Maksim's Review of Chinese Zodiac
Frustrating and boring, Chinese Zodiac is a weak, confusing and lacking coherence adventure, which hardly succeeds to provide even the regular Jackie Chan fun. Clichéd and borrowing heavily from National Treasure and previous Jackie Chan productions, this movie is a ridiculous attempt to create a worldwide Chinese adventurous blockbuster.
Having Jackie Chan in the cast always implies a good dose of the typical J.C. action sequences and a portion of passable fun which if it does not make you laugh, will at least make you smile several times. Expectations about Chinese Zodiac were in the same range, but most of them were not met. The story stars centered on several lost statues of animal from the Chinese Zodiac and Jackie Chan being a professional high-value items thief, who has to steal them. Things get complicated when he gets involved with a youth-NGO which is striving for a worldwide return of lost national treasures to their respective countries. This beginning lays the foundation for an almost passable adventure, until director Jackie Chan decides to extend its scope.
At the moment when the storyline gets expanded to searching a lost ship, meeting pirates, entering a factory for fake antiques, etc.,etc., Chinese Zodiac becomes a gigantic mumbo-jumbo which not only fails to maintain the attention of the audience, but also annoys with its attitude towards the audience. With such a messy story, even a 13-year old viewer would be annoyed and would find it more interesting to be checking his/her smartphone for Facebook updates, than to actually follow the movie (yes, indeed, I did that).
It is not only the messy and absurd story, but also the whole pathetic preaching on returning precious stolen or lost objects to their nations that would frustrate the audience. Unable to convince or to intrigue the audience, one would be suffering while watching the ridiculous youth-NGO and the whole fuss about this. Add in the mediocre acting, the disturbing switch between French, English and Mandarin and Jackie Chan's directorial effort turns into a complete nightmare. The only positive thing in the whole movie is Oliver Platt, who in spite of being on the screen for several minutes, delivers a fresh and cocky.
Chinese Zodiac is a movie which completely fails to meet original expectations. By using Jackie Chan's name and charisma, it implies that it would be a mid-level, funny adventure ride, but it ends up as a totally disappointing and definitely frustrating piece of nothing.