Shanghai Noon

Guns 'n' poses. Roy and Chon (Wilson and Chan) try to show everyone what tough guys they are. As if....
dir Tom Dey
scr Alfred Gough, Miles Millar
with Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Lucy Liu, Xander Berkeley, Roger Yuan, Jason Connery, Brandon Merrill, Walt Goggins, Adrien Dorval, Rafael Baez, Stacy Grant, Kate Luyben
Touchstone 00/US 3 out of 5 stars
Review by Rich Cline
The title is a clever pun that sets the scene for the whole film--Shanghai Noon is merely an excuse to find a new milieu for Jackie Chan's brand of humour and action. And the film is just about what you expect ... and then some. It's funnier and more polished than it deserves to be. There's absolutely nothing you can take seriously, which is a good thing since none of the cast seem to be taking it seriously themselves. So just sit back and, like them, enjoy the ride.

Chon Wang (Chan) is an Imperial Guard in China's Forbidden City, sent to America to carry the luggage for the warriors who are out to rescue the kidnapped Princess Pei Pei (Liu). But Chon gets separated from his party and has to go it alone, with the help of goofy outlaw Roy (Wilson). Along the way they meet helpful Indians, renegade cowboys, vicious lawmen and a particularly nasty Chinese slave trader.

Director Dey has a ball with this film, combining spectacular Wild West scenery with fast and furious action sequences. He's not afraid to speed up the camera for comic effect, or to steal liberally from John Woo (not to mention Butch and Sundance). And the result is energetic good fun, with droll dialog, completely superfluous (and not terribly effective) romantic subplots, and manic, heavily choreographed, mostly bloodless fight scenes. Chan is his usual self--entertaining, likeable, very physical and nicely matched by Wilson, who basically stretches a wacky scene-stealer turn into the leading man role. He's absolutely hilarious and keeps things bright and witty from start to finish, which is important since the plot is nothing special. But the outrageous action and the constant comedy make the film extremely entertaining, so I won't complain. With far fewer pretensions, this is everything Wild Wild West wanted to be, but wasn't.

[12--violence, language, innuendo] 13.Jun.00
US release 26.May.00; UK release 25.Aug.00

See also SHANGHAI KNIGHTS (2003)

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Roy O'Bannon and the Shanghai Kid"This movie looked like fun, and did not disappoint. Jackie Chan plays Chon Wang, which sounds a lot like 'John Wayne', a terrible name for a cowboy. The movie is silly, does not try to be serious, and made us laugh - in fact the entire theatre was laughing. Go see this if you want some laughs - it does deliver." --Laurie T, Minneapolis.

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2000 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall