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Shanghai Nights review
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Old 22 Feb 2003, 10:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Shanghai Nights review

Since 2000¹s "Shanghai Noon," Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson have been matched with other partners, with disastrous results. Remember "The Tuxedo," starring Chan and Jennifer Love Hewitt, and "I Spy," with Wilson and Eddie Murphy?

As they demonstrated in the first "Shanghai," film, these two have a uniquely wonderful chemistry. That chemistry is still going strong in "Noon¹s" action-comedy sequel, "Shanghai Knights."

When Chon Wang's (Chan) father is murdered by thieves who steal the Chinese imperial seal, Wang's sister, Chon Lin (Fann Wong), tracks them to London. So does Wang, now a sheriff in the Old West, pausing briefly in New York to pick up his old partner, Roy O¹Bannon (Wilson).

Once in London, they team up with a kindly Scotland Yard inspector named Artie Doyle (Thomas Fisher), who wants to be a writer someday (hmmm . . .). They discover that the robbery is part of a scheme concocted by a rotten royal named Lord Rathbone (Aidan Gillen), currently 10th in line to the throne and eager to move to the front. Along the way, there are cameos by such eminent Victorians as Queen Victoria, Jack the Ripper and Charlie Chaplin (though you won't recognize him).

Granted, the plot is pretty lame. But did anyone ever go to a Hope and Crosby road movie for the plot? Same goes for Abbott and Costello and Martin and Lewis. You go because the stars are so much fun together. So it is with Chan and Wilson. Only, they're both sexy, and Chan can do stuff that Dean Martin and Bud Abbott never dreamed of.

Wilson is so charming that his Hey Dude ¹tudeattitude isn't in the least annoying. For instance, he likes to remind the stuffy British about the Revolutionary War. And, waking up in the English countryside, he complains, "Who would leave a pile of stones in the middle of a field?" The camera pulls back to reveal Stonehenge.

Chan isn't quite as nimble as he once was, but he can still do things most 20-year-olds would pass on. And his choreography is as sharp as ever. There's a knockout fight in a London market and some fancy footwork in the innards of Big Ben. However, his tour de force is a bit with umbrellas as "Singing in the Rain" plays on the soundtrack. Even Gene Kelly would applaud.

Actually, "Shanghai Knights" is stuffed with movie references. Lord Rathbone is named after the great actor Basil Rathbone, who played Sherlock Holmes in the movies. Wilson gets to slap a horse-drawn cab with Dustin Hoffman's immortal "Hey, I'm walking here," from "Midnight Cowboy."

In many ways, the movie is like a ¹60s flickmovie set in olde London. There's the same cheeky tone and anachronistic playfulness,. There are even some period'60s novelty tunes like "Winchester Cathedral." and "England Swings" (like a pendulum do).

"Shanghai Knights" isn't brilliant, but it's amiable and sometimes hilarious escapist stuff. Besides, don't you want to see Sheriff Chon Wang give his horse a pat and tell it, "Stay here and be a good horsey" as he heads overseas?

Of courseYou know you do.
My take on this movie...I saw it and its not to bad but not as funny as the first one or nowehere near as funny as the Rush Hour "Trilogy"...third one is coming out in 2004-05...
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