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Laramie Movie Scope:
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Kung fu, Marvel and magic

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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September 26, 2021 – This superhero movie is another example of the strong storytelling skills exhibited by Marvel Studios productions. In this case, the director, Destin Daniel Cretton (“Just Mercy” and “Short Term 12”) has experience with character-driven dramas, and that comes across in this film.

Action films often skimp on character development in favor fight scenes, but that is not the case here, in fact, character development is not overlooked in most Marvel action films.

In this film, the main character is Shang-Chi (also called Shaun, played by Canadian actor Simu Liu) a man with a complicated background, who seems to be trying to escape his past. His past, however, has other plans, and he is hunted down by those seeking a magical talisman he carries.

Along with the well-choreographed fight scenes, Shang-Chi's past, and his family's past, are explored in flashbacks as Shang Chi travels the globe seeking answers. His journeys lead him to a kind of fight club in Asia, and a secret mountain fortress.

The magical object Shang-Chi carries is key to finding Ta Lo, a hidden magical kingdom sought by Shang-Chi's evil father, Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung of “The Grandmaster”). Xu Wenwu is an immortal, and head of the secretive, all-powerful Ten Rings criminal organization. His late wife had lived in Ta Lo, and he wants to find Ta Lo, and her, again. The magical talisman carried by Shang-Chi was given to him by his mother.

Along for the ride in this magical adventure is ample comic relief in the persons of ditsy Katy (Awkwafina of “Crazy Rich Asians”) and Marvel holdover Trevor Slattery (Ben Kingsley, reprising the same named character last seen in “Iron Man 3”). Slattery, a funny, outrageous character in “Iron Man 3” is fleshed out a lot more in this film. Although Katy does provide a lot of comic relief, it turns out she has talent as an archer, becoming the Hawkeye of the group.

After many adventures and lots of martial arts-type fight scenes, the story winds its way to Ta Lo, and a kind of door-to-hell portal that the people of Ta Lo are trying to protect from guys like Xu Wenwu. There is a giant battle, featuring magical creatures, between those trying to open the portal, and those trying to keep it closed.

This story is all about Shang-Chi's personal journey and his need to accept his destiny as the next master of the 10 rings and defender of Ta Lo. Post credits scenes involve the future of the Ten Rings organization, the connection between the 10 rings and the magical world of Doctor Strange, and Karaoke. As is the case with most marvel films, this one is quite entertaining. It rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff (no extra charges apply). I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2021 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)

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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at dalek three zero one nine at gmail dot com [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]