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Shanghai Noon

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

Starring: Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson
Director: Tom Dey
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 105 Minutes
Release Date: May 2000
Genres: Action, Comedy, Martial Arts

*Also starring: Lucy Liu, Curtis Armstrong, Xander Berkeley, Rongguang Yu, Jason Connery, Henry O

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Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

The classic Western gets a kick in the pants when East meets West and Jackie Chan tosses the tumbleweed. He plays a Chinese Imperial Guard who tags along when the Emperor sends three of his cohorts to America, circa. 1890, to ransom and rescue Princess Pei Pei (Lucy Liu) who has been kidnapped from the Forbidden City. So there he is - Hong Kong's contemporary Buster Keaton knocking around all the cowboys & Indians & Asians cliches as he crosses Nevada. He's named Chon Wang, pronounced "John Wayne," and there are obvious allusions to "High Noon." About half-way through the story, the buddy theme kicks in, as Chan befriends a bumbling wannabe outlaw, played strictly for laughs by Owen Wilson. Director Tom Dey, whose previous experience is in TV commercials, blatantly telegraphs what's gonna happen in advance so there aren't too many surprises - like when Chan and the Native Americans pass the peace pipe. Writers Alfred Gough & Miles Millar heap on the racial and ethnic stereotypes but, in general, they let Jackie Chan do a lot of what he does best: acrobatic fighting. There are clever touches - like an amusing trick horse, an inebriated bubble bath in a bordello, and making unlikely use of antlers and horseshoes. Unlike other grim martial artists, Chan radiates warmth and humor which makes him irresistibly appealing between the action sequences. So how does "Shanghai Noon" compare with "Rush Hour"? "Rush Hour" is set in a contemporary urban environment which may be easier for much of Chan's audience to relate to than the gunslingers of the Wild West. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Shanghai Noon" is a light-hearted, silly, irreverent 7. And don't leave before the final "out-take" credits - they're the best of all.

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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