Shanghai Noon


Directed by: Tom Dey
Written by:Alfred Gough
Starring: Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Lucy Liu, Brandon Merrill, Xander Berkeley
Released: August 10, 2000
Grade: C+

Jackie Chan shows all his usual tricks and manoeuvres in his latest American crossover, Shanghai Noon.  Paired with Owen Wilson (The Haunting), Chan plays Chon Wang, who is sent from China to the United States to rescue the kidnapped Princess Pei Pei (Liu) who is being held for ransom.  Chan’s journey takes him across the American deep south and the film becomes a western-style action comedy.

Jackie Chan films are all similar and frankly I am tiring of them.  We’ve seen Mr. Nice Guy, First Strike, Rush Hour, Who Am I? and Rumble In The Bronx over the past few years and it’s the same old stuff.  Chan is a great stuntman with some comedic ability but like your Van Dammes and Stallones, familiarity breeds contempt.

The most joy I found watching Shanghai Noon came from Lucy Liu who plays the princess very well.  She hardly speaks a word and manages to create a mystery to an otherwise stock character.  Owen Wilson also had his moments with his laid-back, casual style.

Some of the jokes are funny but you feel the whole time that you’re just going through the motions.  After about half an hour the novelty had worn thin and I spent most the remainder glancing at my watch, other patrons and the curtains on the cinema walls.  They were nice curtains…