Shanghai Knights
2003 Running time: 109 Certificate: 12 Rating: 3
KA-Shanghai-Knights

Synopsis

Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson swap the Wild West for Victorian England in this knockabout sequel to the super-successful buddy caper Shanghai Noon. On the trail of a priceless royal seal, the dynamic duo find themselves up to their mismatched necks in pea-soup fogs, skulduggery and baffling British traditions. Aiden Gillen plays the villain while Aaron Johnson makes his mark as the young Charlie Chaplin.

Director

  • David Dobkin

Cast

  • Jackie Chan

  • Owen Wilson

  • Fann Wong

  • Aidan Gillen

Review

Perhaps it's time Jackie Chan's geriatrician has a word in his ear about his increasingly desperate attempts to capture his former glories.

Although still gamely throwing himself about after 20 years in the business, the star of First Strike and The Tuxedo now resembles a particularly lithe pensioner.

It's not helped by the fact he's teamed up with the youthful Wilson, next to whom he appears a benevolent dad rather than brother-in-arms.

This time out the father of Chon Wang (Chan) has been murdered in Peking's Forbidden City by evil Lord Rathbone (Gillen), 10th in line to the British throne.

He's hatched a plot to murder the Royal Family, so Wang and Roy O'Bannen (Wilson) team up again to thwart his plan and avenge Wang's dad's death.

Where Shanghai Noon poked fun at the Wild West, this has a satirical pop at English conventions in a rather tired manner.

Dental work, the weather, unfriendliness (apparently we're sore at losing the War of Independence) and even unresponsive guardsmen outside Buckingham Palace are the predictable targets of mirth.

However, through the cliches some decent gags get through - apparently Jack the Ripper's haunt, Whitechapel, "looks like a nice enough neighbourhood."

Most of the humour is left up to Wilson, who has shown his comic mettle in worthier vehicles such as The Royal Tenenbaums (which he also co-wrote).

Chan wisely steers clear of the jokes which means that, when he is not kicking his legs in the air, he doesn't have much to do.

That's enough to satisfy his legion of fans which, together with Wilson's attractively warped character, should again appeal to the converted.

For the rest of us, there's not an awful lot we haven't seen before.

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