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Shanghai Noon

It's a Jackie Chan movie. It's a western. It's a comedy. In other words,

there's a little something here for everybody. And if you don't mind all

the recycled clichés, it's a lot of fun.


All Jackie Chan movies are basically the same, right? Jackie is the good

guy who's on the run from, or in pursuit of, a truly evil bad guy. In

this one, Jackie plays an Imperial Chinese guard, sent to the American

west during the 1800s to rescue a kidnapped princess (Lucy Liu). He

buddies up with a bumbling outlaw (Owen Wilson) and, as you might guess,

action and laughs follow.


One reason for Chan's phenomenal success of recent years is that he

seems to realize his own strengths and weaknesses as an actor, and plays

up to them. As he did with Chris Tucker in "Rush Hour," Chan plays the

straight guy while Wilson (doing a more slapstick type of comedy than in

"Bottle Rocket" and other films) acts the goof.


Well, there's some nice scenery of the Sierra Nevadas and the old west

(where this stuff was actually filmed, I have no idea, but it looks

great), but other than that, this film is a showcase for the actors. For

the most part, director Tom Dey doesn't deviate from the tried-and-true

elements of a Hollywood western: Gunfights, Indians, brothels, bounty

hunters, barroom brawls, hangings, damsels in distress and so on. The

final fight between the good guys and bad guys is a lot of fun, mixing

up swordplay, gunplay, martial arts and fighting sticks.

Bottom Line

What, you were expecting a remake of "High Noon"? Hey, it's a Jackie

Chan movie. 'Nuff said.