Chinese action star Jackie Chan made his name playing a kind of amped-up version of Indiana Jones in many of his early films and he pays tribute to those days as an internationally renowned archeologist in Kung Fu Yoga (out now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital). Jackie's 63-years-old now and can now longer execute the irresponsibly daring stunts that made him an Asian hybrid of Buster Keaton and Jean-Claude Van Damme, but he can still deliver a few moves that would challenge actors half his age.
Stanley Tong directed Supercop and Rumble in the Bronx, two of Chan's finest films in a late '80/early '90s run that also included the Police Story and Drunken Master movies. Tong's own career got knocked off track when he came to Hollywood and directed the unfortunate Mr. Magoo movie starring Leslie Nielsen. Kung Fu Yoga is his first credit in over a decade.
Jackie Chan became a star in America with the three Rush Hour movies and has enjoyed success with Shanghai Noon, Shanghai Knights and the 2010 remake of The Karate Kid. In between those Hollywood movies, he's made dozens of Chinese-language movies and remains one of the world's biggest stars. The international cast also features Disha Patani (M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story), Amyra Dastur (Mr. X), Aarif Rahman (Young Bruce Lee) and Sonu Sood (Happy New Year) for the handful of our readers who follow Indian cinema.
China has launched a program called the Belt Road Initiative to strengthen economic ties with the Indian peninsula and this movie seems an explicit effort to promote ties between China and India. Jackie is an archaeology professor who joins an Indian scholar to locate a lost treasure. The team travels to a Tibetan ice cave before moving on to Dubai, where Chan has a spectacular car chase and eventually discovers a (CGI) lion in the back seat. Everyone ends up at a mountain temple in India where the entire cast ends the movie in a Bollywood-style dance number after a kickass fight scene.
The bonus features include bloopers (always worthwhile with Jackie Chan) and a series of featurettes. You can read my longer review of the theatrical release at movie business site China Film Insider.