“People think that I must be a very strange person. This is not correct. I have the heart of a small boy. It is in a glass jar on my desk.”
— Stephen King
Sometimes, when you have the heart of a small boy (pickled or otherwise), you’ll happily fly in the face of the prevailing winds. I remember distinctly being quite annoyed with my parents for mocking 1984’s Red Dawn, a movie I was enthralled by. And reasonable criticisms (Cuban paratroopers invade Colorado?) only made me hunker down and commit more fully to my love for the film. Today I recognize that Red Dawn is basically a paranoid gun-lobby fantasy, albeit one chock full of Swayze. And who knows? Maybe in 25 years I’ll reconsider and decide that Chandni Chowk to China is as bad as people are saying. But for now….
I dragged my lady friend to see this with me, which was probably not the best idea, because she has taste. She was entirely game for the experience, but emerged less than thrilled. I cannot explain this, any more than I can explain my own childish reaction. For me, the experience was basically
Because really, in a movie where the main character gets kicked literally across the city by his stern dad, where someone invents a remote control technology to make people dance in different styles, where there’s a Bollywood production number in the middle of the Forbidden City… in a movie where an Indian guy with a Borat mustache squares off against the great Gordon Liu, in a movie featuring the first fight scenes ever filmed on the Great Wall…. I don’t know…. I kind of don’t care if it makes sense or is well-structured in the sense that a Hollywood script is supposed to be well-structured. (Underwhelmed Lady Friend: “They put the training montage two hours into the movie! Come on!!” Me: “But there was kung fu! And dancing! And a computer-animated fighting potato!”)
So if you are still under the sway of your inner ten-year-old boy — if you’re the kind of person who, like me, gets a kick out of stuff like this:
then this movie might be for you. Otherwise, you might want to skip it. At two and a half hours, it’s short for a Bollywood spectacle, but loooong for a glorious, goofy, light-hearted mess.