Film Reviews:

Shanghai Noon

(Tom Dey, US, 2000)

This Jackie Chan vehicle plonks the former Hong Kong star into the western genre and throws in the regular Chan ingredients, namely action and comedy. Unfortunately, the finished article, although well-made is neither fish nor fowl. The gags are too few and are at odds with the drama which comes across as way too serious. As for the action/fight sequences, these are all a bit too 'stagey' to generate any real excitement, but Chan's input to the fight choreography helps to some extent. Side kick Owen Wilson often steals Jackie's thunder and comes across as genuinely funny.

The first 40 minutes are particularly slow favouring the dramatic angle to set up the simple storyline of lowly hero rescues princess played by Lucy (Charlie's Angels) Liu. The remainder is a hotch-potch of three or four different genre films that if they were three or four separate titles would all probably have faired better. However, shoe horned into one star vehicle it fails on all fronts, leaving Chan devotees reaching for their 80s HK video collection and mainstream audiences (one imagines) largely cold. 6/10

Region 1 DVD

The US DVD release is packed with extras, featuring everything from standard fare like theatrical trailers (two), to the more uncommon, such as an interactive game that incorporates clips from the film. Seven deleted scenes including an amazing special effects train crash sequence which it's hard to believe was left out are worthy additions. More slight is the standard behind-the-scenes featurette. There's also an audio commentary featuring the Chan, Owen and director Dey. 6 out of 10 for the film, 9 out of 10 for the DVD.

Rob Dyer (January 2002)

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