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Shanghai Noon
  |     review    |     notes     |     awards     |     availability     |    

Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson in Shanghai Noon.
Year: 2000  
Director: Tom Dey  
  Producer: Jackie Chan, Willie Chan, Solon So, Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber, Jonathan Glickman
  Action: Jackie Chan
  Cast: Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Lucy Liu, Yu Rong-Guang, Roger Yuan, Xander Berkeley, Jason Connery
  The Skinny: Jackie Chan goes west in this modest summer hit that spawned a sequel.
Review by Calvin McMillin:      Shanghai Noon continues the trend that began with Jackie Chan's previous American endeavor Rush Hour by pairing the HK superstar with an unlikely American counterpart. This time around, Chan is mismatched with a peculiar partner: low-key funnyman Owen Wilson. The results may not be quite as explosive as Chan's earlier partnership with Chris Tucker, but this duo possesses a chemistry all it's own — and they're damn funny together too.
     Chan plays Chon Wang, a hapless imperial guard, who ends up in the United States searching for the kidnapped Princess Pei Pei (Lucy Liu). After arriving in America, Chon Wang loses an Uncle to an errand bullet, befriends a tribe of Native Americans, marries the chief's daughter, and gets a pet horse. While that's a lot for anyone to experience in his first four days abroad, Chon Wang doesn't stop there. After leaving his native pals en route to Carson City, Chon gets thrown together with anachronistic cowboy Roy O'Bannon (Owen Wilson), a guy who's more interested in courting celebrity and bedding women than robbing trains and stealing money. After the expected "we hate each other, now we're best friends" movie shenanigans, the two outlaws decide to join forces to save the Princess and thwart the machinations of Marshall Nathan Van Cleef (Xander Berkeley) and the traitorous Lo Fang (Roger Yuan).
     Much like the laidback performance of Owen Wilson, Shanghai Noon is not heavy-handed. It's a movie that's funny, but not uproariously so. It's also a movie about cultural understanding, but with a message that isn't shoved down your throat every waking moment. Ultimately, Shanghai Noon amounts to a cozy little Western actioner that subtly charms its audience somewhere between its kicks and punchlines. (Calvin McMillin, 2002)
Notes: For years, Jackie Chan had the idea for a film called Lion Goes West. Chan planned to work with Stanley Tong on the flick, which would detail the exploits of a kung fu master in the Wild West. There would also be a subplot involving amnesia. Unfortunately for Chan, longtime pal Sammo Hung ripped off his idea when he was hired as director of the strikingly similar Once Upon a Time in China and America. Besides the obvious plot parallels, the film's literal title is, in fact, Lion Goes West. As detailed in Chan's autobiography, the famous friends had a brief falling out. It was not until Chan wrote Hung a letter — and Hung apologized — that the two reconciled. Chan incorporated the "amnesia among the natives" bit into Who Am I? and Shanghai Noon is the realization of his long dreamed-for Eastern Western. Curiously, Roger Yuan appears in both OUATIC 6 and Shanghai Noon.
Awards: Blockbuster Entertainment Awards
• Favorite Supporting Actress, Action (Lucy Liu)
Availability: DVD (USA)
Region 1 NTSC
Buena Vista Home Video
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
English Language
Dolby Digital 5.1
Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, and Tom Dey Audio Commentary
Deleted Scenes, Behind the Scenes Featurettes, Uncle Kracker Music Video, Trailers

image courtesy of Buena Vista Home Video Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen