The kicks last from to 'Noon' to 'Knights'
By BILLY NORRIS
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 10, 2003
After their past escapades in the Wild West (Shanghai Noon), life has
settled down for Chon Wang (Jackie Chan), now the sheriff of a small
town in Nevada in the late 1800s. His former cohort, Roy O'Bannon (Owen
Wilson), is living a boastful life in New York, getting by with his
tall tales. Things in Chon's native China are not as peaceful, though.
His father, who has held a grudge against him ever since he left for
America, lives with his sister, Chon Lin (Fann Wong), and together they
guard the Imperial Seal, a precious stone that represents the sheer
power of the Chinese emperor. A greedy Englishman, in a complicated
scheme to control the royal throne and become King of England, kills
Chon's father. Upon hearing the news of his father's death, Chon rekindles
his partnership with Roy, and they head to London to honor his father's
memory by identifying his killer and retrieving the stone.
My view: This movie could have gotten itself into trouble if it took itself too seriously, but thankfully, it didn't. An example is Wilson's California surfer-dude screen presence -- it doesn't really jell with the time period, but that's just part of the silly fun of this film. The plot doesn't deliver any surprises, as this movie is basically a continuation of Shanghai Noon. There were several clever allusions to real-world characters of the time, such as Jack the Ripper, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and even a young Charlie Chaplin. Those subtle references kicked the humor up a notch. I was definitely pleased to see that Chan was back to his old self again. After a disappointing absence of the legendary stunt work that made him a star in his previous film, The Tuxedo, it was great to see Chan performing some more thrilling, impressive feats.
Favorite part: Once again, the traditional outtakes at the end of every Chan movie prevail, and those few moments of flubs are the most humorous element.
Recommendations: Some rough language and sexual innuendo give this film the PG-13 rating, and it is wholly appropriate: ages 13 and up only! And you've got to be a Chan fan to fully appreciate Shanghai Knights.
-- Billy Norris, 15, is in the ninth grade at Seminole High School and is a former member of the Times X-Team.
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