Chinese Zodiac – Movie Review
Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on December 28, 2012 | No Comments
PRODUCER – Jackie Chan, Stanley Tong, Barbie Tung
DIRECTOR – Jackie Chan
WRITER – Jackie Chan
CAST – Jackie Chan, Kwon Sang-woo, Liao Fan, Yao Xing Tong, Zhang Lan Xin, Laura Weissbecker
MUSIC – Roc Chen, Nathan Wang
The affable, almost clownish, dare-devil treasure hunter Asian Hawk is back. Jackie Chan reprises his much-loved role from Armor of God (1987) in Chinese Zodiac, taking on the mantle of actor, writer, director, producer, cinematographer, stunt co-coordinator among others. With signature good-natured action drama, he sets out to hunt for 12 bronze heads of the Chinese Zodiac looted from China, 150 years back, which now lie in different places in different parts of the world.
Hired by business tycoon and antique- Lawrence Morgan (Oliver Platt), Hawk (taking on the pseudonym JC here) travels all over the world on this mission. As he swishes across continents, sky-diving and parkouring with glee, he collects a motley group of accomplices and opponents globally. There is a French heiress, (Laura Weissbecker), a Chinese archeology student (Yao Xingtong), JC’s own Chinese tech team – Simon (Kwone), Bonnie (Zhang) and David (Liao Fan), a Russian army, a band of pirates and JC’s direct rival Vulture (Alaa Safi), who is looking for the heads for himself.
While, an ensemble, multi-lingual cast possibly brings colour and largesse to a project, here it depletes into some sort of a circus. The sort that resides in comedy forced out of confusing situations due to different languages of communication. It is slapstick in the Chan way alright, but a tad bit over-wrought in a not-so-pleasant way as well.
Besides, there is the meandering story that takes everyone from one place to another and keeps adding colorful characters for the sake of it. What aims to be merry turns out to be rather tiresome given the hectic activity around everything.
Action-wise, the film is slick and strong, clearly mounted on-par with the Hollywood biggies. It is fast-paced and has the Chan trademark imaginativeness and quirk woven right into it. There may simply not be enough for hard-core fans because at times, it does seem like the story takes over anticipated fisticuffs. There is also a bit of embarrassing patriotism that weaves its way into an otherwise light-hearted adventure film and sets the tone into an unintended direction. But fortunately, or unfortunately, the buffoonery keeps bringing the airy-headed-ness back.
Warts and all, what makes the ride really worth it though, is the charm and charisma of the original stunt super hero Jackie Chan, who even at 58 displays an agility and impishness that we have always loved him for.