JLFM's Movie Review of Shanghai Noon

Rating of

Shanghai Noon

Long and Unfunny, Despite Great Leads
JLFM - wrote on 07/14/13

It's one loud action scene after another with Shanghai Noon, sandwiched with racist Asian jokes and lots of unfunny dialogue. When the occasional gag is funny, it's worth a good chuckle,. But these gags don't come nearly often enough, which is unfortunate because despite a less than intriguing plot, the two leads (Owen Wilson and Jackie Chan) really give it their all in this film, though it's not enough to save it.

Chon Wang, an imperial guard from China, travels to America in order to rescue Princess Pei-Pei, whom has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom. Wang gets caught up in a train robbery, which through a strange series of events, Wang becomes friends with outlaw Roy O'Bannon, whom are now both determined to rescue the princess.

There are loads of action scenes, but despite excellent choreography, they never come across as more than loud and dull. These scenes never generate tension, or do anything particularly unique.

The comedy itself is hardly sophisticated, and while there are a number of amusing lines, there aren't nearly enough to top the gags that fall flat.

The characters are generally weak. While Chon Wang and Roy O'Bannon have great chemistry and a surprisingly well done character arc, Roy O'Bannon is undeveloped. In his first couple scenes, Roy seems to be a very timid robber, but this is not referred to for the rest of the film. The villain, Lo Fong, has no personality at all.

The cast is surprisingly devoted. Jackie Chan portrays a perfect Asian stereotype. Yes, the portrayal might be a wee bit offensive, but no one can deny the talent in this role. Owen Wilson also gives a lot of energy into his role. The rest of the cast, however, is generally forgettable.

The score by Randy Edelman attempts to combine Western and Asian music, but the result is clumsy and awkward. The occasional rock elements and heavy percussion don't help much.

Shanghai Noon could be somebody's nightmare. It wasn't quite such an unpleasant experience for me, but it was far from positive. Often dull, often racist, and a lack of truly riotous humor makes for a long 2 hours. This isn't the train wreck it could've been, but that's hardly high praise.

Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Are you sure you want to delete this review?
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?