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Shanghai Knights

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Shanghai Knights

Starring: Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson
Director: David Dobkin
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 107 Minutes
Release Date: February 2003
Genres: Action, Comedy, Martial-Arts, Western

*Also starring: Aidan Gillen, Donnie Yen, Fann Wong

Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

This sequel to "Shanghai Noon" (2000) re-teams the odd-couple of Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson - now coping with culture clash in Victorian England. As action comedy begins, Chon Wang (Chan) has made an honorable transition from the Imperial Guard in China's Forbidden City to the sheriff of Carson City, Nevada. But when he receives word from his younger sister Lin (Fann Wong) that their father was killed by dastardly thieves who stole the Imperial Seal, he seeks out his con-man buddy Roy O'Bannon (Wilson) who, meanwhile, has created a purely-fictional Wild West hero persona in pulpy dime novels. Together, they join Lin, an accomplished kung-fu fighter, to seek revenge in London where - to Chon's dismay - a goofy romantic chemistry sparks between Roy and Lin. The politically ambitious villains are snobbish Lord Rathbone (Aiden Gillen), tenth in succession to the British throne, and Wu Chan (Donnie Yen), the Emperor's illegitimate brother. Writers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (creators of TV's "Smallville") and director David Dobkin ("Clay Pigeons") use broad comedy to play to the strengths of both actors, giving Chan the acrobatic stunt work and Wilson the comedic quips. Albeit replicated in Czechoslovakia, 19th-century London is eerily convincing - with Madame Toussaud's Wax Museum and Big Ben, plus glimpses of Jack the Ripper, Sherlock Holmes and Queen Victoria. The retro soundtrack rocks, complete with a nod to Gene Kelly's "Singin' in the Rain" umbrella scene. And I suspect this lighthearted romp can overcome the box-office title curse that befell "A Knight's Tale," "Black Knight" and "First Knight." On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Shanghai Knights" is a playfully comic, fun-filled 7. Dare I say even better than the original?

Copyright 2003 Susan Granger

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