Kung Fu Yoga
Run Time:110 mins
Cast:Jackie ChanSonu SoodAmyra DasturDisha Patani and Aarif Lee Rahman
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You need to take several deep breaths before you begin to enjoy Jackie Chan’s Kung Fu Yoga.
The opening scenes of director Stanley Tong’s comic adventure begins with an animated ancient war being fought by a herd of annoying computer-generated trumpeting elephants and valiant warriors led by Wang Xuance (Jackie Chan) from Tang dynasty.
He’s on a mission from China to help the Indian kingdom of Magadha from the evil general Arunasva. It isn’t gripping. So just inhale and let those cartoonish moments pass, because the contemporary portions featuring Chan as an unassuming archaeologist Jack can win any cynic over. Such is the legendary charm of Chan. His bumbling humble act is an instant mood-changer.
A confession here: this journalist is a Chan virgin and this splashy Indian-Chinese concoction that was filmed extensively in Dubai and India, was her first attempt at understanding this legendary superstar’s appeal and perennial sheen. Her take away: Chan is what you get on a petridish if you combine the collective star appeals of Indian actors Rajnikanth and the roguish Salman Khan.
Plus, Chan’s still got it. But you also got the strange feeling that his agile stunts and dexterous moves had seen better days.
The story kicks off in earnest when an alluring professor Ashmita, played by a rather wooden Disha Patani, enlists Chan’s support to locate a treasure keeps you mildly entertained. But it’s the parts set in Dubai with its high-octane stunts and crazy car chase sequences that make you sit up.
The number of souped-up, snazzy cars that are destroyed in those action sequences is mind-boggling and the portions in which Chan finds himself in a vehicle with a lion for company evoke laughter.
Some may argue that it’s a cliched and exotic representation of the local residents’ and their fascination with keeping wild animals as pets here, but Rajasthan in India isn’t spared either. In Tong’s world, India is that land of gold-laced palaces, shabby snake charmers and yogis who float mid-air.
It’s all a bit cheesy, but there’s some pleasure to be had from Chan’s comic antics and adventures. The scenes in which the blustering professor tries to woo and impress Ashmita is pure comic gold and his martial arts sparring with treasure hunter Jones, played by Aarif Lee Rahman, is thoroughly entertaining. The young Rahman provides a good foil to Chan’s act.
Bollywood actor Sonu Sood, who plays the evil and greedy descendant of general Arunasva, is dapper with his snug, impeccably-tailored suits. But dialogues such as, “I am the law and I am the government here”, while trying to polish off his detractors in an icy cave, lets him down.
But they saved the best for the last. This could be your chance to see Chan in an Indian tunic shake a leg to a Bollywood song. It’s one of those feel-good moments befitting a comic caper that’s a mix of action, Bollywood and exoticism.