Too Silly, Too Late: Our Review of ‘Kung Fu Yoga’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - January 27, 2017
Too Silly, Too Late: Our Review of ‘Kung Fu Yoga’

I’m all for the blending of cultures and unifying two different sets of audiences together, but at some point you’ve got to pump the breaks and just admit that what you are doing is just re-goddamn-diculous.  While the idea behind Kung Fu Yoga is certainly a nice one, it easily gets lost in translation as North American audiences will just find this to be 100 or so minutes of silly nonsense with mediocre visual effects.

Jack (Jackie Chan) or as he referred to by his students; Professor Chan is a world-renowned archaeology professor, and his team are on a grand quest to locate a lost ancient Indian treasure when they are ambushed by a team of mercenaries and left for dead. Using his vast knowledge of history and kung fu, Jack leads his team on a race around the world to beat the mercenaries to the treasure and save an ancient culture.

With this being the first time that Writer/Director Stanley Tong and star Jackie Chan getting together you’d think that this would be a film that breathed a little bit of life into these two veteran hands, but unfortunately it does the exact opposite as it is a cheese ball, poorly assembled affair that shows the age of the two men leading the charge on this project.

Combining elements of classic Kung Fu filmmaking and Bollywood romance/comedy/musicals it unfolds in a fairly goofy fashion with comedic tropes and bits that just don’t translate all that well to North American audiences.  Tong keeps it all moving at a decent pace, but the oversaturated colour schemes throughout alongside some visual effects that could only ever be described as cheap since to be fair they only evoke more laughter than anything else.  Combine all that with an overly obvious attempt to turn Jackie Chan into a fun loving Indiana Jones type it all comes across as very awkward as the writing as weak and the performances are even weaker, as it focuses on over the top set pieces that are waiting for the addition of some sort of Flubber or an appearance from an early nineties version of Brendan Fraser playing someone in an earnestly over the top fashion.

Jackie is a step slow, going through the motions on his typical fight scenes and moments that have already been done to death.  He’s fighting slower and the jokes are becoming more and more old man like as the days go on, if Robert De Niro and Jackie Chan end up doing a buddy comedy soon it may just mark the end of modern civilization as we know it as they act dumb and/or terrible get hit on by women 1/3rd there age for the whole thing.  There are ways to make older actors into effective action heroes and they just flat out forgot to do it here.  While Disha Patani and Amyra Dastur are attractive female co-stars with cross over potential they never get anything to dig into in the script while Indian star Sonu Sood comes off rigid and only Aarif Rahman (born Aarif Lee) works as Jackie’s street savvy partner who gets talked into doing some good rather than raiding archeological tombs for profit.

This will probably do really well overseas and delight foreign audiences, but Kung Fu Yoga which could have just as easily been called Kung Fu Flubber is just a mess of a film that came 15 years too late no matter how well intentioned it was.

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David Voigt, has been a lover of cinema all his life and an actual underpaid critic for a solid 5 years covering everything that the city of Toronto has to offer. He was a content manager in video distribution industry before that and his love of all things cinema goes back to his first moments in awe looking up at the big screen. His 12 years of experience on the home entertainment side of the business have provided him with a unique view on what is worth spending your hard earned entertainment dollars on. Combine that with his unquestioned love of film, David should be your only stop to find out about the best in film, not only in Toronto, but worldwide.