Despite trying to keep his swashbuckling to a minimum, a threat to California's pending statehood causes the adventure-loving Alejandro de la Vega (Banderas) -- and his wife, Elena (Zeta-Jones) -- to take action.
A 19th century Western. Chon Wang is a clumsy Imperial Guard to the Emperor of China. When Princess Pei Pei is kidnapped from the Forbidden City, Wang feels personally responsible and insists on joining the guards sent to rescue the Princess, who has been whisked away to the United States. In Nevada and hot on the trail of the kidnappers, Wang is separated from the group and soon finds himself an unlikely partner with Roy O'Bannon, a small time robber with delusions of grandeur. Together, the two forge onto one misadventure after another. Written by
Jackie Chan brings his brand of physical comedy to Hollywood with another buddy movie. Similar to his "Rush Hour" series with Chris Tucker, Chan sets this one in the American old west and chooses Owen Wilson as his partner.
I like these better than the Rush Hours. Tucker and Owen are both excellent playing opposite Chan in both series, but the Shanghai series seems to offer Jackie better venues for his elaborate fight sequences. Saloons, brothels and even wilderness settings are used with great success.
And make no mistake, the fight sequences are what make (or break) a Jackie Chan movie. "Fight sequence" of course means something different in a Chan movie as opposed to normal action fare. Rather than true violence, Jackie's fight scenes are more Vaudeville than "Pulp Fiction". More Chaplin than Jet Li. Each fight is painstakingly choreographed to interact with the set surrounding it. Tables, chairs, vases, antlers, shrubbery... the list goes on.
A successful Jackie Chan movie seems to contain a comedy-oriented story, a lightly delivered moral message, and lots of action. Shanghai Noon certainly delivers here.
I spent the entire movie either chuckling to myself or laughing out loud, and had a very satisfied smile when the credits rolled. Highly recommended.
7 out of 10.
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