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Overall Rating
4.13

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 Rob Gonsalves

"Goofy fun."
4 stars

I would prefer not to say that Jackie Chan, by the sheer power of his goofy charisma, is able to cut our IQs in half and make us accept cornball, lowball humor. I'd much rather say that he wins us over -- invites us to become undiscriminating eight-year-olds for two hours, laughing at whiskered jokes and hooting at elaborate displays of chop-socky. If Chan has a co-star of equal charisma -- Michelle Yeoh in 'Supercop,' say, or Owen Wilson in 'Shanghai Noon' -- so much the better.

Shanghai Noon is perfectly pleasant doofus entertainment. Approaching 50, Jackie Chan still hasn't lost his taste for slapstick mayhem; he dives into it with the gusto of a man half his age, though perhaps a little more slowly these days. (Gone, it seems, are the days when Chan could vanquish hordes of villains in one amazing, unbroken cut; he's beginning to rely on editing to help him out.) But Chan can still clown with the best of them, and now that Jim Carrey is starting to dabble in more mature fare, Chan is the last great physical comedian.

He gets a workout in Shanghai Noon, which transplants him from the Forbidden City of China to the Wild West (it's 1881). Chan plays Chon Wang, a bumbling Imperial Guard who goes to America to find the kidnapped Princess Pei Pei (Lucy Liu), apparently so named only so that someone can mispronounce it. Chon encounters an equally bumbling train robber, Roy O'Bannon (Wilson), who performs roughly the same function Chris Tucker did in Chan's 1998 Rush Hour -- except that, unlike Tucker, Wilson isn't actively annoying. Aloof at first, the two men gradually warm to each other, in the time-honored buddy-movie fashion.

The movie walks the line between good stupid humor and embarrassing stupid humor, and usually manages to stay on the good side. Partly, I think, it's because Shanghai Noon has been made with sincere affection for the Western genre; this isn't a cold, wannabe hip mess like Wild Wild West. Though allegedly set in 1881, the film hardly tries to be true to how people talked or acted back then, especially in the case of Roy, who is so 20th-century he's as much a fish-out-of-water as Chon is -- Roy may be the only cowboy in movie history who engages in self-defeating inner monologues ("You're gonna die. He's gonna kill you") during a gunfight. Roy owes a lot to Gene Wilder's character in Blazing Saddles; the movie cribs a lot more than that from Mel Brooks' groundbreaking spoof, but if you're in the mood for Shanghai Noon you're not really in the mood for originality.

It also helps that the movie is as light-hearted as Chan himself. The director, Tom Dey, is a Brown University graduate and TV-commercial veteran (he works for Ridley Scott's firm) making his feature debut; he distributes the gags at a steady pace, and if one of them isn't that great, he shrugs and sets up the next one. And he has a fine team in Chan and Wilson, whose acting styles -- Chan's antic slapstick and wounded dignity, Wilson's laid-back befuddlement and contemporary irony -- mesh so well that the characters actually seem to have a history together by the end. This is one summer movie I wouldn't mind seeing a sequel to.

One slight disappointment for Chan fans will be the end credits, which traditionally show outtakes of Chan hurting himself when a stunt goes wrong. We enjoy these outtakes not because we like to see Chan in real pain, but because it adds to our appreciation of what he goes through to entertain us. Here, the outtakes mostly amount to Chan blowing his lines, which indicates that he's not taking as many risks as he used to -- that, heaven forbid, he's actually becoming sensible in his autumn years.

Well, if Chan's looking for a way to pass gracefully into less strenuous movie work, he could do worse than 'Shanghai Noon,' which gives him a serviceable script, a director who stays out of the way, and a bright co-star. I hope Chan remembers that formula during the next decade or so.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1777&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/14/07 12:59:17
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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
9/20/03 JackieChanFan - JACKIE CHAN RULESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS ASK ME IF I GIVE A S*** {JACKIE CHAN IS SO AMAZING. HE IS SO FUNNY. I LOVE JC. 100%JC 5 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 bizkit252@hotmail.com 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 tayyab_shahpkhotmail.com 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
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  26-May-2000 (PG-13)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  10-Aug-2000 (M)


Directed by
  Tom Dey

Written by
  Alfred Gough
  Miles Millar

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



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