Main cast: Jackie Chan (Chon Wang), Owen Wilson (Roy O’Bannon), Lucy Liu (Princess Pei Pei), Brandon Merrill (Falling Leaves), Xander Berkeley (Marshal Nathan Van Cleef), Roger Yuan (Lo Fong), Kate Luyben (Fifi), Jason Connery (Calvin Andrews), and Simon R Baker (Little Feather)
Director: Tom Dey
American viewers may love Jackie Chan, but take it from a person who has been following his career since his early Drunken Master days: Mr Chan has long ceased being an actor and is now a sad parody of his former glory. After insipid self-congratulatory and even masturbatory rubbish like Who Am I? and Mr Nice Guy, he redeems himself somewhat with the lifeless Rush Hour. He’s back to his own self-love fest in Shanghai Noon.
Problem is, he doesn’t play anyone but Jackie Chan anymore. He seems to have believed in his own myth, playing now monotonous, all-perfect, all-rounder Mr Nice Guys, logic and plot credulity be damned. The public loves Jackie Chan, and he is adamant to push his own bloated kung-fu guru complex on the public who surely must be clamoring for more.
May work well for some, but me, I want to gag.
This one isn’t a movie but a vehicle for Jackie Chan to bask in the public’s devotion to him. Forget the plot. What plot? Oh yeah – spoiled, silly Chinese princess, Pei Pei, elopes with her tutor to America. Turns out the rat is a, well, rat, who then proceeds to hold her and demands a princess-ly ransom for her father.
The Emperor concedes, sending the ransom as well as Chon Wang to protect the gold. But Roy O’Bannon and his gang of outlaw soon attempt to rob the entourage, and before you can say cheesy male bonding hour, Roy and Chon are working together to save Pei Pei.
The one-liners are crap. The slapstick humor (you don’t expect Jackie Chan to speak, do you?) falls flat, and the whole plot is so insipid that I really fear that my brain would melt into a pool of steaming protoplasms by the time the movie ends. More puke-inducing is the fact that every plot twist and turn seems calculated to emphasize the Glory of Chan – your best friend, your kung-fu expert, your funnyman, your wildest fantasies, heck, just give him all your money!
When a star descends into such pathetic parody of his former self, it’s time to jump ship.