Shanghai Noon (2000)

Genres - Action, Comedy, Western  |   Sub-Genres - Comedy Western, Action Comedy, Buddy Film, Hybrid Western  |   Release Date - May 26, 2000 (USA)  |   Run Time - 111 min.  |   Countries - Hong Kong , United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Adam Goldberg

After the celluloid debacle known as Wild Wild West, moviegoers might be wary of a big-screen bonanza set in the Old West. However, Shanghai Noon breathes fresh air into the seemingly tired genre. It is an amalgamation of the Western, the buddy movie, and the kung-fu film in which "East-meets-Western." This effort marks the first time Chan is truly able to show his comic persona instead of being the kind of supporting player he was in Rush Hour. Chan is no longer the stern "Asian cop," but a very charming and charismatic hero with physical routines that rival those of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. While the film displays the usual arsenal of backflips and karate chops, Chan also loosens up for his American audience. His character gets high and drunk, and Chan even sleeps with a woman for the first time on film. Owen Wilson, meanwhile, proves once again that he has a unique gift for comic timing. As in the typical buddy movie, the unlikely duo serve both as perfect foils and perfect complements to each other. The result is a highly entertaining and surprisingly comic thrill-ride with some truly unforgettable moments -- most notably during a Chinese drinking game that occurs in a bubble bath. The film also captures the look and feel of the Westerns of yore, packed with everything from saloon fights to high noon showdowns. The script cleverly pokes fun at these classic clich├ęs, however, while paying tribute to such earlier pictures as Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid. The average moviegoer will notice the obvious references (Jackie Chan plays a character name Chon Wang, often mistaken for John Wayne), while the Western devotee will have a field day trying to find the more obscure Wild West homages.