Shanghai Knights (2003)

Action, Adventure, Comedy, Western
Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Fann Wong, Aaron Taylor-Johnson
When a Chinese rebel murders Chon's estranged father and escapes to England, Chon and Roy make their way to London with revenge on their minds.
A silly, anachronistic mess, but the pairing of Chan and Wilson makes the movie fun.
  • Touchstone Pictures Company:
  • PG-13 Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 07 Feb 2003 Released:
  • 15 Jul 2003 DVD Release:
  • $60.4M Box office:

All subtitles:



Trailer:

This Sequel Worked5/10

This movie is actually funny and entertaining. I wasn't expecting much because the past several Jackie Chan films, Rush Hour sequels and the Tuxedo, have sucked. But, the duo of Chan and Wilson really worked. The whole Sherlock Holms gag with the author and the Charlie Chan kid were very funny. IT was also very funny when they are in the hotel in New York City and we find out Roy really works there and isn't rich. This has plenty of Chan stunts with ladders, amazing kicks, and swords. Plus, it was nearly 2 hours, but it didn't feel long. Most "comedies" now days if over 90 minutes really start to feel dull, but that wasn't the case with this film.

PS: Watching this makes pillow fights look really fun!

FINAL VERDICT: This is worth renting if you are looking for some laughs and entertaining night.
Expected nothing but LOVED IT!10/10

I saw this movie only to accompany my children, but I absolutely loved it! Had never seen a Jackie Chan movie, but now I want to see Shanghai Noon too, so we will rent that one. There were several adult references and I don't mean sexually, but funny references only adults would remember. Be sure to stay for the credits as the outtakes are great. I want to see it again!
Is Jackie Chan Heading for a Lifetime Achievement Oscar?7/10

Well, a Lifetime Achievement Oscar may be the only category that's open to the aging but impish martial arts virtuoso, Jackie Chan, whose latest series-sequel, "Shanghai Knights" is...excellent, fun, entertaining.

My kid got into Jackie Chan films a while back and we have a half-shelf of $5.99 videotapes of the young Chan. Poorly shot with howlingly funny dubbing they nonetheless catch a Kung-Fu master at the height of his considerable prowess.

Hollywood and Jackie's sincere but imperfect effort at learning English led to a series of films that are high budget such as "Rush Hour" with its sequel and "Shanghai Noon," now followed by this film. Each has a sidekick for the irrepresible Chan but "Shanghai Knights " is the first where the faithful companion is a strong character in his own right.

"Shanghai Knights" begins with the Peking (not Beijing, it's the end of the nineteenth century) murder of Chan's dad and the theft of the Imperial Seal (a device to mark documents, not a pet). Chan is a Nevada sheriff who upon learning of the homicide and theft sets off to New York City to find his pal, played formidably and with evident relish by Owen Wilson.

The duo head for London where an unending series of misadventures brings the heroes, along with Chan's gorgeous and martial arts-skilled sister (Fann Wong) into the path of such diverse characters as little Charlie Chaplin, Her Majesty Queen Victoria, Jack the Ripper and others. Of course all ends well and if the martial arts terpsichore is less breathtakingly complex than its predecessors - well, let's cut Jackie some slack.

The film is PG-13 but Wilson provides a measured but running dose of raunch aided by a bevy of scantily clad beauties. There's no doubt HE had a terrific time making the movie.

Director David Dobkin keeps the pace moving and pays humorous tribute to films and stars from the Gilded Age of the cinema. I won't spoil the amusing surprises but listen to the music as the intrepid trio (sister now a full-fledged partner) waft to and fro in a caricature of nineteenth century London. Sad to say most moviegoers won't recognize the well-executed takeoffs of some great moments in film.

As always, a special Chan treat are the outtakes before the end credits, scenes that prove making these films may not be good for the health of the no-longer-young star or his cast but they all have a blast (literally).

And here's good news for the many who will enjoy this movie. I don't know if there will be a "Rush Hour III" but last week I couldn't get within 150 feet of the venerable Yonah Schimmel's on the Lower East Side's Houston Street. Chan and crew were filming a sequel to this new release - a flunky stopping pedestrian traffic told me the title would be "Shanghai Knish!" I can't wait.

7/10.

Fantastic sequel!5/10

It's an odd thing, this syndrome where people seem to automatically dislike a sequel more than the original. I don't know whether its subconscious or what but the IMDb proves it; Almost everywhere I go, people seem to agree (at least movie lovers) that "Aliens" is even better than "Alien", yet "Aliens" is listed #85 on IMDb's top 250, "Alien" is #61. Then there is another masterpiece: "The Godfather", all though many people seem to agree that however great, "The Godfather Part II" is even better. Not so according to the votes from IMDb-users: "The Godfather" is #1, "Part II" is #4. "Star Wars" is #10, "The Empire Strikes Back" is #15, and the list goes on and on. It's as if the general public goes into sequel-sucks-mode before they see the film and automatically would give it a lower grade no matter what. This also seems to be the case with "Shanghai Knights". Like many of my movie geek friends I thought the first film was great, but "Shanghai Knights" took me by great surprise and turned out to be even better, much more fun, better fights, greater villains, greater scenery, bigger plot, more film references, and I can go on. Still, it gets a 6,4 average while the first one gets a 6,7. Apparently it is one of the laws of physics that all though you personally feel a sequel outdoes the original, the masses would have you believe otherwise (the "Toy Story"-movies being the exception that proves the rule).

Well, we're all better off without the masses anyway. That's why nature invented things like the plague!

Now to my review of "Shanghai Knights":

I rarely laugh out loud to comedies unless it's Monty Python-type comedy filled with unpredictable insane humour, but "Shanghai Knights" had me in stitches several times. I really liked the first film, but the sequel is filled with references to everything you ever found fascinating about Britain and the charming duo of Chan and Wilson this time reaches its peak. But what really gets this film going is fight scenes like you've never seen them before! I am serious, I've watched Jackie Chan-films since I was a little kid and everyone knows he is the Buster Keaton of martial arts, but this time the fights – choreographed by Jackie himself – are so exhilarating to watch, boasting with playfulness to such a degree it leaves you dumbstruck in awe. All though it is apparent they used wires on some of the stunts, the mix of wire- and wireless stunts seem to balance themselves perfectly, giving a show fit for the greatest circus on Earth! It is hard to put to words the sheer delight it is to watch Jackie Chan (now close to 50!) beating up a gang of crooks while at the same time doing an homage to Gene Kelly and "Singin' in the Rain"! It gave me that rare sensation I remember getting the first time I saw Chaplin perform the "dance of the rolls" in the "Gold Rush", Buster Keaton caught in the middle of that hurricane in "Steamboat Bill Jr." or when Donald O'Connor ran up the wall in "Singin' in the Rain". It is a rare cinematic treat, created by and performed to excellence by Jackie Chan, again underlining what a rare and unique screen artist he is and how grateful we should be for him risking his back to give us that joy. People who still think of him as only a martial arts artist should take a hike. He's been a legend in his own right for close to two decades, one of the greatest entertainers of his generation (if not THEE greatest) so I ask you this: when will they give him an Honorary Academy Award!? I am sure Chaplin, Keaton and Gene Kelly would have supported this wholeheartedly, had they been alive today!

A great deal is also owed to the writing pair of Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (Made Men, Spider-Man 2) who pepper the story with quirky charm – the type Chan & Wilson seem born to play, once in a while serving up hysterical one-liners that should crack up anyone with an IQ over 50 (the best one has to be the subtitle after one of the characters has an encounter with Jack the Ripper).

Not surprisingly many of the people with an IQ *under* 50 bothered to fill the Goof-section up with all the factual errors in "Shanghai Knights" when it is just the thing you have to expect from a crazy comedy of this kind. For as long as I can remember I've enjoyed British history, I know the first real automobile wasn't invented until 1889, I'm a big fan of the Jack the Ripper-legend who terrorized London in 1888, I love the work of Chaplin who was born in 1889, I know Arthur Conan Doyle was originally a doctor of optometry, but not once did I mind all these things clashing in 1887's London, it is pure fantasy and should be enjoyed as such. Wonderful escapism played to perfection by great talent in front of and behind the camera. The writers didn't intend to re-create history, they just did as Jackie Chan would do in a fight: take every thing available and throw it in to make it more entertaining to the viewer! Then again there are people who have NO relation to any of the above-listed things and not surprisingly they won't find "Shanghai Knights" that entertaining. Which is really sad, for if you love movies you should *really* learn to love history as well, as the two can make a fabulous pair whether it is done in the name of fantasy or fiction.

Of course director David Dobkin also deserves special praise for never letting the heart and soul of the film getting lost in all the commotion.

I didn't mention Owen Wilson in all this, but don't get me wrong, he's great as usual. Wilson and Chris Tucker (Rush Hour) has to be the greatest thing happening to Jackie Chan since he discovered the art of mixing comedy with martial arts. And of course the supporting actors deserves mentioning, especially Aidan Gillen who makes a wonderful sneaky upper-class villain (named Rathbone, not exactly the most inventive referance to Hollywood – legendary actor Basil Rathbone - but still wonderful the same) and Aaron Johnson as a kid who looks and acts like he was just pulled out of "Oliver!" with great conviction (a scene where Wilson tells him of for being a an orphan is both heartbreaking and side-splittingly funny at the same time). Fann Wong also does a great English language-speaking film debut as Jackie Chan's sister.

To sum it all up; leaving me laughing to the point of exhaustion, "Shanghai Knights" is one of this years most pleasant surprises!
Jackie kicks it where the others missed it every time, historically inaccurate.7/10
The only people who should feel insulted by this posting are the two college bred guys I was making fun of the other day because they were using points from this movie to try to win an argument.

Even a history fan such as myself can enjoy the thing.

To point out historical inaccuracies, I will have to ruin the movie but only slightly, I won't offer any major plot points.

The year is 1886, the Statue of Liberty is almost completed and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is about to publish his first Sherlock Holmes story.

The year is 1902, Charlie Chaplin is thirteen and there is an automobile with a steering wheel available.

The year is 1837 and the Artful Dodger(who for no reason I can understand is also Charlie Chaplin) is wandering the streets of London hoping to meet Oliver Twist but winds up with Xion Uang and Roy O'Bannon and gets to go to America with them at the end, though Charlie Chaplin was not an orphan. He was actually an actor from the age of five and did not get to America until he was 21 in 1910.

The year is 1888, and Jack the Ripper is wandering the streets of East London, hunting down prostitutes(and Xion Lin for some reason)to mutilate.

The year is 1862 and Richard Gatling has just invented the Gatling Gun of which of which the Chinese assassins have a prototype.

Aside from the immense historical inaccuracies, Jackie Chan is incredible, the gags are brilliant, the Singing in the Rain fight sequence will make you say ooh and ow, Owen Wilson makes the most evil insult to orphans everywhere. I recommend seeing it but don't use it as a historical guide for anything.

You will like it and your kids WILL love it.