The title holds much promise of an Indo-Chinese action
adventure brimming with fun. But director Stanley Tong takes off with a relic
of a story. It really is time Jackie Chan’s directors stopped harking back to
old dynasties and hidden secrets as a template. Like kilos of other recent
films, Kung Fu Yoga tracks treasures
that date back to the days of the Magadha dynasty in India. Looking for it
today is Ashmita, an archaeologist who’s also Indian royalty, and Randall, a
mercenary, with Chinese archaeologist Jack caught between them.
Jack who’s more professorial than like an
archaeologist moves with his team including Ashmita up icy mountains where
action is in the form of throwing snow balls to scare off a pack of
wolves. Until Randall turns up and
leaves them there for dead.
But everybody’s alive and kicking as the entire cast
shifts to the desert terrain of Dubai where there’s an auction for a diamond
that holds the key to the treasures of Magadha. It ends up in a long car chase
with windows breaking, girls screeching, sirens blaring, a lion roaring and the
You close your eyes anyway when poor terrified camels
are raced with whips on their humps.
The action then shifts to India, inexplicably to
Rajasthan which is miles away from where Magadha was. And Stanley Tong
unbelievably portrays India with princesses dripping jewels, the streets strewn
with snake charmers, the Indian rope trick and levitating swamis. Ashmita also
makes a brief reference to Vaastu Shastra as the oldest book on architectural
After snow and sand, Tong goes underground for an
Indiana Jones kind of treasure hunt.
Why Sonu Sood is called Randall, one doesn’t know. But
since he’s rich and shady, he wears velvet and has lions and hyenas in his
bungalow. Meanwhile, Ashmita played by Disha Patani, shows more teeth than
The ageing and therefore sluggish Jackie Chan
seriously needs more sparkling stories to carry off a
show today. There’s one energetic action sequence with hyenas but it doesn’t
feature Jackie, it’s younger actors who make all the supple moves. And one
action set between Jackie and Sonu gives a whiff of how much fun his movies
used to be. This time around, along with the fun, the yoga also goes missing
and is present only as a word in the title.
For a film that doesn’t do justice to the land of kung
fu or to yoga, Kung Fu Yoga gets a
Bharathi S Pradhan
Senior Journalist & Author