how his earnings could rescue his tai chi master's dilapidated temple from being demolished. But success as a fighter — fuelled by his deeply traditional, disciplined mode of martial art — brings out a savage side in Linhu. The film's real battle becomes an internal one, between Linhu's pacifist principles and his violent impulses.

It's hard to imagine a better vehicle for Reeves' directorial ambitions. As his screen persona shifted from awestruck youth to action hero, an undercurrent of spiritual searching evolved. This was nowhere more apparent than in The Matrix, which was as much a parable about struggling with age-old existential questions as it was a mind-blowing science-fiction spectacle. The Matrix was also where Reeves met legendary fight choreographer Yuen Wooping and stuntman-turned-star Chen. Man of Tai Chi reunites these three, showcasing their established skills while posing each with considerable challenges. See this dazzling and thoughtful film, and you will understand just how brilliantly those challenges have been met.

Cameron Bailey

Screenings

Mon Sep 09

Scotiabank 1

Industry
1:45pm
Tue Sep 10

Ryerson Theatre

Regular
9:00pm
Wed Sep 11

Scotiabank 12

Regular
5:00pm