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Shanghai Knights

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2003 1 Jan
Shanghai Knights

from Film Forum, 02/13/03

Shanghai Knights (Touchstone) reunites Jackie Chan as Chon Wang and Owen Wilson as Roy O'Bannon for an adventure set in London. When Chon Wang's father is murdered, he calls his former partner to help him on the case, only to discover that the royal family is jeopardy due to a conspiracy. Sure enough, Chan's fists—and Wilson's smart mouth—fly into action.

Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) says, "The best thing about Shanghai Knights is that it doesn't take itself too seriously. There is nothing deep or meaningful about this film. It is just meant to provide an evening's diversion and playful entertainment. And it succeeds."

Gerri Pare (Catholic News Service) agrees: "The movie knows better than to take itself at all seriously." But she concludes, "It's a little too vicious to be just fun, especially as it's aimed at the younger audience."

Bob Nusser (Preview) adds that the movie has "too much sexual emphasis." Tom Snyder (Movieguide) agrees: "Apparently, Hollywood no longer is interested in making many G or PG movies." Bob Smithouser (Focus on the Family) sounds the same alarm: "For sheer entertainment value, Shanghai Knights actually improves on the original, yet succumbs to many of the same problems that shanghaied its predecessor. Profanity. Chic promiscuity. A few violent deaths. Sexual humor. That's unfortunate, because as action comedies go, this one delivers." He admits, "The writing is sharp and funny … [and] the film closes with a hilarious series of outtakes."

Steven D. Greydanus (Decent Films) argues, "Jackie Chan makes action comedies, but there's also something tragic about his oeuvre. The tragedy is that Jackie is a great talent who does not make great movies. Imagine Charlie Chaplin starring in comedies written by Adam Sandler or Rob Schneider, or Gene Kelly hoofing in musicals written by, uh, Adam Sandler or Rob Schneider. Shanghai Knights … contains more inspired action nuttiness and brilliant slapstick than all of Jackie's previous Hollywood buddy movies combined, framed in a story that's lamer and less funny than almost any of these previous outings."

But some found enough laughs to recommend the film. Holly McClure (Crosswalk) says, "These two have hit a winning formula and should keep on making these hilarious movies together. … I laughed all the way through it." Phil Boatwright (The Movie Reporter) highlights "one hysterical moment as Jackie Chan does a martial arts battle/escape to the tune of 'Singing in the Rain,' complete with umbrella."

from Film Forum, 02/20/03

Mike Parnell (Ethics Daily) echoes several reviews of Shanghai Knights posted here last week, saying that the movie is "totally predictable. But there is magic in the movie that makes it an enjoyable experience. This movie is meant only to entertain us. It owes much to the road pictures of Hope and Crosby, and on that level it succeeds. Shanghai Knights is fun, and that's all it tries to be."

A critic at Relevant Magazine agrees: "Sometimes you just need to escape from the world and turn off your brain for a while. This is the kind of film that will lull you comfortably into a never-never land and have you repeating lines to your friends. Don't expect to be blown away with amazement, but expect to enjoy your two hours in the movie theater."