Shanghai Noon

"Good"

Shanghai Noon Review


"Shanghai Noon" is a Jackie Chan flick set in the Old West. If that inventive screwball setup isn't enough by itself to get you itching to see the movie, please feel free to read on.

The sanguine sovereign of the kung-fu caper comedy, Chan stars as a subservient Chinese imperial guard who is part of a rescue party dispatched to America in pursuit of a kidnapped princess (Lucy Liu from "Ally McBeal"), who is being ransomed by a traitorous expatriate and his cowboy cohorts in Carson City, circa 1881.

After he's separated from his high-born countrymen during a railroad robbery Chan resolves to rescue the princess himself and reluctantly buddies up with the ever-glib, handsomely broken-nosed Owen Wilson ("Bottle Rocket," "The Minus Man," "The Haunting"), one of the incompetent outlaws who stuck up the train.

While the ingenuously charming Chan is having a blast injecting his Buster Keaton-inspired martial arts shtick into a cowboys-and-Indians motif (train-top-fu, pine branch-fu, Sioux-fu, Saloon-fight-fu), Wilson starts stealing scenes himself with his trademarked, peculiarly casual, nonplussed smirks of mirth.

The ideal ironic cowboy, his whole performance is like Indiana Jones in that moment from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" when the crowd parts, the Egyptian swordsman threateningly spins his huge blade, then an exhausted Indy rolls his eyes and just shoots the guy. Wilson has that sense of farcical horseplay ingrained in his personality, and it makes for great odd-couple chemistry with Chan as they accidentally become wanted men when their individual nemeses (the kidnappers and a crooked local sheriff) gang up on them.

An endless array of hilarious Western high jinks are supplied by writers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (they wrote "Lethal Weapon 4"), but rookie director Tom Dey wisely lets these two journeyman comics have their improvisational way with the script. The result is a movie that never stops being capriciously entertaining even during lulls in the action.

"Shanghai Noon" could have done with more of Chan's endlessly inventive fight scenes, and it feels much longer than its 105 minutes. But the only place the movie really falls down is in its criminal neglect of its potentially great female characters.

Perfectly cast as the kidnapped princess, the beautiful, saucy Lucy Liu is wasted when it comes to the action. You know that girl could kick some serious ass, but Dey confines her to damsel-in-distress mode. She gets off exactly three karate kicks in the course of the film. What a bummer.

Then there's the Indian girl Chan accidentally marries after getting fractured on a peace pipe with some friendly natives. Every time he and Wilson get themselves in a fix, she shows up to rescue them with some sharp shooting, then disappears completely -- frequently without as much as a word of dialogue -- until they're in trouble again.

"Shanghai Noon" has the same capricious, winking take on Westerns as the 1994 film version of "Maverick." But at least in that picture Jodie Foster got a piece of the action, playing flirtatious, self-sufficient foil to Mel Gibson's glib hero. The girls in this movie might as well be props.



Shanghai Noon

Facts and Figures

Genre: Action/Adventure

Run time: 110 mins

In Theaters: Friday 26th May 2000

Box Office Worldwide: $56.9M

Budget: $55M

Distributed by: Buena Vista Internationa

Production compaines: Touchstone Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 79%
Fresh: 105 Rotten: 28

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Chon Wang, as Roy O'Bannon, as Princess Pei Pei, as Nathan Van Cleef, Brandon Merrill as Indian Wife, as Lo Fong, Yu Rong-Guang as Imperial Guard, Ya Hi Cui as Imperial Guard, Eric Chen as Imperial Guard, as Andrews, as Wallace, Adrien Dorval as Blue, Rafael Báez as Vasquez, Stacy Grant as Hooker in Distress, Kate Luyben as Fifi, as Royal Interpreter, Russell Badger as Sioux Chief, as Little Feather, Sam Simon as Chief's Sidekick, Alan C. Peterson as Saddle Rock Sheriff, Rad Daly as Saddle Rock Deputy

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.