Shanghai Noon Movie Review
If anyone tells me that Rush Hour is a better movie than Rumble in the Bronx, I'll kick their ---. And especially if anyone says that Rush Hour is a better Jackie Chan movie than Rumble in the Bronx, I'll have to check their sanity, because there is a big difference between a Jackie Chan movie and a movie that stars Jackie Chan. Thankfully, ninety percent of the movies with Jackie Chan in them are Jackie Chan movies, but his two most recent films, both American-made films, Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon, are anything but. Thankfully, we don't have to sit through the horrible dubbing, but we do have to put up with less action and more comedy from American co-stars.
As a comedy, Shanghai Noon is better than Rush Hour, which was pretty funny on its own. Chris Tucker in Rush Hour was a powerhouse that Jackie Chan's action couldn't put up with, and the same thing holds true for Shanghai Noon. Owen Wilson is even better than Tucker, with tons of one-liners and sarcastic humor. He even beats out Jackie Chan's amazing cuteness in the film, which shines more than any other of his films. Unfortunately, as a Jackie Chan vehicle, Shanghai Noon should have tons of action. But gone are the films of old with action scene after action scene. Instead, we get mild-mannered action scene followed by a lot of comedy, and then another mild-mannered action scene. In fact, we have to wait until the end of the film to see any of the serious action, and even then there aren't many major stunts.
Do you know what would be cool? Having John Woo direct Jackie Chan in an action movie. But until then, I guess we have to settle for these two American Jackie Chan-starring movies that seem to be more worried about cracking jokes and promoting their American co-stars than satisfying hardcore Chan fans. In Shanghai Noon, Owen Wilson is an enjoyable character, but then when you realize how much action there could have been if it had only been Jackie Chan, you wish that Wilson didn't exist at all.
As a comedy, Shanghai Noon works splendidly, but as an action film, it suffers from American cowardice in throwing its star into high-thrill stunts. Just watch the bloopers: if Jackie Chan doesn't get carried away in a stretcher, than there weren't enough stunts.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.