Shanghai Knights ( 2003)

Homer J's Review: Given that The Tuxedo has been virtually universally panned by critics and fans alike, it was important that Jackie's next US offering should be more akin to the films of his past in order to restore some faith. It seemed that Jackie had this in mind as Shanghai Knights is peppered with little references to his older films and represents arguably his finest work outside of Hong Kong.

In a similar vein to Rush Hour 2, Knights re-treads and recycles some of the gags and situations from the first film, but what makes this more enjoyable here is that the relationship between Chon Wang and Roy has progressed into a proper friendship which avoids much of the cultural bashing seen in the Rush Hour films. The scene where Roy is hurt over Chon's apparent betrayal of friendship is a prime example of this, being both funny and quite touching. The subsequent pillow fight as a reconcilleratory (is that a word, or did I just make that up?) measure was an utter joy, and this frequent injection of silly but infectious laughter is what makes this such an enjoyable film. Even though the pillow fight was completely daft and unnecessary I couldn't help but watch it with a big dappy grin on my face.

Knights also represents perhaps the most influence from Jackie himself regarding the fight scenes, which

The now infamous scene in the market place is the best example of this, being a long, superbly choreographed affair interspersed with those little incidental stunts we love to see (the run up the board onto the roof for example). And then we have the crowning accomplishment when the music from "Singing in the Rain" kicks in and Jackie pays homage to Gene Kelly, in what has to be one of the all time greatest moments in his lengthy career. If this film is remembered for anything it will be for this little tribute to one of the key influences in Jackie's life and watching him perform was an utter delight.

However just when I was ready to accept this film was where Jackie's style of filming had been truly accepted into a Hollywood production the much anticipated face off between our hero and Donnie Yen provided a real let down. Sure it had flashes of skill, but it was choppy, obviously edited and far too short for my liking. This had the potential to be the one-on-one fight to rival Jackie's match up with Brad Allan in Gorgeous, but no, once again we are short changed here. Maybe I'm greedy and expect too much, but given the pedigree of the actors involved I feel it is a huge opportunity missed. But was this down to Jackie, the director or the studio?? I can't believe it would have been Jackie's decision to have this fight be so tame in comparison to what it could have been.

Given I am English I was also well aware of the glutton of jokes that would be thrown towards us (driving on wrong side of the road, bad teeth, bad food etc) but here they just felt included out of sheer laziness, I would have preferred a bit more subtlety, but I guess its all too easy to have cheap laugh at the British....hehe.

The supporting cast were also worthy of note, with Fann Wong being feisty and well, gorgeous(!) as expected. Aiden Gillen just about keeps his performance the right side of camp in his sneeringly evil portrayal of Rathbone and horror of horrors(!) we have a cockney accented child actor who is - not awful! In fact hefty kudos should go towards the kid who played Charlie, when it could have so easily gone horribly wrong.

Overall as a film, this is nothing particularly special with the wafer thin plot being quite anemic, but then again it never needed to be anything else. The film plays on its strengths, that being the chemistry between Jackie and Owen and the fun that relationship exudes, along with Jackie's creativity in the action department. I feel I enjoyed Shanghai Noon slightly more as a story and film, but Knights as a total package represents Jackie's best work in Hollywood so far. 

After the disappointment of The Tuxedo this is a welcome return to form.

Reader Reviews:

KUNG FU SUPERCOP's Review: HILLARIOUS!Even better than shanghai noon.STORY:Chan goes to see owen wilson who lost all their gold and has to serve as a waiter.The presidents daughters are wild and get them in trouble.Chan escapes with owen and find out that his father has ben killed and the seal has been stolen.They go to england and meet Charlie chaplin(before he was a movie star he was a poor orphan).His sister was in the looney bin and with the aid of a cop(the future writer of the sherlock holmes books) they track down he killer and his friend(donnie yen)(from Iron Monkey) They get into a fight at the end and chan returns the seal.Its a happy ending everyone goes there seperate ways.Jackie,owen and his sister go one way,the cop becomes the writer and the orphan becomes Charile Chaplin. Although Chaplin was born in 1887.The film takes place in 1889??

Score: 10/10

Glen M's Review: A couple months back, I left the theater with a sick feeling in my gut after seeing the Tuxedo (which I found quite poor), and now it's time to see if the Tuxedo was just a one time flop or the beginning of the end for Jackie. Lemme tell you, he's back, and in S.K. he has probably his best fight scenes in any of his American movies, just amazing stuff (market place, revolving door, moving ladder), you can see Jackie had lots of input in the action. I loved the film but I felt the comedy very dry and left me not laughing out loud once, only a couple of chuckles. Still, through the bad comedy there is a story that is mildly intriguing but the main draw for most people (especially if you're on this site) is the action, just some beautiful stuff.

Score: 8.5/10


Score: 1000000000000/10

Shivu Jackie Fan's Review: Well its a good movie to watch but owen wilson is a sort boring.... and ate up most of the scenes .... anyway most of the fights with the prop is excellent..... i rate this movie 7.5 out of 10. (Why doesnt jackie use his snake and other martial arts in his movies with a slow action ??)

Score: 7.5/10

Astrokat's Review: I thoroughly enjoyed Shanghai Knights! I haven't had this much pure, unadulterated fun at the movies in a long time! SK is littered with fight sequences, all of which I found very entertaining and imaginative, and the two end fights were especially exciting. Jackie even gets a chance to show his more dramatic side - he was so *intense* at the end - I was completely wrapped up in the story, and for a moment I really believed Chon Wang was about to meet his maker! Great performance by Jackie! Wu Chan (Donnie Yen) and Rathbone (Aidan Gillen) were very convincing bad guys, and Donnie's fight with Jackie at the end was breathtaking, as was the fight with Rathbone (more on those later).

The plot is, of course, always secondary in Jackie's movies, but it was good enough that there weren't any gaping holes in it, and I really liked the fact that, as in Shanghai Noon, the focus was more on the characters and their relationships than the actual storyline. I enjoy movies so much more when I care about the characters ... I shed more than one tear during this movie, let me tell you! And let's face it, Jackie and Owen have *great* on screen chemistry - they work so well together! As far as the supporting characters, I thought Aaron Johnson did a great job as Charlie, and I thought Artie was a cute character, in a goofy sort of way. Then again, I thought Jar Jar Binks was a cute character too, so maybe it's just me, LOL! But it was really neat how they "revealed" his true identity at the end!

I also really liked Chon Lin (Wang's sister) ... Fann Wong did an excellent job! I don't know if she can fight or not, but you sure believe she can when you see her in action! And it was very cute that Roy fell in love with her ... it made Jackie's character that much funnier as the overprotective "dai goh" ("big brother"). The pillow fight was an absolute scream, as were the outtakes!! In fact, I was quite surprised to find that there were very few jokes that I *didn't* find funny. I was pretty much laughing, gasping, oohing and aahing throughout the entire movie!

I also really appreciated the fact that Jackie paid homage to several of his older films, including Project A, Young Master, Fearless Hyena and Rush Hour. It's likely that most of his American fans have not seen Jackie's older work (except Rush Hour of course), so I thought it was very cool that he wanted to show them what he can really do, and indeed *has* been doing, all these years. And his "nod" to Singing In The Rain was an absolute joy to watch! Having heard Jackie explain again and again in interviews, that his style of fight choreography is like dancing, it was particularly rewarding to see him actually dancing! This was one of my favourite scenes!

The final fight with Donnie Yen on the barge, with fireworks bursting in the background, was spectacular! It may be shorter than some fans would like, and is definitely shorter than the fights from Jackie's older movies, but let's face it, Jackie *is* getting older. If we fans really care about him, I don't think we should expect him to keep performing in the same way he always has. And I'll tell you, if Jackie can put together films like this, while starting to take better care of himself, then his movies certainly won't suffer! And we, his fans, will have that much more to look forward to for years to come!

A perfect example is the very last fight, with Rathbone. The fights and swordplay were breathtaking, and the whole scene itself was very exciting. I was completely drawn into the story, and was on the edge of my seat through the whole scene! About the only thing I can think of that I didn't really like (and this is minor) was the portrayal of the Brits as sort of evil. I'm getting tired of that old chestnut. But maybe it's just because I'm British, LOL! I'm just oversensitive! Overall, this was a very light-hearted, fun, exciting and totally enjoyable film which I think will please everyone, from comedy fans to kids to die-hard "Jackie-action" fans. I loved (and still do love) Shanghai Noon, but I love Shanghai Knights even more! Two thumbs up Jackie, for creating yet another masterpiece!

DVD Dragon's Review: Saw Shanghai Knights and I must tell you that I really liked it. To start off, I am a big fan of Jackie's HK movies and basically I didn't like most of the movies released after 1998. But finally I was satisfied. SK is really great; the best I have seen in the last 4 years. There is a fight sequence in the market. And Jackie returned to his (g)olden days where anything was a weapon. He used vegetables, umbrellas, ropes, ladders, weight loads and what not. He also performed his trademark "one second" climb up. Overall there are about 4-5 action sequences. Although Jackie used some of his tricks from his previous movies, you won't feel bored as you haven't seen them for a long time. You might have already noticed that in his new movies, he doesn't show his close-up while performing some exciting stunts. Here also I doubt if he was doubled. But in the outtakes, he revealed it was he himself on the reel atleast for a couple of difficult stunts And Owen Wilson is here to make you laugh. In SK, he proves that he is a better partner to Jackie than the over-acting Chris Tucker. His silent comic scenes are much better than Tucker's screams. Altogether a nice blend of action and comedy. After watching the whole movie, I felt proud that I am a Jackie Chan Fan. At the age of 48, he did things which his American counterparts don't do themselves.

Nick V.'s Review:


The story line is not very complex but actually quite interesting compared to the first movie. The imperial seal of China has been stolen from the Forbidden City, and Jackie's father has been murdered. Now Jackie Chan needs Owen Wilson's help to recover it and save his sister in the process. Owen Wilson has invested almost all the money, and lost a large amount. And as a part time job Owen Wilson become a gigolo. Then Jackie Chan convinces Owen Wilson to travel to London to find his sister who wants vengeance. Along the way Jackie and Owen meet a lot of historical figures, and Owen falls in love with Fann Wong.

About The Actors:

Jackie Chan: Do not believe all those critiques that state that Owen Wilson has the spotlight. Jackie Chan gets to speak quite many lines in this film. I have to admit that his English improved more since Tuxedo. He does a great job with the comedy, the fights, and even some drama.

Owen Wilson: He is the movie to make people laugh, and he accomplished that job. As far as action sequences he didn't do much. He made a number of remarks towards the English, and while some of it is funny some people might get a bit offended. One thing that Owen Wilson is not good at is handling drama.

Fann Wong: She is a very talented actress, and does a good job acting opposite Jackie and Owen. She is in the movie as an action vehicle, and does not really express much emotion except in the scene where her father died.


There are a few quite entertaining comedy sequences, but I felt that Shanghai Noon was funnier. Because some scenes where advertised in the trailers so many times when you see them in the movie they become less entertaining. Some of the comedy scenes where taken out from the first movie. For example the horse that acts more like a dog, and Owen and Jackie take false name to hide from police. Also the pillow fight was a great comedy scene. One thing I can guarantee is that you will laugh at least 2-4 times in this movie for sure.


There was a little bit of drama involved and I think it worked well. The scenes that have drama in them involve Jackie Chan's father and his death. Also Jackie's father passes a box to Jackie Chan. And he tells Jackie that when he is ready he will be able to open the box, and find out a secret message.

Action Scenes:

There was an opening fight involving Fann Wong and some thugs but it wasn't very long and was wired quite a bit. I cant remember it well so I will not talk about it in the review.

Revolving Door:

Great fights but not very long. Jackie Chan moves around in the small space that he is provided with, in great speed and fashion. There is a lot of hand to hand martial arts involved, and a few neat looking kicks. Jackie Chan uses the police baton to fight off a police officer. He also interacts the luggage carrier into the fight. And at the end he does a neat hat trick(Miracles).

Market Fight:

This fight is the best since probably some of Jackie's older films. What makes this fight good is that its comedy based on Charlie Chaplins routine. Even the music that plays in the background makes this fight more fun for the viewer to watch. The main object(prop) that Jackie uses is an umbrella. But he also uses a ladder briefly, and does his typical move where he puts the trench coat back on himself. He even uses lemons in the fight as a prop. The fight also has a famous Jackie Chan move where he climbs up to the roof by using his body and feet.

Library Fight:

This is a very interesting scene and is my favorite after the market fight. Jackie Chan uses many props, which make the fight better. Here are a few moments that I like:

-Uses books to shield himself from sword attack by a villain.

-He climbs up the ladder and uses it as stilts. And he also hits his attackers with one side of the ladder, and then the other.

-Jackie puts the ladder around a thug and spins it around to hit another attacker.

-Jackie uses vases to block sword attacks.

-Jackie Chan uses statues.

As you can see books, ladders, vases, and even statues are all props in this fight. To be honest I like to think of this fight as being in two half's. First we have the fight with the ladder, and then the vases come in to the play. I think the ladder fight is genius, but I didn?t like the part with the vases that much.

Stable Fight(Brief):

This isn't a fight, but more of a scene involving firepower. The only martial arts type of move involved is when Fann Wong jumps up to the ceiling to escape when the stable is set on fire. Jackie and Owen escape by crashing through the front gate with an automobile.

Bridge Fight(Brief)-Fann Wong:

This scene involves Jack The Ripper but it's very brief. Jackie The Ripper tries to attack Fann Wong with a knife but she kicks him of the bridge down into the water with one kick. Not very interesting scene in my opinion.

Torture Scene(Brief):

Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson are tied by their feet and hanged upside down from a hook. Jackie Chan lifts himself up and bites the ropes with his teeth, He then starts swinging Owen Wilson, and jumps to the platform. A few thugs attack Jackie Chan and he uses a wheel(prop) that spins as a type of shield to block sword attacks. But the wheel is what keeps Owen Wilson from going underwater. So when you spin the wheel left Owen Wilson is underwater, and the same the other way. There was a neat move where Jackie Chan jumped underwater to rescue Owen Wilson, and the thug on the surface was firing at Jackie Chan who is underwater.

Wax Museum(Brief)

I was hopping for a quite large scene, but what I got was another short fight. Jackie Chan does show some good movement in this scene, and he makes this fight look good. Jackie Chan uses wax figures as a weapon, and there was a scene where he used two arms of wax figures to block two sword attacks. And he also used a rope to get enough height to kick some thugs in the face.

Fight in a Tent(Brief) + Sword Fight(Long):

I was very disappointed by this fight to a great extent. I guess I was expecting to much. I just want to state that Donnie Yen was not used to his full or even half of his potential. And I just didn't like how the fight switched to Fann Wong fighting. In my opinion it was quite annoying. The one thing I liked is the machine gun going off causing Jackie and Donnie not being able to stand up and fight in the ground. The fight was quite good but really short, but it did showcase Donnie Yen's amazing skills with a staff. The only weapon and a prop used by Jackie Chan in this fight is a life preserver. The end scene that had Jackie Chan fighting against Rathbone with swords. The fight is the longest one in the entire film, and showcases so quite clever choreography. But one thing that I did notice is that in a way Donnie and Rathbone were showed as being more powerful than Jackie. The fight is followed by a stunt that has Jackie and Owen falling from the hands of the clock onto the British flag and going down at the large speed ripping the flag in the process. The stunt was good but its not very exiting because we already seen something similar in the part (Tomorrow Never Dies).

There was another very short fight involving Fann Wong in the prison. She did about 2 kicks and it was over.

Historical Figures:

Jack the Ripper; Arthur Conan Doyle, Charlie Chaplin, and Queen Victoria were used in the production. To be honest I hated the actor that played Charlie Chaplin, and I am happy he got limited number of screen time. Arthur Conan Doyle's character got the most amount of time, and he did not come out as a spoof most of the time.

Sherlock Holmes Reference:

There is a scene where Owen Wilson or another character calls himself S.H. There is another scene where there is a silhouette of Jackie and Owen dressed like Sherlock Holmes, and Dr.Watson. And in another scene Arthur Conan Doyle tells about Own Wilson's personality by looking at his watch(Reference to the book). And of course the character Arthur Conan Doyle is an obvious reference.


Jackie Chan uses books, statues (metal & wax), ladder, umbrella, vases, lemons, ropes, wheel, luggage carrier, swords, life preserver, and a police baton. This movie is a prop movie, and is in Project A 2 fashion.

Re-Used Ideas From Older Films:

The scene where Jackie uses the lemon juice on his attackers is a direct sequence taken from his older classic Project A 2. Some ideas used in the ladder fight also are re-used from Jackie Chan?s First Strike but not a lot. The clock tower sequence at the end is taken from Jackie's older classic movie Project A. The scene where Jackie Chan tries not to break the vases is a similar to the scene from Rush Hour. The torture sequence has many similarities to a few older Jackie movies, but is largely similar to Accidental Spy escape scene. And finally the market fight has a scene where Jackie falls onto the covering and the other person gets send into the air. Jackie borrowed that scene from Crime Story.


I believe 2 short scenes were removed from the final fight against Donnie Yen. Also a short scene involving Jackie in armor was cut, that my guess was suppose to be in the library fight. Also I think there are a few more cuts that happened, but I am not going to point them out.


The market fight, ladder fight, and the sword fight are the longest fights in the movie. The fights are not serious in nature and are not trying to be except for the last fight. The movie is great itself, and keeps viewers interested. I liked the idea of secret passages, which was obviously borrowed from other films. The comedy was also good, and Jackie's acting skills showed. And the best thing about this movie is I can happily forget that Tuxedo was ever made. I would recommend this film to everyone just don't expect to much, and enjoy the film.

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