Rule of thumb: When a studio releases a movie like Shanghai Knights or Daredevil in February, don't count on it being good. If they really had the confidence that it would make a lot of money, they would've waited until the summer.
This remake is no better or worse than the original film. It just exists. One of the biggest problems is that they tried so desperately to work Charlie Chaplain, Jack the Ripper, Sherlock Holmes, etc. into the movie. I can just see the pitch meeting now: Instead, we'll call it Shanghai Knights--with a K even. Isn't that clever? And then won't it be cute if we can bring Sherlock Holmes into the movie, seeing that they're in Britain? No, what would be clever is exhuming the body of Graham Chapman, reuniting Monty Python and having them knighted by the Spice Girls in G-strings while Jackie Chan does his “Singing in the Rain” impression in Queen Victoria's secret lingerie while Owen Wilson just stands there introducing himself to women. Or something.
If you've ever seen a Jackie Chan movie before, you will not be impressed by the fight sequences. In fact, this movie has less action and the action that does exist feels tacked on. There are continuity problems where Owen Wilson is hanging off the minute hand of Big Ben, while Jackie Chan is fighting on the inside with the silhouette of the minute hand clicking away, but no silhouette of Wilson. Plus, I've never seen an actor so uninvolved in his own movie. Owen Wilson's character doesn't do anything but stand around looking dumber than usual.
For a crowd-pleasing no-brainer, this doesn't even succeed on that level. There are better movies out there. Just open the paper.
Shanghai Knights (2 out of Four)
PG-13, 2003, 107 min., Touchstone Pictures.
Better Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson Flicks:
Jackie Chan: Rumble in the Bronx, Gorgeous, Miracles, Drunken Master, Legend of Drunken Master, Police Story, Rush Hour 1 & 2… Owen Wilson: The Royal Tenninbaums, Bottle Rocket, Rushmore…
Fuck Santa Monica AMC 7! They pissed me off for the last time. It's opening weekend I catch one of the first shows and there's a cattle line around the corner. I'm amped up, waiting, laughing at The Matrix Reloaded posters, when us cattle started trudging through the front lobby when the manger grins his shit-eating grin and says, "The feature will start right on time." I knew what that meant but I asked any way for the people behind me. The manager said, "The movie will start on time so you don't sit through 15 minutes of previews." He said it like AMC was doing me a favor. I must've been making my devil face, because the manager finally made eye contact with me and looked instantly guilty. Then the buzz started, "No previews?" The murmur started to get louder. I told him you're not doing us a favor by cutting the trailers, you're fucking robbing us of the total movie experience!" The manager got back to tearing tickets and his lame mantra of the feature starting right on time. As I meandered off furling complaints in my head, I kept thinking that I spent 7 bones to get ripped off. Now, theaters do shit like this to fit in as many shows during the day so they can make more money off of the paying customer. The problem with cutting the trailers is that, yes, they did cut 15 minutes of previews, but they showed a half an hour of fucking commercials--and I'm not talking about the stupid slides before the lights go out! I used to love going to the movies. And maybe I'll still go, but it won't be the Santa Monica AMC 7. Greedy dicks.