Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
100 Greatest Videos Games Of All Time
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Empire Visits The Hobbit's VFX Team
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
4Music's Size Does Matter
Introducing your new favourite app
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12a
Cast
Jackie Chan
Owen Wilson
Fann Wong
Aidan Gillen.
Directors
David Dobkin.
Screenwriters
Miles Millar
Alfred Gough.
Running Time
114 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Internet's Own Boy: The Story Of Aaron Swartz, The
4 Star Empire Rating
A Walk Among The Tombstones
4 Star Empire Rating
Wish I Was Here
3 Star Empire Rating
Grand Seduction, The
2 Star Empire Rating
Keeper Of Lost Causes, The
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

Shanghai Knights


submit to reddit


Plot
1887. Former outlaws Chon Wang and Roy O’Bannon are reunited after Wang’s father is killed in China by Lord Rathbone, an English peer who is tenth in line to the British throne. With revenge in his heart, Wang travels with Roy to London to put a stop to Rathbone’s dastardly ways - with his kid sister in tow.


Review
Now here’s a pleasant surprise: a sequel to a pleasant surprise that’s even more pleasantly surprising than its predecessor.

When Shanghai Noon appeared in 2000, it was quickly lauded as Jackie Chan’s finest American film - praise based on decent fight scenes and the offbeat central relationship between the stoic Chan and the extremely laidback Owen Wilson.

Writers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar - who scripted the original - clearly recognise this, and so wisely eschew both the Western setting and anything resembling a coherent plot in order to focus on the two stars’ strengths.

Chan’s American movies have generally been let down not only by the star’s pidgin English (a situation addressed here by a simple solution: Chan punches, Wilson wisecracks) but by stodgy fight sequences marred by MTV editing.

Director David Dobkin, though, resists this urge and leaves Chan alone to craft some wonderfully innovative fight sequences - in a revolving door, a library, in the inner workings of Big Ben - which recall the very best of the star’s Hong Kong work.

Dobkin also leaves Wilson to his own devices and again, he’s a constant delight. His patented combo of romantic, optimistic, New Age-y, childlike awe and drawled, deadpan sarcasm is, of course, his usual schtick, but here refined to the nth degree. His chemistry with Chan is priceless; watching him confound Chan by saying, “I love you, buddy” is worth an extra star in itself.

Which is just as well, for elsewhere Dobkin drops the ball. For example if, during a sublime scene where Chan wields an umbrella, you didn’t realise that it’s an homage to Singin’ In The Rain, well, Dobkin helpfully plays the song for you. Elsewhere, he succumbs to obvious culture clash gags and oh-so-subtle references to British history (so our heroes encounter a young Charlie Chaplin and Jack the Ripper, and invent Sherlock Holmes along the way).

Quibbles aside, though, The Owen And Jackie Show is so charming that a potential third instalment is actually very appealing. Shanghai Brunch, anyone?


Verdict
Wilson and Chan - this generation’s Hope and Crosby? Okay, maybe not, but they certainly transcend decent material to make a film that is easily the equal of the original.


Reviewed by Chris Hewitt

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Rogues Gallery: Powers Boothe
Sin City's Roark talks us through his most memorable baddies

Richard Attenborough: In Celebration
Saluting a man who made a lasting impact on cinema and beyond…

Exclusive: Luc Besson Talks Lucy
'There is no bullshit with Scarlett Johansson'

Video: Daniel Radcliffe Talks What If...
On Gordon Ramsay, swearing and date movies

The 24 Best Film-Related Ice Bucket Challenges
The viral craze that won’t quit takes in some of Hollywood’s finest

Who Shot First? The Complete List Of Star Wars Changes
An exhaustive chronology of George Lucas' post-release tinkering

Film Studies 101: A Film Buff's Guide To Movie Movements
Everything you need to know about cinema's key groups

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)