Shanghai Knights

Bomb Rating: 

This film doesn't take place in Shanghai, doesn't include any knights, and almost all the action takes place in the daytime, so I don't see how the title is relevant to anything at all. The film takes place in 1880s London and uses the same two characters from the first film, "Shanghai Noon": Chon Wang (Jackie Chan) and Roy O'Bannon (Owen Wilson). Its main source of "clever" humor consists of clumsy historical references: Jack the Ripper (Oliver Cotton) has a confrontation with one of the characters, Det. Artie Doyle (Tom Fisher) helps our intrepid heroes out, and there's a little kid named Charlie (Aaron Johnson) who reveals a cute Hollywood secret at the end of the film.

It's all so quaint I wanted to puke. I can only say "thank God" that the filmmakers didn't continue beating us over the head with the tortured joke of the similar-sounding "Chon Wang" and "John Wayne." That's one of those jokes that's funny only if nobody ever mentions it, and exactly the type of joke most directors can't help but point out over and over again to make sure every moron in the audience gets it.

Chon and Roy are in London to track down the man who murdered Chon's father. Chon's sister, Lin (Fann Wong), is also there and naturally, she's got some martial arts skills and can kick ass. (Incidentally, Chon is Wang's family name. Everyone should call him Wang, I think, and his sister should be called Lin. However, Roy calls him Chon. Frankly, if China would just get their damn naming system straightened out, like ours, this wouldn't be so complicated.) Roy immediately falls in love with Lin, but Chon doesn't like this because Roy's an idiot and the image of Roy screwing Lin makes Chon sick. Eventually though, he overcomes this image and doesn't mind if Roy screws his sister.

This sequel is so unlike the original in tone and story, that one is absolutely amazed at the filmmakers' creative abilities. Okay, I jest. Actually, it's exactly like the first one in every way. There's nothing surprising about the film at all and it's just another tribute to the American tradition of intellectual and physical laziness that promotes eating fast food, watching television, and paying to see film sequels. "Shanghai Knights" is just further proof that Americans' rank on the "intellectual perspicacity" scale places them somewhere between "sea turtles" and "kale."

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