Jackie Chan has been announcing his retirement from making films since a few years back, but he can never seem to make good with that intention. His fans love him and his unique brand of wholesome comedy-martial arts combination too much for him to retire. This year, here he is again with a new film still featuring his beloved trademark style that earned him loyal fans all these years.
A regally glamorous professor from India named Ashmita (Disha Patani) seeks out the help of renowned Chinese archeologist Prof. Jack Chang (Jackie Chan) in finding the long-lost legendary Magadha treasure. Together with his two teaching assistants Xiaoguang (Lay Zhang of boyband Ex-O) and Youmin (yoga goddess Miya Muqi), and his treasure hunting colleague Jones Lee (Hong Kong actor/singer Aarif Rahman), Jack finds a fantastic pink 212-carat diamond artifact among other treasures in a buried trove he discovers under the Tibetan ice. However, a ruthless Indian gangster Randall (Sonu Sood), who claims that the treasure rightfully belongs to his family, is making sure he gets his hand on the fabled treasures even if it means killing off Jack and his team.
The film begins with some historical background about the T'ang Dynasty of China and the Magadha Kingdom of India, the veracity of which could be questionable given the cartoonish depiction of the battles with obvious computer-generated imagery. From this rather shaky beginning though, there were quite a number of action highlights that followed which kept the film all-charged up to the delightful Bollywood-style ending.
The fight scene in the Indian marketplace with the rope climbers, snake charmers, sword swallowers and flame blowers was fun to watch. The scene where the Jones, Xiaoguang and Ashmita's sister Kyra (Amyra Dastur) were trying to escape from a cage full of hungry hyenas was also very exciting to watch. The most expensive-looking stunt was that high-octane luxury car chase in the streets of Dubai where Lamborghini and Bugatti sports cars look like they were actually totally wrecked.
The acting is nothing too serious to speak about. Chan, Rahman and Lay mainly play it cute for their lady fans, with some explosive kung fu action scenes to keep their male viewers pumped. The ladies, Patani, Muqi and Dastur, get to be all elegant and pretty, but do join in the fighting action, and not only as damsels-in-distress. The English dubbing was rather mechanical sounding in its quality. This made the actors' corny acting performances seem even more shallow. But anyhow, acting is not really the main point of a film like this.
There is really something about Jackie Chan how he can elevate even the most shallow script into something really exciting and funny with his energetic stunt work. He is still amazing at age 62, from that solo workout he had using the wing-chun wooden dummy that even concluded with a handstand, to that hilarious car ride with a roaring live lion in the backseat. Overall, despite some corny moments, this film by Stanley Tong (who also directed Jackie Chan in a number of hits in the 1990s like "Rumble in the Bronx") aspires for positive ideals and is quite entertaining to watch with its unusual mix of Chinese and Indian elements. 6/10.