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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

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SOUL SEARCH Xu Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) was trained to be a loyal assassin by his power-mad father, but in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings screening on Disney Plus, Shang-Chi must battle his powerful father before he destroys the world. - PHOTO COURTESY OF WALT DISNEY PICTURES AND MARVEL STUDIOS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Walt Disney Pictures And Marvel Studios
  • SOUL SEARCH Xu Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) was trained to be a loyal assassin by his power-mad father, but in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings screening on Disney Plus, Shang-Chi must battle his powerful father before he destroys the world.

What's it rated? PG-13

When? 2021

Where's it showing? Disney Plus

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Co-writer/director Destin Daniel Cretton (The Glass Castle, Just Mercy) helms this fantasy action-adventure that begins with the story of Xu Wenwu (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung), who a thousand years ago discovered the mystical 10 rings, which grant immortality and deadly powers to the one who possesses them. He creates an army that conquers all over the centuries, but when he hears about Ta Lo, a magically protected village filled with peaceful warriors and mythical beasts, he sets out to conquer it, only to be bested by its guardian, Ying Li (Fala Chen), with whom he falls in love, setting aside the 10 rings and his ambition to instead raise two children.

That's the backstory, but the real story is about mild-mannered Shaun (Shang-Chi's secret identity). He lives a quiet life working as a parking valet with his best friend Katy (the always funny Awkwafina), but one day riding the bus, he's attacked by a team of mercenaries, bringing out his fighting skills and sending him on an odyssey to reunite with his estranged sister and confront his father, Wenwu, who trained him to be an assassin before he ran away from home at 14, and who, after his wife is killed by his enemies, takes up the 10 rings and resumes his power-hungry ways.

There's amazing martial arts action and even more amazing CGI effects, including wild and wonderful creatures and beasts. It's about the best CGI I've witnessed. While the film acknowledges it's part of the Marvel Universe, to me it stands out and breaks free of the Marvel conventions. It's a soulful, wholly engaging story, and it's now available for free with your Disney Plus subscription. (in English and Mandarin; 132 min.) ∆

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