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Shanghai Noon
When the lovely Princess Pei Pei (Lucy Liu) is kidnapped from China, the Emperor dispatches three of his most fierce and noble Imperial Guards to deliver the ransom in gold to her kidnappers in...  View more >

Starring Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, Owen Wilson...  View more >

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Reviews Summary

Please Note: Reader Reviews are submitted by the readers of The BigScreen Cinema Guide and represent their own personal opinions regarding this movie, and do not represent the views of The BigScreen Cinema Guide, or any of its associated entities.

[--- See Now! ---]by  
May 26, 2000
Great Jackie Chan action. Good story. Alot of laugh out loud moments. Don't forget to stay for the outtakes.
[--- See Now! ---]by  
Jun 4, 2000
Four of us - 2 fiftyish couples - went to see this movie. We all loved it! It was great fun!

Some slapstick, some inuendo. A great 'Eastern/Western'! Stay alert for funny characterizations of old movies and characters.
[--- Wait for Rental ---]by  
Jun 11, 2000
Shanghai Noon is a paint by numbers picture done with finger-paints. There are no surprises as to where the paint is going and despite the pretty colors, it's far too messy to be considered good. In an attempt to replicate the previous success of Rush Hour, the writers have taken the "hero must travel to a strange land to save a kidnapped female" premise from the previous film and tried to shoehorn it into an Old West setting. In a sloppy attempt to disguise rehashed goods, an unsuccessful lampoon is made of Westerns. There are some amusing moments created through the sheer charisma of Jackie Chan, but overall, it's a feeble effort at displaying the skills of one of the premiere physical comedians in world cinema. The audience and Chan both deserve far better.

Like Rush Hour, Chan plays a hero who must rescue a kidnapped damsel in distress. In this case, he's a member of the Imperial Guard named Chon Wang sent to the Western territories of America, circa the late 1800s, to help deliver a ransom of 100,000 pieces of gold to a mission in Carson City, Nevada, and safely return Princess Pei Pei (Liu) to their homeland following her abduction by the traitorous Lo Fong. Following the cinematic tradition of buddy pictures, he meets up with Roy (Wilson), a bandit whom he first hates, then grudgingly befriends. The thin as onionskin premise just begs to be peppered with reams of whimsically staged displays of Chan's ballet-like fight scenes. It's a good fifteen minutes before Chan even remotely attempts a stunt. And when he does, it singularly unremarkable, involving a confrontation with some train-robbing bandits led by Roy. There is a bar fight midway through the film where Chan squirts from foe to foe, slippery as wet ice and a unique standoff between Chan wielding a horseshoe tied to a rope against armed combatants, but other than that, I'm hard pressed to view any of the other fights as especially unique to Chan. Anyone who's never seen martial arts films might be impressed, but I found myself greatly under whelmed.

Wang's partner Roy lends the movie an off-kilter skew with his surfer dude via the Old West mentality. Roy is an amiable bandit who is quixotically quirky in his approach to life. Although an acquired taste, is soft-spoken sarcasm and basic insecurity lends an interesting counterbalance to Wang's befuddled chivalry.

A cardboard cutout could have played the princess. As it stands, the fiery, charismatic Lucy Lui is criminally underused. How can we care about her fate when she is so severely underdeveloped a character? At least she fares better than Wang's American Indian bride (Brandon Merrill), who spends the entirely of the movie as a silent plot device, speaking only to deliver a trite, groan inducing punch-line at the end. Women tend to get short shrift in buddy films as window dressing, but these two aren't even given that common courtesy. It's a wonder women can even enjoy films of this type with their underlying misogynistic tone.

Amid the uninspired scenes are a few amusing nods to the classic western. At one point the men are hunted by Marshall Van Cleef (Berkeley), who looks more than passingly like Lee Van Cleef in the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Roy has a Sundance Kid look about him that is played upon in a scene where the pair plans to bust through a wooden door, guns blazing, as in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. A weaponless Wang fighting tomahawk wielding Indians puts an welcome, odd spin on the cowboys vs. Indians theme as the fight goes down with nary a six-shooter in sight, using foliage as weapons.

It's obvious this film exist as feel-good, striving merely to entertain, not educate or examinate, but that doesn't excuse some of the distracting cliches and plot holes. Midway throught the film, Wang is unknowingly married to an American Indian woman, who risks her life time and agains to save him, yet by film's end, she inexplicable swtiches allegiances, ignoring her wedding vows for another man. Wang, a man ruled by tradition, honor and principles, does the same. At one point Roy is left for dead, buried up to his neck in dirt, a vulture picking at his head. Next scene he's playing cards in a casino, no worse the wear. It's a Houdini escape that begs explaination. Why do Lo Fong and Van Cleef both think Roy and Wang have the gold? Was there a crucial scene cut explaining their fallacious thinking, seeing as how the gold never left the custody of the three other imperial guardsmen who were transporting the gold with Wang?

Buddy films rely on charisma to carry them through typically threadbare plotting. Wilson and Chan display an unusual, yet warm chemistry, but it simply isn't enough. They have fun with what they're given, but it's obvious both of their considerable talents are suffocated by Filmmaking for the Masses 101. It would have been nice to see both men's talent breath under more clever, knowing filmmaking.

Review by Scott Hunt Movie Hunt: http://netdirect.net/~hunt/index.html

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