Shanghai Knights (VHS, 2003)

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Shanghai Knights : Jackie Chans worst movie ever

Jun 1, 2004
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:It ended.

Cons:acting, dialogue, plot, story, that it was ever made.

The Bottom Line: This is the worst movie of 2003. It makes Gigli watchable.


This is a Jackie Chan film, so right off you have a 50/50 chance of it being the sequel to another one of his movies. It seems that whenever he has success in a film, even if it is quite modest that a sequel will be soon to follow. In the past I have enjoyed them, such as Police Story 2, but in this case, I think that they should have just passed it by. Shanghai Knights is the sequel to Shanghai Noon, which pitted Jackie Chan with Owen Wilson. They play two cowboys in 1880’s America, and much like the first movie, seem quite out of place in their surroundings. The first movie at least provided a lot of laughs as we saw the characters try to adjust to each other, and the events taking place around them. This film relied on the same tired jokes, and uninventive punch lines to give fans an extended story line from the first film.


In this film, Chon Wang (Jackie Chan), learns that is father has been murdered by a member of the royal family who is also part of the British Parliament. His father was the keeper of the Imperial Seal of his country, and it becomes Chon’s duty to not only avenge the death, but restore the seal to his country to retain his family’s honor. Roy O’Bannon (Owen Wilson) is once again the sidekick tagging along in hopes that he will be able to hook up with hot women and make his fortune back. In the first movie, the two main characters end up very rich, and by the time this sequel rolls around, they have found a way to squander all of that money. This is about the point where the movie started heading downhill for me as they went through the motions of explaining how bad-investments had cost them their fortune.


In order to track down his fathers killer, they must go to Britain to deal with it. But since this is movie time, and not real time where it would have taken forever to get across the Atlantic, we are suddenly in Europe the next day, trying to figure out where to start the search. Unfortunately, since this is a Jackie Chan movie there are some obligatory scenes that must involve his superior martial arts skills in the streets of London. What transpires are several unnecessary scenes involving them running around trying to chase down a kid who has stolen Roy’s watch, and a street gang that is up to no good. From there they meet up with the “law” who realizes that these men are celebrities. The only problem is that he thinks s Roy (the bumbling oaf) is actually the famous one, and that Chon (The fierce fighter who always saves the day) is the mere sidekick.


At the jail, Chon figures out that his sister is there, and he learns about how his father had been disappointed in his decision to come over to the United States in pursuit of what he thought was a better life. Of course Chon is devastated, and makes it his mission (once again) to make sure that he can restore is families honor. At this point I am thinking to myself “If he cares so much about honor then why did he make this movie and waste my time watching it.” The movie gets no better from there, but I will not ruin any more of it for those people who are willing to give it a chance. I too hate having the entire storyline of a movie blown before I can give it a chance.


Normally I am a huge fan of Jackie Chan. He is one of the people that I will always watch their films no matter what the reviews say about them. Usually he does not receive such high reviews because his films are centered around his martial arts skills and the stunts that he is able to do. Being able to do all of his own stunts made me a huge fan of him around 10 years ago, and I have gained more respect for him as he gets older and still undertakes those same risks. However, this film did not follow the normal format. Instead of relying on his skills to lead to the story, he relied on a plot that didn’t hold water, and weak dialogue that really pinpointed his weak English skills. Normally I could care less, but when he is trying to be sincere and deal with emotions in his character such as remorse, it is hard for me to believe it.


Owen Wilson does no better on his side of things as he dumbs down his character even past where HE can play it well. Normally Wilson is in a role where his character is not the smartest person, but where he is able to play up to his co-start, or where he is able to set off traits that are strong in the other people in the movie. In this film, instead of relying on new dialogue and new jokes, he rehashes just about everything that he had to say in the first film, only this time the “new-car smell” has warn off, and the jokes don’t even seem like jokes anymore. It is times like this where I long for sub-titles, and think to myself that this film may have been a little better if nobody talked at all. But, as I was saying the character that Wilson uses in this film is dumb even past his standards.


It has been a long time since I have seen a movie that I thought was this bad, and I cannot remember a big-budget main stream movie that I could put into that category off the top of my head. The acting, the dialogue, the story, and even the setting was terrible in this movie. I honestly did not find anything that, while watching this movie, could have saved it from being on my “do-not ever watch again” list. I highly recommend that you do not watch this film, and that if you are a fan of Jackie Chan, pretend that this film does not exist and hope that Around the World in 80 Days is better.





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