Shanghai Knights
3 out of 5 stars
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This follow-up to the enjoyably silly Shanghai Noon (2000) is more of the same: undemanding entertainment that actually keeps us laughing. Chon Wang (Chan) is now sheriff of Carson City, but back in China his father (Kim Chan) has just been killed by Lord Rathbone (Gillen), a power mad English nobleman. So Chon heads to New York to find his old partner Roy O'Bannon (Wilson), then to London to join with his sister (Wong) t get revenge. Of course, nothing goes smoothly. But they're helped by a street urchin (Johnson) and a Scotland Yard inspector (Fisher) to battle Rathbone and his equally power-hungry partner in crime (Yen).

There's a jokey sense of humour here that makes the preposterous story watchable. Every London landmark is used, every Victorian character makes an appearance, and the film is bursting with nods to London-set movies. These things aren't terribly clever, but they add a layer of interest to keep us on our toes while the plot itself trudges along predictably. Chan's fight choreography is frenetic and hilarious, while his buddy-comedy shtick with Wilson is both satisfying and, now, over-familiar. It's not nearly as bracing as the original film, mostly because we've seen Chan and Wilson do this same thing over and over with other buddies since then (and fail when they try to go it alone). The filmmakers seem a bit desperate as they fill every frame with cheesy post-modern gags and lame plot/character twists, all accompanied by a corny modern song score. But then, this is really just a new attempt at the Crosby-Hope "Road to" movies; it's not meant to be watertight. And at least the combination of Chan's lively action and Wilson's deadpan comedy works well enough to let us forget about life for a couple of hours.

cert 12 themes, violence, language, innuendo 6.Mar.03

dir David Dobkin
scr Alfred Gough, Miles Millar
with Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Aidan Gillen, Fann Wong, Donnie Yen, Thomas Fisher, Aaron Johnson, Gemma Jones, Kim Chan, Oliver Cotton, Alison King, Jonathan Harvey
release US 7.Feb.03; UK 4.Apr.03
03/US 1h54

Ok, here's an idea. Chon (Chan) explains his latest plan to Roy (Wilson)....

chan wilson gillen


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2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall