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Shanghai Knights (2003) Poster

Goofs

Factual errors 

The chimes of Big Ben at 12.00 were wrong. They don't immediately start with the 12 "bongs", but with the four quarter chimes.
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Anachronisms 

The London street urchin that O'Bannon chases turns out to be Charles Chaplin. The film is set in 1887; Chaplin wasn't born until 1889.
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Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was knighted in 1902.
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Aircraft contrails visible over 19th century London, and again at Stonehenge.
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The first commercially available automobile did not appear until 1888, and it looked very different from the cars seen in the movie. The particular Renault automobile owned by Rathbone was made around 1914.
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The Palace guards are shown holding Lee-Enfield rifles. These were not accepted by the British military until 1895, although the movie is set in 1887.
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The particular Lee Enfield Rifles shown with the Buckingham Palace Guards are Number 4 rifles which were not adopted until 1940.
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The facade of Buckingham Palace shown in the movie wasn't created until the 1930s.
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The Statue of Liberty is shown surrounded by scaffolding as the ship leaves New York harbor. The statue was dedicated on July 4th, 1886. All exterior work on the statue requiring scaffolding was completed by that time, although the scene is set supposedly almost a year later.
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Blue flashes in the fireworks at the end. Firework makers could not make strong blue colors at the time.
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The machine gun clearly uses tracers. Tracers were not available until World War I.
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The film was set in 1887, and ends with Roy O'Bannon talking about Hollywood and the new fascinating invention (Film) that is growing there. However, moving pictures weren't invented until 1894, in France, by the brothers Lumiére. And it took years before Hollywood came on the scene.
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Roy screams at Lin that there is a "serial killer on the loose" when speaking about Jack the Ripper. Yet the term was not coined until the late seventies by FBI agent Robert Ressler or by Dr. Robert Keppel.
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The shot of Buckingham Palace includes the Victoria Memorial in front of it, designed by Sir Thomas Brock in 1911.
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When Roy and Chong are at the Royal Palace, the red uniforms the guards are wearing didn't come around until 1904. The film is set in 1887.
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Ferdinand von Zeppelin did not seriously consider building his airship until 1890. Even though he had such plans in 1887, it is highly unlikely that anyone could invest in airships at that time as Roy did.
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One of the film's many "historical cameos" is made by Jack the Ripper. The film is set in 1887; Jack the Ripper's crime spree began in August 1888.
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Work began on Tower Bridge in 1886, but it was not completed until 1894.
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When John and Roy are leaving on the steamship, a bridge can be seen on the left crossing over the Hudson River. A Hudson River crossing was not completed until 1931.
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At Stonehenge, modern rubber radial tires can be seen on the automobile that Wang and O'Bannon stole from Rathbone.
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In the "Kung Pow Chicken" scene, when Chan is fighting with the thugs, he traps one of the thugs' hand in between two boxes. The thug is wearing modern shoes.
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When Roy is sitting in the hotel talking with the mayor's daughters, we hear "Ain't misbehavin" being played by the pianist in the background. The song was written around 1927. The movie is set in 1887.
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A wide shot of Old London Town shows Portcullis House next to the Houses of Parliament, completed in 2000.
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One of the Roy O'Bannon's book features zombies, but zombies weren't popularized until the 1930s-1960s.
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Character error 

When Chon and Roy are talking following being picked up by Lin on the way from Stonehenge, Chon calls Roy "Owen".
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Lord Rathbone would not have had to kill 10 members of the Royal family, but at least 20 to gain the throne: The Prince of Wales, his sons Albert Victor and George; Prince Arthur and his son Arthur Jr.; Prince Alfred and his son Alfred Jr.; Prince Leopold's son Prince Charles; and the Princes Christian Victor and Albert (nephews of the queen). Because British royal rule is not salic (meaning passed down along the male line, but rather, through immediate family), following the deaths of these people each of Queen Victoria's 'untitled' daughters would assume the throne in turn; Princess Louise, Princess Helena, and finally Princess Beatrice. Had these people been killed, the crown would have passed on to the eldest daughter of the Prince of Wales, Victoria, and, following her death, about 11 of her cousins in succession. Rathbone would actually have been 21st in line; not far from Roy's '20th in line' jibe.
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Lord Rathbone addresses Queen Victoria as "Your Highness". The correct form of address is "Your Majesty" or "Ma'am", although a Lord who is tenth in line to the throne should have known this.
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(at around 1h 14 mins) When the machine gun is revealed, the cartridge box is incorrectly labelled 'cartrigde'.
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In the ceremony when someone is made a Knight or a Dame, the Monarch speaks that person's full name. Doyle was born Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle. When Queen Victoria knights him, she doesn't say "Ignatius". Nor does she speak Wang's and O'Bannon's full names.
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When Lord Rathbone revealed an automatic Gatling gun and said it was British ingenuity he was partially incorrect. The Gatling gun was a hand cranked weapon that was created by Richard Gatling, American, in 1861 and patented May of 1862. The first automatic, self-powered machine gun was invented by an American born Briton, Sir Hiram Maxim in 1884 and first displayed in 1885. The Maxim gun bared little resemblance to the Gatling gun. Automatic Gatling style guns did not come about until the 1940's.
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Continuity 

Charlie's face is dirty when Wang and O'Bannon meet him. But a few minutes later, when Charlie, hiding in a crate, sneaks a peek at Wang fighting a group of thugs, his face is clean.
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During the fight in Rathbone's study one of the attackers is wearing chest armor. When the fight escalates near the ladder he is knocked over to the right of the ladder while the other attacker is stuck in the ladder. When he gets kicked by Chon he is on the left side of the ladder with no armor. In the next angle he is already standing and coming back to attack with his sword and armor.
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When Chon, Roy, and Charlie are relaxing in the fancy house, Charlie pours Roy some brandy. When Charlie sets the brandy on the table, it is sloshing around in the bottle. After a brief cut to Chon then back to Roy, the brandy is motionless.
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When Roy, John and Charlie are in the fancy house, the level of the brandy in the serving cup changes from shot to shot.
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During the fight with Rathbone, Roy's knocked outside of the tower onto the hands of the clock. While the camera inside focuses on Chon and Rathbone the silhouette of Chon's arms can be seen, but not Roy's.
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During the fighting scene in the study, the man caught in the ladder changes from a British guard to an Asian guard and back again.
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When Rathbone and Chon are sword fighting, Rathbone takes Chon's collar off with his sword and Chon reaches to his throat with his left hand. In the next shot his hand is in the air, and back to his throat in the shot after that.
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Time on Big Ben is 12:30 when Chon and Roy fall. It is 12:24 when guys are repairing it the next day. The clock was broken so couldn't have moved either forward or back on its own
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Crew or equipment visible 

When Roy is sitting with his back to the revolving fireplace, we can see a crewmember actually moving the fireplace on the left-hand side.
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Errors in geography 

After the escape from the burning barn in London, Roy and Chon crash at Stonehenge. Stonehenge is, in fact, 85 miles away.
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The real Stonehenge is located in the middle of flat grassland with roads on two sides, not amongst hills.
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Stonehenge only has 1 road running past it.
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Factual errors 

Arthur Conan Doyle was a Scottish doctor by trade, and not an English detective working for Scotland Yard, as portrayed in the film.
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Non-British citizens, such as Chon and Roy, would be not dubbed with a sword when knighted, and would not be given the title "Sir".
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After being Knighted the three of them turn to face the audience, thus turning their backs to the monarch. After being knighted a person backs away from the monarch.
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Queen Victoria is shown as ambulatory. But, in fact, by the time the story takes place, she was wheelchair-bound. She was so overcome with grief by the death of her son Leopold in 1884, she had lost the use of her limbs.
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Haggis is not black and shaped like a hot-dog. It is grey, fat and usually weighs about 500 g to 1 kg.
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Spotted Dick is a steamed pudding (cake) containing fruit. It is not what was shown.
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The film incorrectly shows Big Ben's minute hand moving in clunky steps. The clock also chimes the quarter hour, not just the hour as stated.
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All the gears in the Tower Clock are moving much too quickly. Most gears in a clock move very slowly, so that the hands move at the proper pace.
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The Union flag is hanging the wrong way round on the Big Ben Tower.
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When Roy and Chon are escaping from the Boxers and Roy is in danger of drowning one of the Boxers uses a Gatling-type weapon to shoot at Chon. The Gatling was gravity fed from a magazine on top of the weapon. No magazine is visible in this scene.
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Plot holes 

There was no one who could vindicate the main characters. There was no one who could corroborate their story because there was no one else to hear Rathbone confess, and their only source of information was a disgraced police officer.
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Revealing mistakes 

When one of the men stabs at Chon Wang during the Fleet Street fight, he hits a wooden box instead. The rubber blade of the knife curls almost all the way back as it hits the box.
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During the fight in Rathbone's study, we can see the Chinese stuntman that is obviously doubling for an English attacker caught in the ladder.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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