It’s not a good movie, but it is a lot of fun. It’s a fantasy with three things going for it: it does not take itself too seriously, it does take the action scenes seriously, and it includes both of the most popular martial arts movie stars working today, Jackie Chan and Jet Li.
Michael Angarano plays Jason, a generic loner-teen role that does not give him a chance to show off the impeccable comic timing he displayed as Elliot in “Will and Grace.” He seems to spend most of his time hanging out in Chinatown, renting kung fu movies and talking to Old Hop the ancient proprietor of the pawnshop (Jackie Chan under old-age make-up). When some bullies attack them, Hop hands Jason the mysterious staff and asks him to return it to its rightful owner. And Jason wakes up in ancient China. He quickly figures out how to understand Chinese, and meets up with Lu Yan, a tipsy immortal (Chan, in a nod to his early “Drunken Master” hits). They embark on a journey to return the staff to its owner, the Monkey King (Jet Li), who has been turned into a statue by the evil Jade Warlord. And they are joined by Golden Sparrow (Liu Yifei), who plans to kill the Jade Warlord to avenge the death of her parents, and Silent Monk (Li again), who first has to fight Lu Yan just because that is why we all bought tickets. “We can kill each other when it’s over,” they agree, deciding to work together to help Jason return the staff to the Monkey King.