Shanghai Noon

Jackie Chan in the Old West... that sounds like a good idea, and it is. Unfortunately, what came of it is an uneasy mix of post-modern, self-referential archness and spaghetti Western bravado. Chan stars as Chon Wang (bad running gag: sounds like "John Wayne"), a palace guard from China's Forbidden City who's dispatched to America to rescue a kidnapped princess...read more

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Reviewed by Steve Simels
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Jackie Chan in the Old West... that sounds like a good idea, and it is. Unfortunately, what came of it is an uneasy mix of post-modern, self-referential archness and spaghetti Western bravado. Chan stars as Chon Wang (bad running gag: sounds like "John Wayne"), a palace guard from China's Forbidden City who's dispatched to America to rescue a kidnapped princess (a suitably regal Lucy Liu). Before the never-in-doubt denouement, Chon bonds with anachronistically wisecracking, outlaw-wannabe Roy O'Bannon (Owen

Wilson); marries the Indian princess of a tribe that refers to him as Husband Who Fights in Dress; runs afoul of a psychotic sheriff (Xander Berkeley) coincidentally named after Western movie icon Lee Van Cleef; and finds the time for several genre action set pieces — a tomahawk fight, a barroom brawl, a dusty street shoot-'em-up — that showcase his ability to do MATRIX-style stunts without the aid of computer trickery. There are some funny lines scattered throughout this, and first time director Tom Dey has a pretty good eye; he may not be Bertolucci, but the film's opening scenes in the Forbidden City are suitably LAST EMPEROR-ish. Still, the overall level of "wink here" humor is ultimately tiresome. In fact, it's too bad screenwriters Alfred Gough and Miles Millar didn't have enough faith in their premise to play it straight; if they had, they might have produced a classic rather than a BLAZING SADDLES without the courage of its convictions.

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: Jackie Chan in the Old West... that sounds like a good idea, and it is. Unfortunately, what came of it is an uneasy mix of post-modern, self-referential archness and spaghetti Western bravado. Chan stars as Chon Wang (bad running gag: sounds like "John Way… (more)

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