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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
PG
Cast
Steve Coogan
Jackie Chan
Jim Broadbent
Kathy Bates
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Owen Wilson
Luke Wilson
Richard Branson
Mark Addy
John Cleese
Rob Schneider
Ewan Bremner.
Directors
Frank Coraci.
Screenwriters
Michael D Weiss
Tim McCanlies
Steven Peros
David Titcher
David Beo
David Goldstein.
Running Time
120 minutes

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Around the World in Eighty Days
Chan and Coogan star in the latest version of Jules Verne's classic


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Plot
After stealing a valuable jade Buddha from the Bank Of England, Chinese thief Lau Xing (Chan) disguises himself as French valet Passepartout and teams up with Phileas Fogg (Coogan), an eccentric inventor who has made a wager that he can circumnavigate the globe within 80 days.


Review
Given its status as a classic novel whose previous adaptation won the Best Picture Oscar in 1956, remaking Around The World In Eighty Days was always going to be a tricky task. That, however, is a poor excuse for what Wedding Singer director Frank Coraci has come up with: a leaden version of Jules Verne's classic, which tries to turn up the comedy factor yet offers only occasional flashes of inspiration. More than anything, it feels like yet another excuse for a frantic Jackie Chan kung fu-a-thon, only this time dressed up in 19th century costumes and set against various exotically painted backdrops.

Of course, no Chan movie can get away without giving the man himself a chance to show off his stunt work, and here he gets to take on legions of Chinese warriors and other enemies using all manner of improvised weaponry. But his antics feel oddly out of place in what is, after all, supposed to be a literary adaptation, and ultimately the action overshadows the central story rather than enhancing it. The poor script doesn't help either, littered with double entendres and borderline toilet gags that would be more at home in a high school comedy.

On the plus side, it looks pretty, with Coraci making the most of the foreign locations and period detail. Coogan is engaging enough as the eccentric Fogg (although his cut-glass English accent soon gives way to a long string of Victorian-era Alan Partridge-isms), and De France does her best with the love interest role. But bad guy Broadbent seems to spend much of his screen time shouting rather than being truly villainous, while Bremner reaches a career nadir as the Cocker-nee cop who forms the basis of a running gag that quickly wears thin.

What's really missing from this, ultimately, is the magic that any adaptation of this story so desperately needs, while the conveyor belt of cameo appearances (Arnold Schwarzenegger as a Turkish prince, Kathy Bates as Queen Victoria etc. etc.) gives it the feel of one of those mid-'70s movies where the main priority was to shoehorn in as many famous faces as possible, rather than make a decent movie. It livens up a bit in the last reel when Fogg's inventive brain pulls out all the stops to try to win the bet, but by that point you'll be too jaded to care.


Verdict
Very young viewers might enjoy the knockabout comedy, but by playing the entire concept for laughs, the end result loses the story's sense of adventure and ends up being more slapdash than slapstick. Jules Verne must be turning in his grave.


Reviewed by Caroline Westbrook


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Around the World in 80 Days
 

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Around the World in Eighty Days
Empire Star Rating

It succeeds in being fun

Perhaps its easy to be too negative on a film like this but that would be unfair. This is a colourful and likeable adventure film with its three leads providing some charismatic entertainment. As a film, its not great but its far from terrible. It is more for younger audiences but with such experienced actors, adults shouldnt complain seeing well known faces on screen. Plus It looked like they all had such a blast making it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by trainedasninja at 15:28, 12 September 2011 | Report This Post


I THINK IT'S GOOD

. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ciltubrid at 20:45, 20 February 2011 | Report This Post


I THINK IT'S GOOD

. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ciltubrid at 20:45, 20 February 2011 | Report This Post


Think it deserves better

It's not the funniest film ever but it's enjoyable, and it does give you a laugh. A good film to relax with and just enjoy. I wasn't a very young viewer and I enjoyed it. Plus anything with Jackie Chan is isntantly awesome :) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Whistler at 21:24, 03 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Around the World in Eighty Days

You know what, I thought this film was gonna be absolutely rubbish. But it was actually pretty good. A nice film to watch. I thought it was really fun. Certainly not terrible. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by CocoIndiana at 22:16, 03 April 2008 | Report This Post


RE: You Know What...it's ok

Watched This on Sunday night on TV. Thought it was terrible. Oh Steve. Why did you do it. Not a patch on the 80's cartoon version where Mr Fogg was a lion. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by livewire at 10:09, 01 April 2008 | Report This Post


You Know What...it's ok

Not great but certainly not the worst film you'll see. De France has charm to spare and it does look nice. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Caster at 00:03, 31 March 2008 | Report This Post


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