Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson bring the Far East and the old West to 19th century London as they search for Chan’s sister (Fann Wong) in Shanghai Knights (2003), a high spirited but dumbed-down sequel to Shanghai Noon. A constant barrage of pop-culture references (from 1960s British Invasion rock tunes to appearances by 19th century figures Arthur Conan Doyle, Jack the Ripper, and a young Charles Chaplin as the Artful Dodger) and goofy comic pieces right out of a Scooby-Doo cartoon stand in for actual jokes.
Still, Owen Wilson is an amiable con man and coward with a heart of gold and Jackie Chan has toned down his mugging nicely, reacting to Wilson’s antics with the eye-rolling frustration of an old friend.
The highlights are still Jackie’s gymnastic action chops, even cut-up Hollywood-style as they are, and the great Donnie Yen makes for a formidable opponent as Jackie turns his sets and props into handy implements. If writers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar had just written him a story, think how much more fun it could have been.
On Blu-ray and DVD and on SVOD through Amazon Video, iTunes, GooglePlay, Vudu and/or other services. Availability may vary by service.
Shanghai Noon / Shanghai Knights [Blu-ray]
Shanghai Noon / Shanghai Knights [DVD]