Shanghai Knights

The inevitable sequel to the popular comedy-western-martial arts hybrid SHANGHAI NOON (2000) reunites East and West in 1887 London, faithfully re-creating the first film's mix-master melange of high-energy pratfalls, cultural misunderstandings, self-referential gags and anachronistic music. Sheriff Chon Wang (Jackie Chan) — everybody calls him "John...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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The inevitable sequel to the popular comedy-western-martial arts hybrid SHANGHAI NOON (2000) reunites East and West in 1887 London, faithfully re-creating the first film's mix-master melange of high-energy pratfalls, cultural misunderstandings, self-referential gags and anachronistic music. Sheriff Chon Wang (Jackie Chan) — everybody calls him "John Wayne," tee-hee — is happily cleaning up Carson City, Nev., when he gets a letter from his baby sister, Chon Lin (Fann Wong). Their father has been murdered, and the imperial seal of the Chinese emperor, which the Chon family has safeguarded for generations, is gone. Lin has followed the killer, bad Lord Rathbone (Aidan Gillen), to London and needs Wang's help avenging their father's death. Wang heads for New York, where his old partner Roy O'Bannon (Owen Wilson) is supposedly investing the rewards of their last adventure. Bad news awaits: Roy has lost every penny of their mutual fortune and is working as a waiter, part-time gigolo and writer of self-aggrandizing pulp novels. But Chon he can't stay angry at the puppyish Roy for long, especially after Roy figures out how they can stow away on a London-bound ship. Once in England, the mismatched friends cross paths with Queen Victoria (Gemma Jones), the Chinese emperor's bastard brother (Donnie Yen), Boxer rebels, bobbies, Whitechapel tarts, Buckingham Palace guards and Scotland Yard inspector Artie Doyle (Thomas Fisher), who wants to be a writer — yes, he's that Arthur Doyle, and goofy Sherlock Holmes gags abound. The wicked Rathbone, who's tenth in line for the British throne but has a plan to improve his odds, makes trouble. The womanizing O'Bannon falls for Wang's comely, high-kicking sister, cracks wise and runs at the first sign of trouble. Wang kicks ass without really hurting anyone, pulls O'Bannon's fat out of the fire at regular intervals and is roundly defeated by the Queen's English. Chan and Wilson have more effortless chemistry than the stars of most romantic comedies, and their banter is by far the best thing about this knockabout farce that's nowhere near as clever as it thinks it is. There are a couple of memorable comic moments; Lin's close encounter with Jack the Ripper (Oliver Cotton) is pricelessly underplayed. But most of the film's humor derives from smug anachronisms (the Brit-pop soundtrack, Wang and Roy's use of modern slang) and jokes about bad English food, teeth and weather that were old when Victoria was a girl.

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  • Released: 2003
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: The inevitable sequel to the popular comedy-western-martial arts hybrid SHANGHAI NOON (2000) reunites East and West in 1887 London, faithfully re-creating the first film's mix-master melange of high-energy pratfalls, cultural misunderstandings, self-refere… (more)

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