Shanghai Noon (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

I really like Jackie Chan movies. This is a charming one, and it's gentler than the typical Chan fest, as befits its Touchstone origins.

On the surface, it's the usual corny 1950's Hollywood cliche that you'd expect from a Disney flick. Chinese Imperial Guardsmen have to go to California to rescue the kidnapped princess. Nothing special there.

Although it is impressive how they keep coming up with gimmicks for these fight scenes, and the action scenes are imaginatively and wittily choreographed, that isn't what makes the film special either.

So, if it isn't the plot or the fight scenes, or even the humor, what makes it work for me?

It's a great buddy picture. Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson are the best cowboy buddies since Redford and Newman. In fact, there is a Cassidy/Sundance homage near the end of the film, and joky tips of the hat to a bunch of other films along the way. (Chan's character, by the way, is named Chon Wang - Americans pronounce it "John Wayne", get it? The chief evil dude is named Van Cleef).

Owen Wilson is hilarious as the decadent and self-centered but essentially gentle hearted California surfer guy who has somehow ended up in the Old West as an incompetent outlaw and conman. And Jackie Chan is Jackie Chan. Together they take on Chinese gangsters, Sioux, Crow, corrupt marshalls, outlaws and the pretentions of the western film genre.

Very pleasant way to pass a couple of hours when you want to have a beer and you don't feel like thinking.

I only have one complaint. The DVD comes with about a dozen deleted scenes, and the theatrical release has some continuity lapses caused by cutting out so many scenes. I would have preferred if they just stuck the scenes back in the film and had one continuous version that makes sense. (Except for a couple of scenes which were deleted because they changed something)

No nudity in the movie proper, but Jackie Chan's Sioux wife (Brandon Merrill) did a unrevealing but cute nude scene in the deleted scenes.

Box Office: It probably didn't do as well as they expected, because they dedicated a $55 million budget on it and opened it in 2700 theaters, but it took in $57 million domestic gross, thereby assuring a handsome profit with foreign, video, and other revenues. The Mickey Mouse boys were happy enough that they already gave the green light to Shanghai Noon 2.

General consensus: a bit better than three stars, and I feel that is pretty accurate.

IMDB summary: 7.5 out of 10.

Rotten Tomatoes summary. 74% positive, and 75% from the top critics.

DVD info from Amazon. Not a spectacular DVD, but a very solid one. Good looking widescreen transfer. Commentary, deleted scenes, two short featurettes, some lame trivia games, the trailer, the music video

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