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Shanghai Knights - Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Fann Wong, David Dobkin

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

A royal kick in the arse.

When a Chinese rebel murders Chon Wang's (Jackie Chan) estranged father and escapes to England, Chon and Roy O'Bannon (Owen Wilson) make their way to London with revenge on their minds. Chon's sister, Lin (Fann Wong), has the same idea, and uncovers a world-wide conspiracy to murder the royal family - but almost no one will believe her. With the help of a kindly Scotland Yard inspector and a 10-year-old street urchin, the acrobatic Chon gives Victorian Britain a kick in the pants as he attempts to avenge his father's death - and keep the romance-minded Roy away from his sister. Hilarious escapades and hair-raising adventure await our heroes as they do for Big Ben, Madame Tussaud's and the Covent Gardens what they did for the old west.

Persons of interest

  • Jackie Chan .... Chon Wang
  • Owen Wilson .... Roy O'Bannon
  • Fann Wong .... Chon Lin
  • Donnie Yen .... Wu Chow
  • Aidan Gillen .... Lord Nelson Rathbone
  • Tom Fisher .... Artie Doyle
  • Gemma Jones .... Queen Victoria
  • Aaron Johnson .... Charlie Chaplin
  • Kim Chan .... Chon Wang's Father
  • Alfred Gough .... Screenwriter
  • Miles Millar .... Screenwriter
  • David Dobkin .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Shang-High noon... Shanghai noon... Shanghai nights... Shanghai Knights. Geddit?

Shanghai Knights is funny, full of action and often very clever but never quite manages to get over the fact that you've seen most of it before. With typical lackadasicality, Hollywood manages to ignore anything in the first film that might interfere with the second film (like Chon Wang's marriage) as well as anything in the second film that might interfere with the second film (like how two men with no money manage to book passage across the Atlantic) but if you wanted consistency and realism you wouldn't be watching a Hollywood movie in the first place, would you.

Meanwhile, Jackie does some good stunts with the best fight saved until the end where Chon more than meets his match in the evil Lord Rathbone, a master of the martial arts both eastern (there's that realism slipping in again) and western. The sword fight in the tower of Big Ben is nothing short of awesome and leads to the wonderful conclusion that sometimes being the good guy just isn't enough. Sometimes you have to sacrifice everything in order to stop the bad guy. Of course, this sacrifice doesn't go unrewarded - it is Hollywood after all - but it's the thought that counts.

Something that really grated on my nerves was the constant use of modern (20th Century) music in this otherwise period piece. A knight's tale did it to good effect, but they used modern songs remade to a medieval sensibility. Shanghai Knights just imports them wholesale, as if it were any other Hollywood action comedy, and it doesn't work. Actually, it more that doesn't work, it jars. It's like someone using a mobile phone in the 1950s, or Styrofoam cups in the 1940s.

Security censorship classification

M (Low level violence)

Surveillance time

114 minutes (1:54 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 10 April 2003
DVD rental: 20 August 2003
VHS rental: 20 August 2003

Cinema surveillance images

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