Shanghai Noon
***.5 BM
Starring: Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Lucy Liu


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I don't know how many more 'fish out of water/mismatched partner' flicks Jackie Chan can make, but I'll enjoy them as they come along.

This time, he's in the late 19th century as an Imperial Guardsman from China traveling to the Old West to rescue Princess Pei Pei (Lucy Liu) from a bad kung-fu guy. He meets up with Roy O'Bannon (Owen Wilson), an incompetent nice-guy outlaw, and they have zany hijinks that lead to Jackie Chan kicking all sorts of ass.

The ultimate test of any Jackie Chan movie is to come away with the feeling that he, indeed, kicked enough ass so you don't feel gypped out of acrobatic ass kicking by silly things like actual story elements. While we can always use more ass-kicking, "Shanghai Noon" does a pretty good job with it, and gives us plenty of it. Chan is just amazing, and no matter how many times you see the crazy stuff he does, it still manages to flabbergast sometimes.

Owen Wilson, who can be forgiven for "The Haunting" due to his performance in "Bottle Rocket" and his co-writing of "Rushmore," has an interesting way of saying things that aren't very funny, but the way he says them makes you laugh anyway. His oddball gee-whiz demeanor (which made him all the more creepy in "The Minus Man") plays well off of Chan, and provides some welcome subtlety to make this film a bit more complete than it might have been if this was Chris Tucker again.

I also appreciate the fact that they always take time to explain why Jackie Chan doesn't speak English very well - whereas there were all those Arnold Schwarzenegger movies that wanted to pretend he was just an average American joe schmoe named Harry Tasker or Ben Richards, all the while talking like Andre The Giant.

Good-time Jackie Chan fun! Woo-hoo! Can't go wrong with that!

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