Reviewed by Jessica Brandt
As a normal, stupid American, you've got to love Jackie Chan. Sure, the smart, artsy, martial-arts-knowing Americans probably thing he's bastardizing the sport, but for me, I think he's pretty damn entertaining.
His latest film, Shanghai Noon, puts him in the unique position of being able to use his skills in the Old West of America. What I like about this scenario is that we get to see new ways for him to perform his dynamic stunts and beat the crap out of people in new ways. One of the best fight scenes in the movie is him taking on a pack of Crow warriors. Seeing him perform the martial arts against the Crow's tough and skillful fighting style kept my eyes glued to the screen.
The story revolves around the Chinese princess's (the awesome and beautiful Lucy Liu) escape from China and subsequential kidnapping in America. Three Imperial guards are sent to retrieve her from the work camp in Carson City, and Chan's character tags along.
A gang of outlaws, led by the sensitive cowboy Roy O'Bannon (Luke Wilson), attempt to rob the train the guards are travelling on, and thus O'Bannon and Chon Wang (say it fast!) cross paths.
After a series of events and some solo fighting by Chan, the two hook up and become partners when the cowboy finds there is gold (ransom money from China) involved.
Together the two travel across Nevada to Carson City to retrieve the princess and procure the gold as well. Of course, they're being chased by the sheriff, the Chinese bad guy, and O'Bannon's former gang. They still find time to spend the night at a Carson City whore house and share a hilarious bubble bath.
Sounds like a corny buddy film, I know. But the scenario is interesting and the dialogue is pretty funny. Also, the characters in the movie are portrayed with trueness and sensitivity- the Native Americans are neither savages nor drunks, the Chinese in the work camps are not having a good time, and the Imperial Guards are incredibly loyal.
Luke Wilson does an excellent job as the sensitive cowboy. he's obviously too pretty to be a rough one. He gets a lot of witty comments in.
This probably won't be the best movie of the summer, but it's worth it to see it while everyone else is cramming into Dinosaur and Mission: Impossible-2. Oh, and be sure to stay for the closing credits!
(Out of five)