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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

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Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

When athletes age, their bodies eventually signal that it's time to give up the sport. Jackie Chan's body might appear to have long since passed this physical point of no return, but, instead of giving up, Chan has been slowly adapting his routines to better match his changing abilities. And like a fine old wine, he actually gets better every year. Relinquishing the most rigorous of his famous Kung Fu routines in favor of something more akin to a comedic ballet, he is beginning to become the Gene Kelly of the martial arts set.

Hands down, the highlight this time is a number in which Chan uses twirling umbrellas as weapons as he repeats Kelly most famous scene from SINGIN' IN THE RAIN. If it doesn't put a smile on your face and a song in your heart, you may be in need of a medical checkup.

SHANGHAI KNIGHTS, the sequel to the hugely successful SHANGHAI NOON, again stars Chan and Owen Wilson as sidekicks Chon Wang (pronounced John Wayne) and Roy O'Bannon. Our heroes are in England in order to retrieve the Chinese emperor's imperial seal. Lord Rathbone (Aidan Gillen) killed Chon's father, who was the keeper of the seal, in order to obtain it. The new part of Chon and Roy's team is Chon's sister, Chon Lin, played by a beautiful Singapore actress named Fann Wong, whom I hope we get to see a lot more of in future American movies. She is stunning and talented.

Although there is a plot, it only serves as a framework for Chon and Roy to ham it up. Their routines are funny, and their chemistry together is as easy going and as charming as ever. One routine, for example, has Chon fighting in a fruit market where he uses lemons to squirt the eyes of his attackers. The songs are a real hoot too as they borrow liberally from England in the 1960s. Typical of these is "England Swings." You certainly will be swinging as you watch this sweet picture.

SHANGHAI KNIGHTS runs 1:50. It is rated PG-13 for "action violence and sexual content" and would be acceptable for kids around 8 and up.

My son Jeffrey, age 13, gave it ***, saying the girl was hot and the actors were funny. He liked the story, especially all of the historical references.

Copyright 2003 Steve Rhodes

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