Around the World in 80 Days

Bomb Rating: 

It's pretty much impossible to figure out what anyone was thinking remaking this film, but I'm assuming it goes something like this: Since Jackie Chan is a huge star but he can't really play the part of the inventor Phileas Fogg (Steve Coogan), we'll give him the role of Fogg's assistant and refocus the film on Chan's character since nobody really gives a crap about Fogg since nobody in the world has the slightest idea who Steve Coogan is. But I'm just guessing.

The result of such deference to Chan's star power is a tortured rewrite that has Lau Xing (Chan) robbing the Bank of England and then haphazardly joining Fogg in order to escape the police and return a jade Buddha to his hometown.
Conveniently enough, right after Lau Xing, called Passepartout by Fogg, joins up with Fogg, Fogg accepts a challenge from Lord Kelvin (Jim Broadbent) to travel around the world in 80 days. This sends them to China where Lau can return the Buddha.

The manipulation involved in making this script flow and sound half-way coherent is enough to make one of Bush's speechwriters blush. Fogg and Lau end up in Paris where they run into Monique La Roche (Cecile De France) so that she can team up with them and become Fogg's love interest. Though Chan is the hero of the film, Monique falls for Fogg because he's not a slanty-eyed Chinaman, I guess. That's right, Disney: Keep the white people together! It can't be a family film with the intermixing of the races, you know.

This is a film that tries to distract the viewer from its lack of a clear protagonist and slight racism with a litany of cameos so that the audience can blurt out every ten minutes or so, "Hey look, it's John Cleese!" or whatever. Rob Schneider is in it. Arnold Schwarzenegger is in it. The most annoying was Kathy Bates as the Queen because the first thing I thought to myself when she showed up on screen was, "Has she ever done an accent before?"

Frankly, I wish I could have been distracted on my way to the theater and just missed this film entirely.

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