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*** Official "SHANGHAI KNIGHTS" Review Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Stephen Orr, Feb 1, 2003.

  1. Stephen Orr

    Stephen Orr Screenwriter

    Mar 14, 1999
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    Could not find a thread on this yet, so here you go.

    My wife and I just got back from a free sneak preview of the new Jackie Chan/Owen Wilson comedy adventure "Shanghai Knights." Our local base theaters (we have two in our area now) are showing it this weekend.

    My face is still sore from laughing for almost two straight hours. Overall, Shanghai Knights has much more sustained action and humor than its predecessor, "Noon" (which we own on DVD and love to watch.)

    As the film opens, Chon is still a western sheriff with an outstanding arrest record, while Roy has moved to New York to seek his fortune as the hero in a pulp action book called "Roy O'Bannon verses the Mummy." The two reunite when Chon's father is murdered in China, and Chon's sister pursues the killers to London. She asks for her brother's assistance, and when the two heroes from America arrive in Jolly Old England, they uncover a plot that could affect both the Emperor of China and the royal family of England. Along the way, they encounter a few historical figures, including a street urchin destined to become a silent film comedian, and a Scotland Yard inspector who'd rather be writing than deducing!

    Kudos to the producers and writers for taking Chon and Roy in a completely different direction with "Knights." The fights are more elaborately and entertainingly staged, especially a street fight involving an umbrella and some fancy dance steps that intentionally recall Gene Kelly. There's a rotating wall gag that recalls about a million Abbott and Costello movies. There are two "final" fights, the first involving a runaway gatling gun. At the end of that fight, the audience we saw it with was cheering and applauding. The other involves a spectacular sword fight among the inner workings of Big Ben. Again, just incredible, the best stuff I've seen from Jackie in a while.

    Jackie is excellent, as usual, although I thought that some of Owen's shtick was a little awkward and just a little too silly. Overall, though, I was grinning from ear to ear with most of the dialog.

    The young lady playing Chon's sister, Fann Wong, is a discovery, and fights just about as good as Jackie. Donnie Yen adds an appropriate amount of menace as the Asian side of the dual threat to the Emperor and the Royal Throne. Aidian Gillen, the English lord who's either 10th or 20th in line for the throne, depending on who you ask, is very hissable as the other villian.

    "Knights" has a lot more hits than misses, and one of the absolutely flat-out funniest scenes begins as a repeat of the "Roy's unconcious and is surrounded by beautiful women" sequence from the first movie. The other has to do with a pillow fight that is just plain goofy/silly, but much in keeping with the "make 'em laugh" motto of this flick (similar in intent to the drinking game/bathtub scene of the first film.)

    There was a lot of 60's pop and rock music in the soundtrack, but guess what -- I think it added to the charm and spirit of the movie, rather than distracted from it.

    The end of the film is left wide open for a sequel -- as a matter of fact, Roy practically suggests an idea of what could become "Shanghai Dawn," a title I've read would be the follow-up if "Knights" does well (as I think it should, and will!)

    I'd go see this again in a heartbeat. It's silly, funny, exciting and totally entertaining -- and a terrific follow-up to "Shanghai Noon."
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator

    Dec 9, 1998
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    Real Name:
    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Shanghai Knights". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.

  3. Stephen_L

    Stephen_L Supporting Actor

    Mar 1, 2001
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    I really enjoyed the pictures; it's not a film classic or anything but provided plenty of laughs for my movie dollar. I have only one complaint. (Preface: my guilty pleasure is martial arts films; I find martial arts fights wonderful to watch!) With Jackie Chan and Donnie Yen I would have enjoyed more fights and fights filmed with less cutting to let us watch these athletes in action. Poor Donnie Yen was reduced to one fight that wasn't near long enough. These martial artists-acrobats are the SPECIAL EFFECTS of the film and I would love to see more of their action.
  4. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

    Jan 23, 2000
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    A solid and entertaining followup to the first film.

    Every part of this movie was built to increase the audience enjoyment of this film and, for once, it was strengthened by the fact that it was a sequel, not hampered by it.

    Despite a very dark opening, the film keeps a light tone and quick pace that never feels bogged down. The fight sequences are well balanced against the comedic Owen Wilson sections and interspersed with the story, which is well integrated although very lightweight.

    The action sequences are still somewhat inventive including an extended sequence that plays a wonderful homage to 'Singin' in the Rain'. The final action sequence with Donnie Yen is frustratingly short and interspersed with other shots, so it wasn't as satisfying as I had hoped. However, it is more than made up by an even better finishing fight that I wasn't totally expecting.

    As villains, the choices are good, although more credit has to be given to Aiden Gillen as a bad guy with a bit of an inferiority complex. Fann Wong was also good, although I think Lucy Liu was given a better part in the first film. Owen remains good as the comedic balance to this and is superior in every way to the partner in Chan's other series, Rush Hour. Jackie Chan himself continues to impress with the physical portion and delivered a great deal of good laughs throughout the film.

    But the part that I loved the most out of it was that I wasn't seeing recycled jokes or plotlines. They built on the first one primarily as a foundation for their friendship and then went forward with fresh ideas.

    As with practically all of Chan's movies, it could have benefitted from an improved plot. It really could have used Yen better, but what is there is rather nice. And they should have been a little more judicious with the "famous people" integration, which got pretty strained. But, all in all, there are many movies and even more sequels that have turned out worse.

    I'd recommend to anyone who enjoyed the first movie.
  5. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Supporting Actor

    Jun 1, 2000
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    I would have enjoyed J. Chan using props a little less and his fists and kicks a bit more. It was an enjoyable movie otherwise.
  6. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator

    Jun 30, 1999
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    Another good outing by Chan and Wilson. The plot moves along at a breakneck pace, and the comedy is sprinkled liberally all throughout the film. Chan still manages to impress in the staging on the "fight" scenes with clever use of the props and locale. Wilson is the likable charmer with the quick quip for every situation.

    If you enjoyed the first one, you'll like this one as well.

    I give it 3 stars or a grade of B.
  7. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

    Feb 24, 2000
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    I was surprised by how funny this film was. I think I may have enjoyed it more than the first. Definately the best fight scenes Jackie Chan has done in a few years. The Donnie Yen fight was great but I agree they should have given him more. Definately a don't miss it for fans of the first film. It definately changed my mind that Jackie was starting to get too old. I don't think that anymore, he can still do many great stunts and great fights scenes even if they may not be as acrobatic as they once were.
    A solid [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  8. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

    Dec 15, 2001
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    Great sequel! First impression is that it's definitely better than "Shanghai Noon," and I'm all up for a third in the series. Some of the stuff in the movie was a bit too unbelievable and far-fetched, and I wish Donnie Yen's character would've died in a less "spectacular" way, like perhaps getting stabbed with a sword [​IMG]
    , but all in all, a great way to spend two hours. I loved the umbrella and pillow fight scenes!

  9. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

    Oct 26, 1998
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    What gives? With all the negative ratings in the 2003 Film list, one would think that there would be at least a single negative review here. Could it be that those who didn’t like this film just didn’t want to waste another single minute talking about it? Well, that’s understandable. But since I have a few minutes, I’ll contribute mine. [​IMG]

    Going into a Jackie Chan film, one cannot expect a well-thought out story. That element almost always plays a secondary role behind Chan’s well-choreographed martial arts sequences. As such, we are left to depend on the humor and Chan’s antics to deliver.

    In Shanghai Knights, everything is stepped up including a lavish set design of Victorian England. Unfortunately, this is where the problem begins. When a film’s production values and props upstage the writing and the acting, trouble looms.

    The film is a hodgepodge as it parodies various cinematic moments from earlier years. Some work but others don’t. Some of the lines delivered for comic effect either fell flat or were just plain corny. As for the martial arts, there were two sequences worth noting but after a while they look recycled as the films it copies.

    In the end, Shanghai Knights is akin to a glass that is only a third full – with mostly the martial arts working in its favor and only to a certain extent. Another way to look at it is that it is two-thirds empty – with the story and humor very much taking a back seat. Either way, it doesn’t bode well for the film.

  10. Jeff Adams

    Jeff Adams Screenwriter

    Dec 13, 1999
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    I enjoyed the film once. It was nothing compared to the first one though. But then you have to expect that. Rarely do sequels exceed the first one. I don't think I need to buy it or rent it though. I'll wait to watch it again when it hits HBO or something. The only reason I was even thinking about buying it was due to complete the set and because of Chon Wang's sister in it. WOW!!!!:b But if you have never seen it, it is worth the rental.

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