I Just Watched “Kung Fu Yoga”

There are a ton of movie review/first viewing youtube channels, blogs and websites so this will probably only be a one-off thing, but I just watched Kung Fu Yoga (2017) because my new friends and I spent 20 minutes arguing what to watch on Netflix. I canceled my Netflix streaming a while back because it started to feel more like the $5 bargain bin. But I digress…

Kung Fu Yoga is the unholy fusion of Hong Kung film, meets Bollywood, meets Indiana Jones with questionable CGI effects. I enjoyed it immensely. This is a terrible, terrible movie, but my friends and I had a lot of fun watching it. From this point on there will be spoilers:

The opening to the film looks like an executive producer saw the LoTR battle with the giant elephants and said, “I want that!” but only had a quarter of the budget. If it were a video game, the CGI would have been passable, but alas…

It’s also Jackie Chan’s highest grossing film in China apparently.

The subtitles for the CGI opening were two fast for me to read so my brain short-cut it to “Journey to the West reference, lost treasure, this movie is Chinese/Indian collaboration, and our bad-guy is Hindi.”  That’s pretty much all you need to know.

It turns out that the opening narration over CGI opening was our main character, Professor Jack Chan (played by Jackie Chan), giving a history lecture to his students, most of whom are a sleep in the lecture hall because that’s just what millennials do, even though your professor is the “greatest archaeologist in China”.

Drawn by his fame the young and very very pretty Professor Ashmita from India approaches Professor Chan with a map to a lost treasure. Professor Chan gathers his team of also really pretty side-kicks and goes off to find the lost treasure. When they reach their first goal the villain appears, steals the macguffin that’ll lead them to the real treasure, and leaves Professor Chan and company to die in a frozen underground cave.

Actually, it’s one of Professor Chan’s side-kicks who manages to steal the macguffin and escape. Instead of calling for help for the rest of the team, he takes the macguffin for himself to sell in an auction. Fortunately Professor Chan and company manage to escape the cave, track down their turncoat, and get the macguffin back, but the villain appears again and this time manages to successfully steal the macguffin. Action movie car chase ensues and the turncoat is forgiven without so much as a lecture.

The villain manages to get away with the macguffin. Professor Chan goes to India where he learns that Professor Ashmita was an imposter! She’s really a pretty, pretty princess who disguised herself so she could safely enlist Professor Chan’s help.

Villain shows up after realizing he needs Professor Chan’s help to lead him to the treasure and takes two of the side-kicks hostage. The movie then blatantly copies Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). Seriously, why does everybody hate snakes?

The side-kicks manage to rescue themselves and show up just in time for the climatic fight. Climatic fight ensues and then the movie just sort of ends? It’s like the plot just gave up so everyone calls a truce and breaks out into a Bollywood dance. Whatever man, tying up loose ends and having a story resolution is sooo last century, man.

Overall there was nothing original or new about the plot, the characters weren’t interesting or fleshed out, but apparently the movie didn’t need all that fluff. The audience was successfully distracted by the pretties (including me and I’m asexual), the fight scenes were really good, there were still moments of comic gold (because Jackie Chan), and at the end of it all we got to see Jackie Chan dance Bollywood.

Not my favorite film, but it’s not a film’s job to be “good”. It’s a film’s job to entertain and entertained I most certainly was.



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