Synopsis: Princess Pei-Pei (Lucy Liu) is kidnapped (surprise!) and
taken to America. Guards of
the Forbidden City are quickly dispatched to bring her back – and
promptly get either killed or lost.
Jackie Chan (who allowed her to leave in the fist place) tags
along out of remorse and a sense of duty.
Once in the US, he meets up with a young up-and-coming outlaw by
the name of Roy O’Bannon (he’s got his initials carved into the
handles of his guns – ROB, get it?) who is the main reason that the
rescue team got lost in the first place.
Together they search for the missing princess and a hoard of
Chinese loot. Cue lots of
fish-out-of-water hilarity, culture clashes galore, mutual dislike
turning into buddy-buddy lovingness and eventual respect for each
other’s nation and way of life…hang on, I’m getting a distinct
feeling of déjà vu here…
Cal's Review: The inclusion of Owen
Wilson should have made this one a hell of a lot better than Rush Hour
– and it certainly is a lot
funnier. In fact, the
humour’s the best aspect of the film – Lucy Liu seems to be on
sedatives for the most part, and there seems to be no reason for Jackie
to be in it at all except as a foil for Owen Wilson’s (admittedly
funny) patter. The problem
is that the fights are sooooo dull.
Nowhere do you get the adrenaline rush that Jackie provides so
often in his Hong Kong productions.
The scene where Jackie fights the Native Americans includes a
section where they hurl their tomahawks at him, he throws them back at
the Indians, and they catch them effortlessly and continue their
assault. While this may
provide a chuckle for those not familiar with Jackie’s Hong Kong work,
anyone who’s seen Project A part II will cringe at the blatant
recycling of a classic sight gag. And
sadly, nothing else that Jackie does in this one is really worthy of
note. He even gets upstaged
by his own horse. It’s a
crying shame, as this could have been so much better.
Score: 6.5 /10
Let me start by dating myself irrevocably. I grew up on
westerns…they were everywhere. On TV, at the theaters, in comic books
and pulp novels…I love westerns. So I was waiting with baited breath
when I first heard that my hero, Jackie Chan, was making a western
named, of all things “Shanghai Noon”, in a clever title parody of
the Gary Cooper classic “High Noon.” I wasn’t disappointed. I
loved it. What a treat to see Jackie on the big screen in sweeping
mountain vistas with “Marlborough” music playing in the back ground.
Disney, which owned the distribution rights, lost
their minds and released it the same weekend as the highly touted
Mission Impossible:2. Nevertheless, Shanghai Noon made over $50 million
domestically, which isn’t at all bad for putting an easy-going comic
horse-opera against a
high-tech guns-and-babes Tom Cruise vehicle. Disney didn’t do Jackie
any favors in the promotion department, either, so I think Shanghai Noon
was a surprising success.
I think Jackie and Owen Wilson make a great team:
they are opposite enough in temperament to compliment each other, but
have an obvious respect for each other that shows on the screen. I loved Owen’s whiney new-age cowboy character, and his
anachronistic one-liners were memorably hilarious. The Chan-Wilson
chemistry might not have the sizzle of the Chan-Tucker chemistry, but it
also lacks the hard-edged nastiness of Tucker’s constant racial
The action in Shanghai Noon isn’t its greatest
appeal, to be honest, although it does have some really fine moments: in
the classic barroom brawl scene Jackie delivers a neat series of little
kicks to his opponent, and finishes off with a beautiful roundhouse kick
to the head that just made me sigh with satisfaction. In another highly
inventive fight scene he adapts a traditional Chinese rope-fighting style by
tying a horseshoe to the end…ow! that’s gotta hurt! But for
the most part, the fight scenes are once again filmed too close to see
all the action, and are too chopped up (which, according to the
behind-the-scenes footage is Jackie’s own doing!)
I think the most fun for me in watching Shanghai
Noon is the obvious love that first time director Tom Dey has for the
classic western. He throws in every cliché from every B-movie John
Wayne and Gary Cooper ever made, with huge doses of Butch Cassidy and
the Sundance Kid, topped off with a dash of Clint Eastwood spaghetti
western. You got hangin’s, barroom brawls, brothels, wild Injuns
(that say “How!"), and at one point the sheriff’s henchmen actually
aim their six-shooters at Jackie’s boot-toes and play a game of
“Let’s make the Kid dance!”
I almost choked on a juju-be at that one! Coupled with this is
Dey’s obvious respect for Jackie’s movies: he recycles a nifty
hatchet-trick from Project A, and the jump-through-the handcuffs trick
from Who Am I. I think that since this movie was aimed at main-stream
American audiences, this is a great way to let viewers enjoy a brilliant
piece of Jackie’s comic repertoire that they would not otherwise get a
look at: very few Americans have seen or will ever see Project A or most
of Jackie’s other older movies.
I think if this movie has flaws (and it does)
it’s the female characters. Lucy Liu is pretty much wasted as Princess
Pei Pei, and Jackie’s Indian wife (played by rodeo champion Brandon
Merrill) is only slightly more important to the story than his horse,
surfacing when she is needed to get the boys out of a corner the
writers have placed them in, and then mysteriously disappearing until
she’s needed again. Indeed, there
is a delicious irony in the scene in which O'Bannon is telling Falling
Leaves that her Chinese husband comes from "a very male-dominated
society." But bad guys Roger Yuan and Xander
Berkely, playing psychotic killer sheriff Nathan Van Kleef, (in homage
to actor Lee Van Kleef who squinted and sneered his way through
countless spaghetti westerns of the 60s) are just perfect.
Another flaw that got my goat was a theme running
through the film that I call East meets West, and West is Best. Several times
O’Bannon tells Chon Wang “The sun may rise where you come from but
this is where it sets,” and at the end, Wang finally realizes the
superiority of the western man’s way of thinking and decides to stay
in the US. This second kind of chauvinistic attitude didn’t really set
too well with me either, I must admit.
But all in all, I think this movie is a great way
to kill a couple of hours, or even more if you get the feature-packed
Bruno Chen's Review: It is a funny
movie but very good the punch´s and kick´s of jackie is a powerful
Review: Good movie. But like most of Jackie's Hollywood movies, not so
great at action. But for some reason i like this movie. It has some good
settings, great humor and it really brings out the Jackie Chan charm.
After Chris Tucker, Owen Wilson may be the best on-screen duo with chan.
Its definitly not his best movie, but it is still worth wathing.
Go Player's Review: Jackie Chan's another Hollywood movie.
I should say I enjoyed the comedy of this film. However, I was
kind of disappointed by the fighting scenes. They seem kind of
slow compare to other Jackie Chan films. Also, it seems to me that
the actions are out of beats. I love it when Jackie's moves kind
of falls to the right beat. Like a song. This movie didn't
give me any of those pleasures.
Owen Wilson is one of the best Jackie's partners ever. He is
funny, he can act, and most of all he speaks English that I can
Over all, it's a good comedy. But not an average JC action film.
Review: I thought this movie was hallarious i enjoyed it a lot seeing i
am a martial
arts fan (and learn martial arts myself) i thought it was really
J's Review: I have to admit, I am quite surprised by the amount of
negativity surrounding the reaction to this film. I loved it!
As already mentioned Owen Wilson is a much easier to digest as a foil
for Chan and vice-versa, some lovely comedy moments here.
Yes, the fighting is no where near as good as his HK stuff, but the
horseshoe?rope fight more than made up for me. I had never seen Jackie
do this sort of weapon fight before and it blew me away! Beat that Jet
What really annoyed me was the horrendous CGI work that was done on the
train sequence where Jackie jumps from one coach to another - absolutely
However, despite its obvious flaws, the film is so charming, infectious,
warm and colourful that I couldn't help getting caught up in the
Oh yeah, I also loved his gun spin at the end, typical Jackie trademark.
Take something simple and worked to death and make something new and
utterly brilliant out of it, and yet still make it look simple!
Roll on Shanghai Knights with Donnie Yen - woo hoo! I can't wait!
Review: This is my fav. of all Jackie's Hollywood movies. Sure the action and fights are a not the 'classic' Jackie, but face it, he IS getting older. If he gets audiences used to this style of action, he can keep making movies for a few more decades. He has been quoted to say that if he can no longer do his own fighting and stunts that he will retire.
Back on track, one of my fav. scenes out of many I liked was the scenes with the
drinking game! I should be getting a copy of this in the mail in a few
Ojje's Review: This is a rubbish movie the action is horrible my dad
thinks its funny but it is boring. Chan's fighting skills were just as good
as a person who has never been in a fight at all. Total garbage don't see this movie because it is not the real
Review: This is not a great movie, but is quite funny. It's a little different, and Owen Wilson is quite amusing. Be prepared for something a little different, and you'll have some fun with this one. And
be ready to be singing Kid Rock's ""Cowboy"" after you walk out of the