More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 35%
Average: 5%
Pretty Bad60%
Total Crap: 0%

3 reviews, 2 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story by Jay Seaver

Before We Vanish by Jay Seaver

Dear Dictator by Peter Sobczynski

Tomb Raider (2018) by Peter Sobczynski

Darken by Jay Seaver

Early Man by Jay Seaver

Beyond Skyline by Jay Seaver

Agent Mr. Chan by Jay Seaver

Wrinkle in Time, A by Peter Sobczynski

Kill Order by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

Chandni Chowk to China
[] Buy posters from this movie
by brianorndorf

"Leave at the 20 minute mark, and it's a great film"
2 stars

A Bollywood confection making a rare appearance on American shores, “Chandni Chowk to China” is an excellent reason why many of these productions fail to breakout beyond India. A deafening, slapstick-drenched, exaggerated bit of hokum, “Chandni” is an endurance test for the Bollywood uninitiated: a curry-flavored Three Stooges comedy via The Shaw Brothers playbook, with a healthy serving of Stephen Chow thrown in for taste. It’s an attractive bundle, but ultimately a punishing mess of a movie.

Sidhu (Akshay Kumar) is a lowly vegetable chopper looking to change his miserable fortunes on the streets of Chandni Chowk, Delhi. Fate comes calling when Sidhu is mistaken for an ancient Eastern warrior, asked to travel to China to help stop a deadly crime boss named Hojo (Gordon Liu) from ruling the land. Frightened, Sidhu accepts the journey, finding the mythical terrain does nothing to boost his pathetic kung-fu abilities. Caught in the middle of Hojo’s grip, attempting to decipher the mystery between near-identical sisters named Sakhi and Meow Meow (Deepika Padukone), and roughed up under the tutelage of Chiang (Roger Yuan), Sidhu goes from boob to brawler as he begins to accept his destiny and learn the way of the fist.

Touted as the first Bollywood film to shoot in China, “Chandni” takes full advantage of the phenomenal location, arranging finger-snap-tight fight sequences on the hallowed brick of the Great Wall, and taking an interest in classic martial art cinema revenge mechanics to lend this comedy an unusual edge. At the very least, “Chandni” looks magnificent; director Nikhil Advani soaks up the opportunities handed to him to create a larger-than-life feature bursting with expansive locations, diverse special effects, and a cast littered with genre legends.

It’s a crime “Chandni” doesn’t jump off the screen with the same electricity the production is aching to convey. Part of the problem lies in the film’s 155 minute running time, which feels like an entire year once trapped in the thick of the fantasy. Nothing this slight should be allowed by law to pass 80 minutes, but it wouldn’t be lovable Bollywood if it showed concern for pace and hindquarter comfort. Instead, the film spends most of the time drawing out every scene past its expiration date, absurdly stalling to permit “Chandni” an unwelcome epic length. With Kumar tearing around the frame mugging like a lunatic, slipping on banana peels and hoofing it up in the film’s few dance numbers, “Chandni” could pass as a goofball excursion with specific appeal. It comes as a shock when the laughs in the film are smothered at the midway point, when “Chandni” suddenly asks the audience for acceptance as a genuine drama.

Did I miss the point where I was supposed to care about these relentlessly cartoonish characters?

As “Chandni” flails around for what feels like an eternity, indulging Bollywood and martial art staples with gale farce sincerity, the production’s generous spirit is readily available, just not properly timed. “Chandni” is certainly not a disastrous stab at cross-culture entertainment value, but it’s hopelessly bloated to a point of screaming paralysis.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 01/17/09 03:32:51
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

1/12/10 Bill Enjoyable fare 4 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  16-Jan-2009 (PG-13)
  DVD: 05-May-2009


  DVD: 17-Mar-2009

[trailer] Trailer

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast