May 022013

Noon and Shanghai Knights are both fun movies if not a bit forgettable even with Jackie Chan’s amazing fight sequences and stunt work. Even so, as buddy comedies go, Chan and Owen Wilson share good chemistry making both film a breeze to watch on a slow Saturday afternoon.



Shanghai Noon/Shanghai Knights (2000/2003)

Genre(s): Comedy, Action
Touchstone | PG13 – 110 min. / 114 min. – $26.50 | May 7, 2013

Directed by:
Tom Dey
Writer(s): Alfred Gough & Miles Millar (written by)
Cast: Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Lucy Liu, Roger Yuan, Xander Berkeley

Theatrical Release Date: May 26, 2000


Directed by:
David Dobkin
Writer(s): Alfred Gough & Miles Millar (written by)
Cast: Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Donnie Yen, Aiden Gillen, Fann Wong, Tom Fisher

Theatrical Release Date: February 7, 2003

3 Audio Commentaries, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Music Video
Number of Discs: 1

Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 45.0 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C

THE MOVIES – 3.25/5

Shanghai Noon — 3.5/5

Plot Outline: When Princess Pei Pei (LUCY LIU) is abducted after traveling to Nevada, the Emperor of China sends three of his top guards to retrieve and deliver the ransom in gold, although Chon Wang (JACKIE CHAN), considered a fool, volunteers feeling responsible for her kidnapping. Once in Nevada, completely skipping the boat ride over, things go haywire when Roy O’Bannon (OWEN WILSON) and his posse rob the train the guards are on, for a safe loaded with cash, but during the robbery one of the men, a short-fused newbie named Wallace (WALTON GOGGINS of “Justified” fame), who shoots and kills Wang’s Uncle who was on the trip as well.

Wanting revenge, Wang goes after O’Bannon blaming him for the killing while the other three guards remain on the train with the gold ransom. After a bit of fighting between O’Bannon and Wang, and O’Bannon’s crew turning on him after failing to nab the cash, the pair unites later at a bar and decides to partner up with O’Bannon helping lead Wang to Carson City. This is where the princess is being held by Lo Fang (ROGER YUAN), a traitor imperial guard. Now it is up to O’Bannon and Wang to rescue the princess.

Shanghai Knights (2003) — 3.0/5

Plot Outline: The story takes place in the latter part of the 19th century. Chon Wang (CHAN) is now the sheriff of Carson City and receives word that his father, the keeper of the Imperial Seal of China, has been murdered (when the film opened) by one Lord Nelson Rathbone (AIDAN GILLEN) and the seal has been stolen. Wang had received a letter from his sister, Chon Lin (FANN WONG), about the murder and that she has tracked Rathbone to London. Oh, and also Princess Pei Pei, now wife to Chon, is off on business in San Francisco meaning Lucy Liu didn’t even want to make a cameo appearance…

Needing to go to London, Wang needs the gold he had invested but Roy (WILSON) now lives in New York, up to his philandering ways. However, he’s angry to discover that Roy had thrown all their money down the drain with a bad investment (in Zeppelin) and is now broke, working as a hotel bar waiter but still able to charm the ladies… and make some dough in the process. But after some hijinks and shenanigans, the duo stowaway on a boat headed for London and when there, their task begins to find Rathbone. But before doing so, they are greeted by a street boy named Charlie (AARON TAYLOR-JOHNSON) and Scotland Yard Inspector Artie Doyle (TOM FISHER). Additionally, Roy is absolutely smitten with Chon Lin much to the horror of Wang. Now the three join forces to stop Rathbone as well as Wu Chow (DONNIE YEN) who are conspiring to overthrow their respective governments.

Quick Hit Review: The Shanghai movies never were favorites of mine but each contain just enough comedy to keep me entertained and the pairing of Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson is actually quite strong to the point I wouldn’t mind a third movie to complete the series. The fight scenes are, unsurprisingly, well done with Chan doing his own stunts, as seen in the outtakes, giving both movies a step up even when the plotlines were half-baked and predictable.


Shanghai Noon — 2.5/5
Audio Commentary
– This track features director Tom Dey & Stars Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson. The Chan portions were spliced in while Dey and Wilson chat together providing some basic behind-the-scenes information and despite having someone like Wilson (who was mostly quiet), it’s fairly dry…

Deleted Scenes (TRT 13:34; SD) – Eight scenes that were excised have been included here in fairly good condition…

There are archived featurettes included: Making an Eastern Western (3:23; SD) containing on-set interviews; Partners (4:09; SD) breaks down the two main characters and the contrast of the two stars; Jackie’s Comedy (3:48; SD) shows the martial arts star comedic side and how it compares with old silent films (and Chan’s love for Buster Keaton); Western Stunts, Eastern Style (3:39; SD) looks at the stunt work done on the movie; Hanging with Roy and the Kid (2:16; SD) focuses on the big hanging scene in the middle of the film; Action Overload (2:41; SD) basically just shows the different action/fight scenes; and lastly  Choo Choo Boogie (3:09; SD) looks at the designing and building of a miniature train.

Theatrical Trailer (1:18; SD)

Shanghai Knights — 2.0/5
Audio Commentaries
– There are two tracks here, the first is with Director David Dopkin and the other is with screenwriters Alfred Gough and Miles Millar. Both contain some interesting tid bits, like how Dopkin came to direct the sequel, to coming up with a story for this second entry for the writers’ track.

Deleted Scenes (TRT 28:08; SD) – The 11 scenes – some new, some trimmed from the final version – are nice to watch and everything but only served to unnecessarily extend the movie.

Fight Manual (9:03; SD) – Jackie Chan David Dopkin talk about filming action and comedy showing some behind-the-scenes footage at the amount of work done to get the shots right.

Action Overload (1:34; HD) – Just like the other one, this one is set against old-timey music, shows some of the action from the movie.

PreviewThe Lone Ranger


VIDEO – 4.5/5

Shanghai Noon arrives on Blu-ray presented with a 2.35 widescreen transfer and sporting a nifty 1080p high-def transfer. I was actually pleasantly surprised as the picture looks good displaying some normal film grain and noise while also showing off fine detail levels and color array throughout.

The transfer for Shanghai Knights is equally as impressive, also with 1080p HD. Here, the video is warmer but I believe that was by design. There’s a fair amount of natural grain and noise and the detail levels once again were excellent. Although compared with other catalogue titles, this might not be as old (only 10 years), but it’s never a guarantee and it does seem Disney put some effort.

AUDIO – 3.5/5

Where Disney fell short, however, is in the audio department. I don’t know if it was due to a lack of disc space but instead of having lossless tracks, both movies were merely given the standard Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks instead. Ponder this for a moment: the Father of Bride movies, both on one disc also, got DTS-HD MA tracks, yet these action-comedies did not? Yeah, doesn’t make sense either.

OVERALL – 3.25/5

Overall, Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights are both fun movies if not a bit forgettable even with Jackie Chan’s amazing fight sequences and stunt work. Even so, as buddy comedies go, Chan and Owen Wilson share good chemistry making both film a breeze to watch on a slow Saturday afternoon. The Blu-ray release luckily ported over all the special features and the video transfers for both movies are solid while the audio is unfortunately standard Dolby Digital which is surprising given it is 2013. But if you like these movies, the price seems reasonable enough.



Published: 05/02/2013

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