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Shanghai Noon (2000)



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Shanghai Noon puts Jackie Chan in the Old West. It's a catchy premise but a risky one, and many other movies with premises as catchy have failed miserably. Shanghai Noon succeeds, among other reasons, because it sees its premise as a starting point, not the final destination. Upon that premise is built a wonderful little story -- escapism, perhaps, but entertaining nonetheless. I particularly liked how, by the end, characters of differing agendas and priorities are thrown together and forced to contend with each other. Enemies suddenly become friends when faced with greater enemies; views that seem opposing from one perspective may not from another.

Of course, in a Jackie Chan movie, plot is secondary. The real answers people want to know about a Chan flick are if the action and stunts are creative and breathtaking and if the humor is funny. Yes to both. Shanghai Noon has some wonderful sequences in it. Chan's action is less toned down for American audiences than it was in Rush Hour, and he has a great co-star in Owen Wilson, who would steal any other movie.

Because of its unfailing sense of fun, Shanghai Noon ranks with the best in Jackie Chan's filmography. Seeing it once made me want to see it again and await his next film with great impatience.

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