Tai Chi Zero is apparently the second part of a trilogy, and was supposed to be the next big thing in martial arts movies with the addition of the steampunk genre.
As of this writing, I have not watched the first in the series but I don’t believe that it should be necessary. Every movie should be able to stand on its own merits, and sequels should be able to stand alone as well as amplify the original plot line. There may be a third in the series, according to wikipedia.
The trailer for this movie was exceptionally well done, and everyone I knew wanted to watch it. The movie, on the other hand, fell short. Although it was generally well received because it is a visual spectacle with video game-esque and anime themed effects, the story and pacing felt rushed. Additionally, the fight scenes were not to the calibre that I have come to expect from Sammo Hung, which is the most disappointing part of this movie in my opinion. As I could not place some of the actors, I cannot speak to the quality of their performances beyond that some of the characters were unfortunately less than three dimensional and not very well rounded or portrayed.
Overall, I was rather disappointed with this movie, besides the visual effects – it is great eye candy.