The Forbidden Kingdom, packing the one-two punch of Jackie Chan and Jet Li, is "great fun," David Edelstein writes in New York, once the martial-arts flick gets past "the clunky prologue." Other critics are a little more reserved in praising the film, about a modern-day teenager who's magically transported to ancient China and swept up in adventure.
"The plot is negligible," Marc Savlov writes in the Austin Chronicle, "but that's fine since it's really only a way to get from one set-piece to another." As for the special effects, they're "effective, though not terribly special," observes Steven Rea of the Philadelphia Inquirer. He adds that while director Rob Minkoff "pays homage to past masters of the genre, the past masters were better at this game than he."