Kung Fu Yoga Blu-ray Review

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Play Fighting

No moment in Kung Fu Yoga is less than total fantasy. Every actor is a male model, every actress a female super model, the action is utterly improbable, and the plot gibberish. Its purpose: International togetherness, bonding Indian and Chinese cultures through a wild, irreverent action flick, utterly content to disavow logic.

Kung Fu Yoga makes itself difficult to hate. It’s so colorful, spirited, jovial, and excited to exist, each new minute provides something to smile at. All of the stiff, stubborn English being spoken drifts away in a wild concoction of comedy, drama, and adventure, sprinting through genres on its way to a Bollywood dance climax.

If it’s a bit laborious between set-pieces (and it is), Kung Fu Yoga’s make-up time is spent riffing Fast and Furious or setting up a cartoon-saturated brawl in an Indian bazaar. At one point, characters fight their way out of a hyena pen, kicking and running from the clearly CG animals in a ridiculous escape sequence. Good luck finding that scene in another movie.

Chan finds more choregraphed inspiration here than in five or six of his previous Chinese imports combined

Creativity washes over this Chan/Stanley Tong production, their eighth together. Chan finds more choregraphed inspiration here than in five or six of his previous imports combined. He frequently uses Bollywood star Disha Patani as an impromptu weapon, taking a pause to stare down Kung Fu Yoga’s villain, Sonu Sood.

Chan, playing a 60-something college professor and archaeologist, is brought into a treasure hunt only feasible in movies. Multi-million dollar diamonds, priceless cultural artifacts, and underground chests bursting with gold coins exist to be discovered – and quickly for being hidden since 600 AD. The Nicolas Cage National Treasure flicks made more sense, if never accomplishing anything. By the end of Kung Fu Yoga, Jackie Chan drove a car with a lion in the backseat and reunited India with their historical heritage.

The ludicrous nature speaks to a foreign sensibility. Enamored with fantasy and charm over realism, Kung Fu Yoga goes for zany. It’s not about whether the crashing cars reveal their (obviously) digital nature or if the compositing looks clean; nothing in Kung Fu Yoga feels real anyway. Rather, this is an excuse to have unrestrained fun. With the beaming cast charming their way through the film, it’s difficult not to be caught up in the preposterous splendor.

Video

The success story of Kung Fu Yoga on Blu-ray is the stupendous, almost gaudy attraction to color. India locations show off incredible vibrancy, acting like the country’s travelogue. Scenery includes the lavish costumes, well decorated interiors, and a gorgeous bazaar filled with colorful goods.

Everything else suffers. Kung Fu Yoga’s digital cinematography shows signs of mild sharpening. Long exteriors reveal an unnatural rigidity. This post-production or transfer decision also raises the noise, a persistent issue throughout. In varying degrees, shadows buzz with low light artifacts, sometimes leaving behind compression residue.

Kung Fu Yoga lacks the black level prowess to hold back digital noise. Many scenes carry a gray feel. Chan’s dark hair isn’t graying so much as the black levels go missing. Luckily, an excited contrast picks things up, blasting the screen with light. This produces a touch of detail in close, at least wherever the digital muddiness is missing.

Audio

DTS:X is a surprise, if common for current Well Go offerings. Chan’s Railroad Tigers offered the same. With a vivid animated opening depicting a large scale battle, the amount of direction evident in this mix continues into live action. Ambiance is high; winds in the arctic, crowds in the cities, and even strong echoes when indoors.

A crazy car chase offers dizzying channel separation, using every speaker to keep the sequence in audible motion. Later, hyenas surround the cast, barking in each channel to make sure the animals are present, on screen or not. It’s not the heartiest, bass-heavy mix. Kung Fu Yoga sells cars crashing decently via the low-end, but aggressiveness is relatively low.

Extras

Four featurettes run around three minutes each. They’re promo fluff. Another featurette on bloopers offers some fun. The 21-minute making-of offers the best of the bunch, a fine look behind-the-scenes with lots of interviews and set footage.

The 15 unaltered images below represent the Blu-ray. For an additional 17 Kung Fu Yoga screenshots, early access to all screens (plus the 7,000+ already in our library), exclusive UHD reviews, and more, support us on Patreon.