3.2/10
4,900
35 user 25 critic

Shanghai Surprise (1986)

Shanghai, 1938: A missionary woman hires a fortune hunter to help her find 1100 lbs. opium lost, as wounded need the morphine. Adventure and romance follows.

Director:

Jim Goddard

Writers:

John Kohn (screenplay), Robert Bentley (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sean Penn ... Glendon Wasey
Madonna ... Gloria Tatlock
Paul Freeman ... Walter Faraday
Richard Griffiths ... Willie Tuttle
Philip Sayer Philip Sayer ... Justin Kronk
Clyde Kusatsu ... Joe Go
Kay Tong Lim Kay Tong Lim ... Mei Gan
Sonserai Lee Sonserai Lee ... China Doll
Victor Wong ... Ho Chong
Professor Toru Tanaka ... Yamagani San
Michael Aldridge ... Mr. Burns
Sarah Lam ... China Doll's Maid
George She George She ... Wu Ch'En She
Won Gam Bor Won Gam Bor ... Rickshaw King
To Chee Kan To Chee Kan ... China Doll's Boatman
Learn more

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Storyline

Glendon Wasey is a fortune hunter looking for a fast track out of China. Gloria Tatlock is a missionary nurse seeking the curing powers of opium for her patients. Fate sets them on a hectic, exotic, and even romantic quest for stolen drugs. But they are up against every thug and smuggler in Shangai. Written by Mehmet Karaca <mkaraca@ibm.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A romantic adventure for the dangerous at heart.


Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of writer-producer John Kohn. See more »

Goofs

During the bathhouse scene Justin tells Glendon that the Chinese use tomato juice to remove the stench of skunks. Of course there are no skunks in China. Skunks live only in North America. See more »

Quotes

"Mr. Burns": Mr, eh?
Glendon Wasey: Wasey. Glendon Wasey.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Cinemadonna: Bloodhounds of Broadway (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Shanghai Surprise
Music & Lyrics by George Harrison
Performed by George Harrison with Vicki Brown
Courtesy of Dark Horse Records & Warner Bros. Records, Inc.
See more »

User Reviews

 
Dreary, dreadful romantic comedy
25 May 1999 | by GrammarCubSee all my reviews

"Shanghai Surprise" is an idiotic, out-of-date, poorly-acted, campy action film that wants to be a romantic comedy. Madonna, in her second starring role, had about enough acting talent at this point as a doll. Unfortunately, the doll in this movie comes off looking better than she does.

Madonna, playing a missionary (!) nurse (!!) for a Shanghai mission, is in search of opium (!!!) for medicinal purposes (!!?!!) approaches Sean Penn, an American soldier-of-fortune type who happens to speak Chinese. Penn and Madonna, who were married at the time this film were made, are obviously uncomfortable with the material and do little to justify the film's existence. Penn mugs his way through and attempts to crach a few weak jokes, while Madonna stamps her foot and places her hands on her hips as she squeaks (yes, she squeaks, and you must hear it to believe it) in frustration.

The plot is absolutely ridiculous -- Madonna and Sean Penn chasing after a mysterious cargo of opium known as "Faraday's Flowers" (incidentally, the name of the book this movie is based on) must run from a Chinese gangster with porcelain hands, have a romantic interlude with an Imperial concubine, teach baseball skills to another Chinese gangster, and (boy, aren't we surprised) sleep together to seal a deal.

This movie, like "Mommie Dearest" or "Plan Nine From Outer Space" has immense camp value because it's so deliciously awful. Utterly predictable, insipid, and full of instantly forgettable lines, this movie is the equivalent of the yellow stuff they stick on your nachos at the movie theatres -- it's not really good enough to be real cheese, but it's much cheaper and tastes pretty much the same anyway. This movie isn't even cheesy enough to be cheesy.

Avoid "Shanghai Surprise" unless, like me, you like Madonna WAY too much or if you're just a fan of bad movies.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Handmade Films Website

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 August 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Shanghai Surprise See more »

Filming Locations:

Hong Kong, China See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$17,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$729,885, 1 September 1986

Gross USA:

$2,315,683

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,315,683
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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