There is no word better than lazy to accurately describe Jackie Chan‘s new film ‘Kung Fu Yoga’ in which the Hong Kong action star plays an Indiana Jones like figure, on a quest to unearth buried treasure from an ancient Indian kingdom. From fire-eaters and exotic magicians who perform rope tricks to multiple cameos by snakes and modern day princesses in Maganlal Dresswala costumes, the movie shamelessly panders to all manner of stereotypes.
Yet none of this hurt as bad as the realization that now sixty-two year old marshal art legend may no longer up to the giddy death defying stunts that were the hallmark of his earlier films. Barring a few scenario that rely on his trademark slapstick humour and nifty acrobatics, Jackie Chan leaves most of the physical exertion to his younger co-stars, motley mixed of Asian and Indian actors who sadly has none of his charisma.
Memorable but only for its sheer silliness is a scene in which he speeds his way through the crowded streets of Dubai while attempting to pacify an angry lion in the backseat. Sonu Sood who sports a multitude of goddy jackets with only one expression is the villain of the peace and Disha Patani and Amira Dastur are pretty but vapid leading ladies. There is some fun to be had when the gang let’s their fancy fight moves do the talking i which they are trapped with pack of hungry hyenas. Directed by Stanley Tong, who helmed some of most Chang’s popular hits including Super Cop and Rumble In The Bronx, this film has unmistakeable calculated feel to it as if scripted and designed specifically to expand the star’s Indian fan base.
From throwing in much mythological mumbo-jumbo to blatent Hinduism references, the makers of this flick can be accused of many things but subtlety is not one of them. Sadly for us Jackie Chan for himself whose winning cocktail for go for broke physical comedy and life-risking stunt work turned him from a local Chinese star into a beloved Hollywood action hero appears to be in auto-pilot mode here. His once impeccable timing is no longer split second, and gone is that scrappy underdog charm that endeared him to the fans. The only time viewer’s had a good laugh was when they saw watching his expressions fly as he sportingly shook a leg in the big Bollywood like dance number in the end. Kung Fu Yoga is the disappointment for Jackie Chan’s fans. The actor deserves better and so do we.