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Overall Rating

Awesome: 27.73%
Worth A Look63.03%
Average: 5.04%
Pretty Bad: 2.52%
Total Crap: 1.68%

8 reviews, 71 user ratings

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Shanghai Noon
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by EricDSnider

"A comedy duo that really works."
4 stars

As much as I enjoy Jackie Chan, I'm going to have to say it: The best thing about "Shanghai Noon" is his partner, Owen Wilson.

Wilson's method of line-delivery, in which he sounds like he's ad-libbing everything (and often is, from what I understand), has worked extremely well for him in quirky films like "Bottle Rocket." His voice is both sardonic and nave-sounding, sort of a polite whine, and he has a way of tossing off lines like they were afterthoughts that is endlessly amusing.

This style is downright hilarious in "Shanghai Noon," in which he plays Roy O'Bannon, an 1881 Wild West train robber. He has all the accoutrements of an bad guy (including his own band of outlaws), but the sensibilities of a modern-day softie. (He stops to reflect on the musical sound of a rushing stream, for example.)

O'Bannon meets up with Jackie Chan's character, Chon Wang, when Chon is sent from China to rescue the kidnapped Princess Pei Pei (Lucy Liu) from a Chinese labor camp (recall that it was the Chinese who slaved away at building the railroads in the American west). Together, they become a duo that, yeah, is your typical movie "odd couple," where the humor is supposed to result because the two people are so different. What sets Chan and Wilson apart, though, is that they actually ARE funny together, and not just because of the contrasts involved. Wilson's character is so hard to define -- he's an inept criminal and a sensitive guy, but not in the generic way those types are usually shown in movies -- that the humor must, of necessity, come from his and Chan's interaction, not their inherent racial or other differences.

And so we have Roy trying to teach Chon how to ride a horse and shoot a gun, and Chon showing Roy a Chinese drinking game. Roy learns loyalty and respect from Chon, and Chon learns Wild West law (i.e., anarchy) from Roy. (OK, so the lessons aren't very deep. So what?)

Wilson manages his scenes without Chan just fine, carrying things along with his understated humor and charm. Chan does not fair so well. When he's not fighting, he needs to be partnered with someone, and even though this is a buddy picture, it's 45 minutes into it before the two buddies officially team up. This should happen sooner, because Wilson and Chan make a fantastic comedy duo.

Chan's trademark martial arts skills are no less impressive here than they have been elsewhere (one just wishes he'd use them more during that slow first act). In fact, the man is amazing. What makes his fighting so much more entertaining than even the Master, Bruce Lee's, is that Chan uses his environment. He knows we have short attention spans, and that we've seen enough hand-to-hand combat to where it no longer interests us. So when he's fighting Indians in the woods, he uses tree branches. In a barroom brawl, he uses the antlers from a stuffed moose head. In a street fight, he uses a horseshoe tied to a rope. One suspects that, were he underwater, he'd use a scuba mask and a jellyfish to beat the crap out of his opponents. His acrobatic, gravity-defying moves are a wonder to behold, and this film gives him plenty of opportunity to show them.

"Shanghai Noon" takes too long to get going, and occasionally resorts to stupid movie tricks like Roy accidentally saying something disparaging of Chon and Chinese people in general, leading to a rift between the two buddies. But plot holes and small missteps aside, the movie is wonderfully, smartly funny, an entertaining treat to watch.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 07/06/03 19:40:46
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User Comments

12/08/09 Jeff Wilder Chan and Wilson work well together 4 stars
10/22/08 Shaun Wallner Laughed my ass off! 4 stars
5/30/06 Kaitlin Prince I freakn' love these two together! Jackie is physically amazing and Owen is hysterical 5 stars
5/16/06 Ouchy wouchy bang bang funny Fun to watch. If this is the film you like you'll love this movie 4 stars
9/02/05 Tom Burns Very funny movie. Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson make a great team. 5 stars
7/28/05 Quigley one of jackie chan's best. the horseshoe sequence was insane. owen was equally funny. 5 stars
6/02/05 Chris A desent comedy worth a few laughs 3 stars
1/31/05 Paul both main actors are good 4 stars
1/24/05 keithers.. Chan has gone hollywood....(Chan fans...look for Yuen Biao) 2 stars
7/28/04 dick hertz awesome niggar 5 stars
5/31/04 Nobody Kind of funny. Very weird. 3 stars
5/19/04 John reminiscent of the old Terence Hill/Bud Spencer movies - story taken from RED SUN - cute 4 stars
12/30/03 tatum Wilson and Chan are equally funny 4 stars
8/03/03 MJM103171 Excellent! It is cinematic literature. 5 stars
7/27/03 peter cox really good 5 stars
7/09/03 natasha_theobald Chan and Wilson make an oddly irresistable pair 4 stars
4/01/03 R.W. Welch Imaginative comic actioner, numerous yuks. 4 stars
2/03/03 Turtle Much, much better than expected! Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson together...and it's great! 4 stars
5/17/02 Priscilla Postelthwaite Typical Jackie Chan fare - more zany high jinks than plot lucidity. 4 stars
2/22/02 sweet and a western i like westerns like that one! 5 stars
2/21/02 Xaver Dumb. Cute. See it. 4 stars
12/03/01 Mike Scriven Excellent comedy/western/kungfu/buddy flick 5 stars
11/30/01 Rutt13 Lots of fun, Owen Wilson rulz!!!! 4 stars
8/08/01 Mr. Hat My brother & I love 2 go see Jackie Chan pics together.This is 1 of our best theater trips. 4 stars
7/02/01 TLsmooth Owen Wilson is fucking hilarious....Chris Tucker and Rush Hour 2 can eat my shit. 5 stars
5/09/01 Jake Not too shabby. Wilson has some classic lines. 4 stars
5/07/01 Meridith owen and Jackie were hilarious!! The bath tub scene was the best!!!! 5 stars
4/26/01 tayyab_shahpk 2 stars
4/19/01 fifu a poor jackie chan movie see legend of drunken master 2 stars
4/14/01 kiren khan very nice 1 stars
3/04/01 bullit17 Not bad. Not great, but certainly not bad. 4 stars
3/04/01 Sytse Faber A very good movie! You should really watch it sometime. The best actioncomedy ever! 5 stars
11/29/00 clark damn that Brandon Merrill(the indain wife) is HOT! and legal too! 5 stars
10/12/00 Richie Cunningham Jackie Chan kicks serious ass, weapons, laughs and some good stunts a big budget chan flick 5 stars
10/11/00 The Bomb 69 the beginning and ending were slow but the middle was awesome and hilarious!! 4 stars
9/04/00 FishieDoc Great movie, I laughed through the whole thing. 5 stars
8/16/00 Larwence G. Allotta A fun movie with lots of silly little twists to the plot that are amusing and entertaining. 4 stars
8/13/00 acestorm_2000 Very,fan & cool movie .I am a big Jackie Chan s fan. 5 stars
8/11/00 Poohtoo I like Jackie, Owen & Lucy, but the movie was so average, I'm a bit disappointed 3 stars
7/17/00 Doctor Collosus Best movie of the Summer. Great action. Great humor. Even had great visuals/cinematography. 5 stars
7/16/00 Roman Those damn asians make me laugh 5 stars
7/01/00 FRED OHH 5 stars
6/29/00 PJ This movie was fucking great, Owen Wilson stole the show, almost. great flick 5 stars
6/27/00 Overserved Any movie with a bar room brawl set to ZZ Top's La Grange is A #1 with me. 4 stars
6/26/00 Clare Much better than it looks in the trailers. 4 stars
6/21/00 Heather Really enjoyed it, but there again I am a Jackie fan! 5 stars
6/17/00 Darren Shea Perfect balance of humor and action for fans of Jackie Chan's films 5 stars
6/16/00 R.A.T It was really good & really funny. 5 stars
6/14/00 Krystal Most enjoyable Chan movie in a long time- both good humor and good fighting 4 stars
6/13/00 JonnyA Didn't expect much, but... 4 stars
6/12/00 michael missos great 5 stars
6/12/00 EWillieL Zeitgeist needs a new handle. Jackie goes bigtime in style. 4 stars
6/11/00 Draugluin Owen has some great scenes. See this if you run out of better movies. 3 stars
6/08/00 Bueller Rush Hour was better. Best stuff was shown in the previews. The Chan man can do better. 3 stars
6/07/00 Zeitgeist Further proof that Average Joe American is mindless...this movie was shit. 1 stars
6/07/00 Alma Marquez Kick ass funny! 4 stars
6/02/00 siro no reason not to see it 4 stars
6/01/00 PJ oh man this movie is just great, Owen Wilson practically stole the show, funny as hell 4 stars
6/01/00 malcolm very good but not nearly the best of Jackie Chan 4 stars
5/31/00 PhilmPhreak Go see this movie - great entertainment! 5 stars
5/31/00 Derek K. It's Jackie Chan. It's a comedy. It's Owen Wilson. Why haven't you seen it yet? 5 stars
5/30/00 arnold mi:2=just good action shangahi noon=more than good action 5 stars
5/29/00 Captain Highcrime The one movie this weekend where you're supposed to laugh your ass off at the characters. 4 stars
5/28/00 Ryan Great! Very entertaining! 5 stars
5/28/00 Mike Earrp Chan's the man. Wilson delivers his lines really well. It's light-hearted and fun 5 stars
5/27/00 DatherFrawdad just seemed dull even with some nice fights. 3 stars
5/27/00 Makaveli the Don See this movie and not that MI2 crap! 5 stars
5/26/00 Danield definately jackie best state side film 5 stars
5/24/00 Chen Kenichi Deadlands/Doomtown fans will love it =) 5 stars
5/21/00 Cinesuerte Great flick better than Rush Hour better fight scenes, Owen Wilson is hilarious. Jet who?? 5 stars
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  26-May-2000 (PG-13)


  10-Aug-2000 (M)

Directed by
  Tom Dey

Written by
  Alfred Gough
  Miles Millar

  Jackie Chan
  Owen Wilson
  Lucy Liu
  Brandon Merrill
  Roger Yuan
  Xander Berkeley

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