With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Friday, January 27, 2017

KUNG FU YOGA reviewed; opens in theaters today

Well Go USA
Directed by Stanley Tong
Starring Jackie Chan, Aarif Rahman, Lay Zhang, Sonu Sood,
Disha Patani, Amrya Dastur, and Eric Tsang
China/India, 2017

Kung Fu Yoga, an action/adventure comedy starring Jackie Chan, opens in several theaters across the U.S. today, Friday, January 27th and will open in more on February 3rd. (Click here for my post listing the cities and theaters.) The film reunites Jackie with acclaimed director Stanley Tong, who directed him in Supercop (1992),  Rumble in the Bronx (1995) and Police Story 4: First Strike (a.k.a. Jackie Chan's First Strike, 1996).

Nothin' like an archaeology prof who knows how to fight

The film opens with a segment that has the look of video game CGI. It depicts a rivalry between two houses for rule of an Indian kingdom and the disappearance of treasure sent by Princess Gitanjali of Magadha to the Tang Emperor in 647 A.D.

Prof. Chan and his assistant Nuomin (Miu Qimiya) are both bedazzled by Ashimita's beauty

The film then fast-forwards to the present (no more CGI look, just straight live action), where renowned archaeology professor Jack Chan (Jackie, of course) is teaching a class. He and his team are approached by Dr. Ashmita (the super-lovely twenty-four year old Disha Patani, appearing here in just her third film), of the Palace Museum Research Institute of Rajasthan, India. She seeks his help in locating the long-lost treasure. Also seeking the treasure is Randall (Sonu Sood). He is a descendant of Arunasya, who was a would-be usurper of the throne of Magadha back in the day.

This shot explains why Chan and Nuomin were bedazzled. (Note Ashimita's "dimples")

At this point in his life, action comedy is the type of film that Jackie should be concentrating on. He just doesn't have the body to pull off really demanding stunts, or the acting chops for straight action drama (witness Railroad Tigers, also 2016). In Kung Fu Yoga, as in Chinese Zodiac (2012), he gets to perform less-demanding stunts, share some of the stunt/action load with younger supporting members of the cast, and to fully utilize his endearing personality. And, also as in Chinese Zodiac, the viewers -- and here I'm thinking primarily of us guys -- are treated to several very fine-looking young actresses, sometimes displaying a fair amount of skin.

Nuomin (Miu Qimiya) displays her own charms

It may not be a great movie, but Kung Fu Yoga does nicely display Jackie's current abilities and provides solid entertainment, including a Bollywood-like dance number.

AsianCineFest Rating: 3.5 out of 4 star; highly recommended; a most enjoyable action/adventure comedy.

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