I grew up on Hong Kong martial arts films, recently visited the Forbidden City Palace and Great Wall in Beijing, and heard this was the first Bollywood kung fu comedy, so I went to watch this movie on its opening night. I absolutely loved it.
I'm not familiar with Bollywood, but I thought the movie might be goofy-silly from the trailer. It was so much more than that.
The plot is well summarized by another reviewer, so I won't go into it in detail. Basically, a comedic buffoon in India is tricked into going to China to help an oppressed village. Along the way, he finds love, kung fu, and himself. The plot was complex but fun. The movie is in Hindi (spoken by the characters from India) and Mandarin (spoken by the characters from China) with good English subtitles.
In some points where the plot stretched credibility, I figured it was a Bollywood thing, and just went with the flow. For example, the heroine's family situation, airport incident, the drunken master fight, the kung fu training sequences, were all a bit unrealistic, but great fun.
The costumes and dancing were great (who knew a womem could dance in the long chinese cheongsam dresses?). I especially liked the scenes set in the Forbidden City Palace and the Great Wall. I read that this was the first fight scene permitted to be filmed on the Great Wall, and having been on the beautiful, windy, and super-steep steps of the Great Wall, I loved each and every Great Wall scene. I read that they shut down tourism for the filming, which is impressive given how packed the tourist site normally is.
I expected a lot of eye candy going in, based on the trailer, but I was caught completely by surprise by just how funny and dramatic the movie was. My friend and I laughed so hard that we cried through many points of the movie (laughing so hard our eyes were shut and I missed some of the English subtitles). There were some very touching points in the movie, aptly scored by a beautiful musical score.
The hero was an amazing actor. Initially, he is a completely pathetic and cringe-worthy coward. There was a lot of slapstick and very funny physical humour. By the end of the movie the hero was James-Bond handsome and riveting. I often see female characters have this physical transformation in movies (mouse to model) but have never seen this in a male character. The hero was completely believable and his transformation was very touching.
Some of the martial arts scenes might seem over the top, but the Hong Kong film martial arts are just like that, with exploding boxes, water rising, internal strength forces battling it out through palm stances, windstorms, etc. It was just like a really good martial arts film with Bollywood dancing and plot touches.
The movie was longer than I was used to, but I figured that was a Bollywood thing and enjoyed every minute of it. Be warned, though, there is quite a bit of casual physical discipine between adult children and their parental figures, which was a bit of a surprise to me.
There were some corny points, which I initially thought was bad directing, but the rest of the theatre laughed extremely hard right away, so I guess it was a sly spoof device used in Bollywood movies. For example, one of the funniest scenes for me is when the Indian/Chinese friend of the hero sees the assassin for the first time and after a stunned silence, bursts into song. The entire audience was howling with laughter and clapping, as the comedic timing in that scene was just perfect.
I highly recommend this film to everyone. More than 24 hours later, I'm still thinking of the film and smiling in memory of some of the scenes. I'm definitely going to get this on blu-ray when it comes out.