Monday, May 25, 2009
Chandi Chowk to China - filmi math gone wrong.
How little did I enjoy Chandi Chowk to China? So little I almost did not want to grace this review with a picture or a poster of the movie. The only reason why I did is that I know people enjoy reviews with pictures more than reviews with none, and I want people to read this.
My view is not original: CC2C tanked in the box office, and it's all too easy to see why. But first, a smidgeon of background - I was skeptical of the bad reviews and the dismissals. I really looked forward to this movie, from the first poster to the nutty first trailers. The movie had so much going for it, it couldn't possibly be as bad as people were saying it was! Let's do the math..
1. Nikhil Advani has done draggy but tremendously entertaining films. After all, there isn't a director in Bollywood who hasn't done flawed films, but out of the great numbers of flawed films, Nikhil's have always stood out for me. Salaam-e-Ishq is great fun.
2. Akshay Kumar, doing kung-fu/martial arts type of thing. Easily the best thing about all of Akshay's bad 90's films was the parts where he got to kick some serious ass. Even better when those moves showed off his martial arts training. So a movie where it's all about the kung fu action? Hot damn, yes please!
3. Deepika's action heroine avatar. I'm not huge on Deepika, since she hasn't really had a chance to prove her acting chops yet but I'm always into heroines who go beyond damsel-in-distress. Okay, so her "Chinese" look was kind of odd but girl kicking ass? Gimme!
4. Kung fu, kung fu, kung fu. Fun action times for all!
And, as usual, asking yourself "How bad can it be?" ultimately ends up being the kiss of death for the movie that actually is bad. Very bad. Unbelievably, tragically, unsuccessful at whatever it is trying to achieve.
The plot is mind-numbingly filmi, and not in a good way. I can embrace the masala as the next person, but the clusterf*** of mistaken identities, slapstick comedy and of course, the flashback fight scene with a baby (insert groans) just made my head hurt. I wasn't feeling it. Akshay's character was annoying, unlovably stupid, the father-son connection between him and Mithun Chakravorty forced and the sole saving grace of the film was Deepika, until she visits a Chinese factory where they enable all the vapidness of the rest of the movie, with gadgets.
But okay, okay, I thought. I was seeing the movie for free, on a plane flight and I had 8 more hours to kill. Just bring me the kung fu, I thought - there was surely a 40 minute awesome kung fu movie hidden in this idiocy. I just had to wait for it.
Sadly, that awesome 40 minute movie turned into a 30 minute movie, and then 20 minute, 10 minute - oh lord - and then I was watching credits. In other words, it never came. I mean, sure, there was action. There were fight scenes. But I never wound up being into it. Everything was just so .. unexciting. Forced. Lifeless.
Early on the in the movie, Akshay's character Siddhu makes references to fusion food - Chinese curry, Indian noodles. If I were to compare the movie to a dish, I'd say this; I don't believe a good Chinese/Indian dish is impossible. It just depends on the chef, and the ingredients. The chef lost the plot here, and the ingredients from both countries were stale. Whatever potential was there, died in the making process. It might look pretty on the plate, but the taste is not good at all.
So, really, stay at home, order take-out. Watch anything but this movie.