I haven't seen a movie this hilarious in a long while. Every single joke and gag was absolutely spot. On. A lot of the funny moments to me, if not all (which takes up almost the entire film), feel incredibly fresh and extremely creative. So much so, that they all bring extra layers to the writing and character development, and fleshes out everything I need to know and so much more about these characters up to the point where I've been hit with left hooks during it's entire runtime. For setting up a fast-paced action movie, this decision is excellent and sheer genius. On top of that, there was not one scene that felt like it went on too long for me. It was just, exactly right. This movie just flowed like butter and no part of my satisfaction was left empty. The pacing was so good, it was actually pretty overwhelming to take in this first, or even presumably but very likely, eventual subsequent viewings. So yeah, I think it's execution is absolute perfection. Totally something that all excellent action movies should achieve in order to qualify as, you know, excellent.
Yeah, this movie may have a villain that's usually cliche at this point, but it's fleshed it out in a way where I didn't find it redundant or boring at all. There wasn't even that much focus on the villain until the very last act of the film anyway so it didn't bother me all that much. Besides, I don't mind corporate douchebags showing up in any movie, as long as it's purposeful to the any of the themes and is executed well.
Another thing that exceeded my expectations was how intelligent it was with it's concepts. I noticed that a lot of typical action movies made past and present follow the cheesy trope of using their 'substance' as a gimmicky excuse for a punchline that studios think would stick with audiences, which eventually got adopted by and become responsible for every single modern mainstream throwaway horror flicks you know today. Look at The Bye Bye Man for example. This movie is surprisingly a very insightful look at human spirituality and Buddhist ideologies. It's great dialogues proves it, and all the performances being on point sold me successfully. The film's own 'Chakra' concept just made so much sense figuratively and it made me laugh my ass off because it was just portrayed in such a fun way. It's just so funny because it's so true. It also makes so much sense to have a love interest as the fuel for the plot and not just for hot sex scene #69420, and I do not want to spoil anything, but I found it heartfelt. Very heartfelt.
The cinematography is surprisingly fantastic. There's a lot of noticeable green/blue screens in this movie, but the cinematography, editing and fight choreography totally makes for it, by a long shot. There's one amazing shot where the main protagonist's love interest, Bao'er, goes back inside from the pool after swimming, and her cousin creeped up right behind her and the scenes showing her cousin, who is at a completely dark area is only lit up by random occurrences of thunder. All of the music in the film were played immaculately in all scenes with it and it absolutely complemented the tones.
Overall, I was extremely impressed with this film. Honest to God, I think this may be the best literature on Buddhism and martial arts culture ever made (if you don't count boxing). It just works so well as a parody film and a piece of cinema at the same time. It's both a satire and true worship of kung fu. Man... what an exhilarating experience.