The influence of Bollywood suffuses every scene of " Slumdog Millionaire," as well as Hollywood-financed diversions as various as "Moulin Rouge" and " You Don't Mess With the Zohan." For something closer to the source, albeit an aggressively bicultural clash between Bollywood and Hong Kong cinema, feel free to dive into "Chandni Chowk to China," a massive and rather tiring showcase for Bollywood action hero Akshay Kumar.
If only it were as much fun as its trailer! Kumar, who resembles a Delhi edition of John Turturro, plays Sidhu, a vegetable cutter whose adoptive father has tried to give him the proper moral road map to life. Sidhu's half a cool guy, half a klutz, and 100 percent over-the-top in his comedy stylings. The film unfolds in a cartoon-logic universe where hapless victims get kicked in the behind and soar hundreds of feet in the air. Our hero and his frenemy/translator (Ranvir Shorey) travel to China to battle a ruthless gangster (Gordon Liu) in a remote Chinese village. There's slapstick on the Great Wall of China, pathos in flashback, martial arts, dance numbers and Sidhu's quest for a woman "as lovely as cake" (fabulous simile). For all that, the film's heavy on its feet, though I certainly like the idea of someone mastering a kung fu move called "The Iron Forearm."
MPAA rating: PG-13 (for violence, adult situations and language).
Running time: 2:20.
Opening: Jan. 16.
'Chandni Chowk to China' --2 stars