Director: Tom Dey
Original Release: 2000
My Overall Rating: 2 stars out of 5
Jackie Chan was guaranteed box office gold at the turn of the millennium. This truly terrible movie raked in almost $100 million, even spawning a sequel entitled Shanghai Knights (I've promised My Wife I won't put that one on the queue). The contrived story: Chon Wang (Chan) is a member of China's Imperial Guard in 1881. One night, the princess (Lucy Liu) is kidnapped and taken to Nevada. Chon is reluctantly included in the party sent after her. En route to Carson City, their train is robbed by Roy O'Bannon (Owen) and his comically incompetent band of outlaws. Through a further series of misadventures, Chon and Roy become pals. They set off to rescue the princess and, in Roy's case, steal the ransom gold.
Seriously, it's awful. Giving it a 1 was very tempting. But this is a Jackie Chan movie. It's supposed to be fluff. If you're in the mood for fluff, this one does have a few things going for it. The fight scenes are great, of course. The scenery is absolutely stunning, filmed mostly in Alberta. There are even a few sparkling moments of humor. Roy first hears Chon's name as "John Wayne" and remarks that it's a terrible name for a cowboy. The best scene sees Chon and Roy playing a Chinese drinking game in the bathtub.
My Rating System:
5 = The best of the best. These are the films by which I judge other films.
4 = High quality films which I feel could hold up well in repeated viewings.
3 = The vast majority of films. They're fine. Once was enough.
2 = I wasn't even sure I wanted to finish it. It's not a 1 because I'm not prepared to say it's a terrible film - just not my cup of tea.
1 = A terrible film. An insult to the art form.