A young man from Boston who wants to learn Kung fu has a fantasy trip to China where he meets his master teacher and frees the Monkey King. A young man from Boston who wants to learn Kung fu has a fantasy trip to China where he meets his master teacher and frees the Monkey King. Michael Angarano plays the lead character Jason Tripitikas who loves martial arts. He watches all the Kung fu movies and even dreams about being a great warrior. He goes to a small shop in Chinatown to buy the movies. It is run by an old Chinese man (played by Jackie Chan). A street gang forces Jason to knock on the door even though it is late and the shop is closed. The Chinese man thinks he is there to buy something since he is a good customer, so he allows them to enter. The street gang robs the shop. They shoot the old man. The old man hands a sacred staff to Jason, telling him to return it to its rightful owner. The gang chases Jason out into the street and up to the roof. Just before he is shot, the magic staff yanks Jason away. Jason falls and hits the pavement. When he wakes, he is no longer in Boston, but in a village in China. He is attacked for his staff. He is saved by Lu Yan (also played by Jackie Chan) who is drunk. Even though he is drunk, Lu Yan is also a master. All he wants to do is drink all the time, yet it does not affect his fighting skills. He drinks because it is the elixir, which gives him immortal life. Over drinks, Lu Yan tells Jason a story about the war between the Jade Warlord (played by Collin Chou) and the Monkey King (played by Jet Li). The Jade Warlord tricked the Monkey King. The Money King casts his staff away while fighting the Jade Warlord so it would not be captured. The Money King waits frozen in stone until his staff is returned. Lu Yan tells Jason his mission is to return the staff to the Monkey King.
Soldiers attack them. Lu Yan saves Jason again, this time using the staff as a weapon and showing Jason how to use it. A girl named Golden Sparrow (played by Yifei Liu) helps them escape into the forest. She is traveling to the Five Elements Mountain as well, which is where the Monkey King is located in the courtyard of the Jade Warlord's palace. She wants revenge for the death of her parents and all the villages the Jade Warlord destroyed. A monk on a white horse attacks Jason taking the staff away. Lu Yan fights the monk in a temple over the staff until he finds out Jason is the one from the prophecy who is destined to release the Monkey King. Then he joins them to help them. Lu Yan and the monk teach Jason Kung fu.
The Jade Warlord sends a white-haired woman (played by Bingbing Li) after them. They cross the desert, stop in a cave to wait out a windstorm. When the wind stops, they continue. They need water. The monk challenges Lu Yan to make rain. If he is immortal, he should be able to do this. While he attempts the incantation with his eyes closed, the monk gets on a rock above him, then urinates on his head. The monk sees the edge of the desert from his vantage point on the top of the rock. They soon are at a river. The white-haired woman finds them. She sends her army to attack them. She shoots Lu Yan in the back with an arrow while they try to escape. They take refuge in a monastery. Lu Yan is badly injured. Lu Yan tells Jason he did not pass the test to be immortal. Lu Yan needs an elixir of immortality or he will die. The only one with any elixir is the Jade Warlord. Jason goes to the gate of the Jade Palace alone. The Jade Army allows him to enter. Jason is led by the white-haired woman to the Jade Warlord. Jason offers to trade the staff for the elixir to save his friend. The white-haired woman claims the elixir was promised to her by the Jade Warlord. The Jade Warlord says the only way to decide who gets it, is a fight to the death between Jason and the white-haired woman. The white-haired woman defeats Jason. Just as they are about to chop Jason's head off, Jason's friends arrive and join the fight. Jason gets the elixir and gives it to Lu Yan, who they brought on a stretcher. Lu Yan drinks the elixir and immediately is totally revived. Lu Yan fights the white-haired woman, while the monk fights the Jade Warlord. Jason succeeds in breaking the Monkey King free. The monk turns into a single strand of golden hair, which floats up to the hand of the Monkey King. Lu Yan throws the white-haired woman off the edge of the balcony to fall to her death. The Monkey King fights with the Jade Warlord using his staff and all his magic.
Golden Sparrow throws the jade dart to kill the Jade Warlord but he reverses it on her and hits her with it instead. Jason takes it from her and stabs the Jade Warlord with the jade dart, which kills him. The Jade Warlord falls into the hellfire pit burning up. Jason tells Golden Sparrow, the Jade Warlord has been killed before she dies.
Jason tells his friends good-bye and is sent back home to Boston. He wakes up on the pavement where he fell from the roof. The gang comes down to attack him. He remembers his training from the dream. He defeats the gang leader. When the gang leader pulls a gun on him, Jason knocks him unconscious. The old Chinese man from the shop is still alive. He asks if Jason returned the staff to its rightful owner. Jason says yes he did. The old man says he will be all right because he is immortal. Jason smiles as they take the old man off in an ambulance. Jason sees a girl who looks exactly like Golden Sparrow. She compliments him on being very brave. She works at the shop across the street named the Golden Sparrow. Jason is seen practicing Kung fu on the roof of one of the buildings, continuing to improve his Kung fu skills.
Best part of story, including ending:
This is a fantasy story much like the Wizard of OZ, because the boy hits his head and has a crazy dream.
Best scene in story:
It is a very funny scene when the monk asks Lu Yan to make it rain, then climbs a rock to get above him to urinate on his head and Lu Yan, at first, actually thinks he made it rain.
Opinion about the main character:
I was happy Jason found the inner strength, at the end, to defeat the street gang and knock the bully out.