Features
Reviews
Must Hear Music
Reviews Archives
Archives
Bargain Basement
Downloads
Music DVD
Upstart
Pipsqueaks
 
 
 
Features
Reviews
Archives
Send Us Mail
Contact Us
 
 

Shanghai Knights (PG-13)
Touchstone
Official Site
Director: David Dobkin
Producers: Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, Jonathan Glickman
Written by: Alfred Gough & Miles Millar
Cast: Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Aidan Gillen, Fann Wong, Thomas Fischer, Donnie Yen, Aaron Johnson

Rating: out of 5


The movie starts in the forbidden city, introducing Chon’s father and sister Lin (Wong) as guardians of the imperial seal. The seal is an item of unparalleled value so of course it is stolen by the devious Lord Rathbone (Gillen) who kills Chon’s father in the process. Chon (Chan) gets word from his sister and heads out to London by way of New York City, picking up his friend Roy O’Bannon (Wilson) to recover the seal and seek revenge. Rathbone is also conspiring with the bastard heir to the throne of China (Yen) and the two of them each wish to seize power in their respective native lands.

Jackie Chan flicks always have lighter-than-air plots and this one is no exception. Really, his movies are excuses for some amusing fights with a smattering of comedy in between. Helpfully here those in-between moments are some of the more enjoyable parts of the picture. The two stars have genuine comic chemistry, with Wilson as the lovable rogue and Chan as the straight man. When O’Bannon, who can’t say no to anything female, starts making a play for the extremely desirable Lin, Chan gets to come into his own and despite questionable mastery of English it works—the look on his face is in and of itself enough to elicit laughs. Of course Wilson is more than up the task. His unique blend of quirks and the ability to deliver the silliest lines with conviction all help this production.

The film features several fights, all choreographed by Jackie Chan himself and they are, like the rest of the movie fun and silly all at once. Chan uses an assortment of props—swords, vases, umbrellas, etc., in a variety of interesting though not original action scenes. Fann Wong is clearly capable of kicking people in the face and does so on numerous occasions and Owen Wilson gets to hang back and look goofy. Donnie Yen is a man of not inconsiderable martial arts talent. He choreographed Blade II and starred in Hong Kong films, but unfortunately he is not given the opportunity to express those talents here. His one fight with Chan was all too brief. Likewise the fight with Gillen, who appears to have some sword experience, lacked the typical Chan panache. Chan did not demonstrate any of his acrobatic abilities or improvisational martial arts during the duel with Gillen and the camera position made the action difficult to follow.

Shanghai Knights may leave hardcore martial arts fans wanting more, but should please everybody else. The jokes are obvious, but the relentless enthusiasm of the two stars guarantees amusement. The movie takes advantage of the opportunity to poke fun at history by the portrayals of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Jack the Ripper, and Charlie Chaplin. (The last is especially interesting, as Chan borrows heavily from the works of Charlie Chaplin.) Innovative choices in the music department keep the vibe of this film light, and while the end destination is never in doubt the journey is so much fun. This is just a B-movie, but everyone is working their hardest to make the best of it.

Throughout the movie Chon Wang says to his partner, “Who loves you, baby?” right before the fun begins. Surely though, Jackie Chan must love us, for here is a man willing to put his life on the line to entertain and the fun begins whenever he is on screen. While some of us yearn for a return to the glory days of Jackie Chan’s superhuman stunts, those days are over. But with his talent as a born entertainer and the help of talented co-stars like Owen Wilson more fun is yet to come. So Mr. Chan: Who loves you baby? We do!

—Woodrow Bogucki

 

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

It’s worth a full-price ticket.

It’s worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



none now
-------


South By Southwest 2014
David DeVoe

South By Southwest 2013
David DeVoe

Red Hook Music Festival
George Dow

SXSW 2012
David DeVoe

Our Favorite Records 2011
Hybrid Staff

AWOLNation
Rachel Fredrickson

Kanrocksas
Rachel Fredrickson

Warped Tour 2011
Rachel Fredrickson

Eddie Spaghetti
Melissa Skrbic-Huss

Murder By Death
Mike DeLeo


Mike Doughty
Boulder, CO

Epilogues
Denver, CO

Imagine Dragons
Denver, CO

Sebadoh
Cambridge, MA

Young Magic
Denver, CO

Warped Tour 2012
Denver, CO

Thrice
Denver, CO

Mike Doughty
Denver, CO

MuteMath
Kansas City, MO

Other Lives
Lawrence, KS

Los Campesinos
Boston, MA

The Civil Wars
Lawrence, KS

Ha Ha Tonka
Lawrence, KS

Thrice
Lawrence, KS


 
hybridmagazine.com is updated daily except when it isn't.
New film reviews are posted every week like faulty clockwork.
Wanna write for hybrid? Send us an e-mail.
© 1996-2009 [noun] digital media. All rights reserved worldwide. All content on hybridmagazine.com and levelheadedmusic.com is the intellectual property of Hybrid Magazine and its respective creators. No part of hybridmagazine.com or levelheadedmusic.com may be reproduced in any format without expressed written permission. For complete masthead and physical mailing address, Click Here.