"I'm laughing at a Jackie Chan movie... pinch me. It can't be real."
Jackie Chan buddy flick. Oh dear. Not another Rush Hour. Thankfully, no, not another Rush Hour. Shanghai Noon is the rarest of rare films out of Hollywood. the action movie that, if you took all the action out, would still be a very enjoyable film. Chinese dignitary is kidnapped and taken to America. Jackie Chan sets out to bring her back, and hooks up with a hapless American accomplice. Okay, so maybe it is Rush Hour after all, except this one is set in the wild west, AND IT'S FUNNY!That's right, unlike the earlier Chan Hollywood efforts that relied on racial humour, wacky side characters and set pieces so large they were unfathomably unbelievable, Shanghai Noon settles itself down into a nice hum of humour, action and story. That's not to say it's Shakespeare. Hell, Jackie Chan couldn't pronounce Shakespeare, let alone star in it. But with Owen Wilson playing Jackie's partner in crime, the humour is far more edgy than the usual, and more often than not it's right out of left field.
If there's anyone more critical of Jackie Chan movies than I, you'd have a tough time comvincing me of it. I loved a lot of Chan's early non-English audience intended work out of Hong Kong and was disappointed when his US films just rehashed the same old routines he'd done better before. I abhored Rush Hour and it's racially based attempts at funniness. It was rank from start to finish and the ending must have been a joke that we didn't get.But Shanghai Noon surprised the heck out of me. I enjoyed it. A lot. I even made fun of people I know who didn't get to see it.
And that's the sign of a good flick.