‘Chinese Zodiac’, also known as ‘CZ12’, has JC searching the world for 12 artefacts (12 bronze heads of the animals from the Chinese zodiac).
There are umpteen number of commercial potboilers that release in India, including films such as ‘Dabangg 2’, ‘Son Of Sardaar’, ‘Singham’ etc. Such films have low-brow humour, inane plots, whimsical characters and, most importantly, a larger-than-life superstar who brings in the numbers at the box-office. The downside to such films is that they can only work within a particular region, in this case, India, and for a certain kind of audience, in this case Indians. They fail to cross the cultural barrier, and no matter, how humungous their popularity is within their country, these films do not strike a chord with foreign audiences. ‘CZ12’ is one-such film. It’s a ‘Dabangg 2’, albeit from China. Unwatchable!
JC (Jackie Chan) is hired by shady antiques dealers to track down six missing bronze animal-heads, part of a treasure looted in the 1800s from the Old Summer Palace, outside Beijing, by the British in the Second opium war, by all means possible. The six bronzes were initially part of a set of twelve, representing the animals of the Chinese Zodiac.
JC, and his team, head to France, where two of the bronze-heads are believed to be tucked away. The operation to acquire the bronzes from Chateau leads JC into an uneasy alliance with Coco (Xingtong Yao), a Chinese student in Paris, an active participant in a global movement, which campaigns for stolen cultural treasures to be returned to their homeland.
Along the way, JC makes an enemy-for-life of Pierre, the chief of staff at the Chateau Marceau, and an unexpected friend of Katherine, a bankrupted aristocrat whose home contains another of the missing bronzes. The trail next leads JC and his team, now including Coco and Katherine, to a forgotten tropical island in the South Seas, where two missing animal heads are found in a beached wreck.
Back home, JC learns that his employers have bluffed him all along and already have the sixth missing bronze-head in their possession. A stunned JC sets to teach them a lesson for tricking him.
If you’re still reading this, the plot is a lost cause. The only reason why you should watch the film is that it may be Jackie Chan’s last actioner. The actor, way past-his-prime, had expressed a desire to do more meaningful films henceforth. Well, one hopes he sticks to that promise. As for the film, it has its ‘caricaturized’ moments which will make you guffaw at one or two points, but the longish two-hour duration will definitely tire you. Besides Jackie Chan, none of the actors really leave any sort of impact. The story, or the lack of it, also fails to impress. Another major flaw in the film is that large portions are entirely in Mandarin or French. A good part of the film is in English, but there are easily 4-5 long dialogues played out in foreign languages. Such occurrences (this should be noted by distributors who bring foreign films to Indian shores) tend to waive the viewer’s attention away from the on-screen happenings. It should be ensured that if the scenes cannot be dubbed, there should be subtitles at least. Or, don’t bring the film to India at all. This film, ‘CZ12’ or ‘Chinese Zodiac’ can be given another alias, ‘Gibberish’!
A major disappointment! Jackie Chan fans from India will not understand most of the film, let alone enjoying it!