Around the World in 80 Days (2004)

Genres - Adventure, Children's/Family  |   Sub-Genres - Adventure Comedy, Costume Adventure  |   Release Date - Jun 16, 2004 (USA)  |   Run Time - 120 min.  |   Countries - Germany , United Kingdom , Ireland , United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Derek Armstrong

The first decade of the 21st century -- having no other defining cinematic characteristic -- may go down as the decade when Hollywood ran out of ideas, unleashing a torrent of wanton remakes. Around the World in 80 Days is the latest to come down the chute, and it's been redesigned as a Jackie Chan film. The problem is, it needed to be much more of a Jackie Chan film to be watchable over two long hours. Save a few trademark Chan maneuvers -- such as a delightful skirmish with canvas and paint, during which Chan ducks and weaves his way to a masterpiece -- the film drags painfully between set pieces that rely on Steve Coogan for their spark. Coogan does get off a couple witty one-liners as the priggish Phileas Fogg, but the script neutralizes them by continuing to reuse them throughout, in slightly altered form. By his mere participation in the film, Coogan squanders the indie credibility he earned as music impresario Tony Wilson in 24 Hour Party People, reminding audiences he's just an actor looking for a healthy paycheck. Cameos by Arnold Schwarzenegger (after taking office as governor) and a handful of others are equally lame and lifeless. The main reason to take the journey, aside from a fairly opulent set and visual sense, is French actress C├ęcile De France in her English-language debut. A cross between Brittany Murphy and Alicia Silverstone, De France exudes spunky charm every moment she's on screen. Anyone familiar with her work in the bloody French film Haute Tension will also be surprised at her adaptability.