2004 Certificate: pg

Synopsis

Steve Coogan is the best thing about this adaptation of the Jules Verne classic with Jackie Chan thrown into the mix for comic relief.

Director

  • Frank Coraci

Cast

  • Jackie Chan

  • Jim Broadbent

  • Ewen Bremner

  • Steve Coogan

  • Cécile de France

Review

For an adventure yarn based on a story of intrepid adventurers circumnavigating the globe, this barely scrapes off the ground.

Mugging furiously, Steve Coogan, in his first big-hitting Hollywood role, plays inventor Phileas Fogg while Jackie Chan is his accident-prone valet Passepartout.

Veering away from the original, a new plotline also sees Chan pinching a jade buddha from the Bank of England to return to his Chinese village...with the Black Scorpion gang on his trail.

Along for the ride is frustrated Parisian artist and thrill-seeker Monique (De France) for the purposes of fluttering her eyelashes at Fogg.

The three are thrown together in their marathon air-mile gathering endeavour when Fogg accepts a wager from pompous Lord Kelvin (Broadbent).

Either he manages a round-the-world trip in eighty days and is elevated to Minister of Science...or he's banned from inventing another thing.

For a story that roars across Europe by train, surges the seas by steamships and swoops over mountains by hot air balloon, this is a curiously flat affair.

Coogan is the best thing about it, delivering the better lines that wouldn't be out of place in an episode of I'm Alan Partridge.

Chan merely does what he normally does - lots of chop-socky - but in an increasingly creaky fashion and the scenes when he swaps insults with Ewen Bremner's incomprehensible Cockney copper need subtitles.

Along the way there's an assortment of cameos ranging from John Cleese's blink-and-you'll-miss it policeman to Arnold Schwarzenegger as a plaited despot who looks more Widow Twankey than a Turkish sultan.

American director Frank Coraci, who fared better with The Wedding Singer, is all at sea with the pacing while the amount of star appearances - Rob Schneider, Owen Wilson, Macy Gray, Kathy Bates - smacks of desperation.

The net result is a first class cast delivering a third class ride. Cancel your trip immediately.

Tim Evans