Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Great, but worse.
One of the best parts of the film Forrest Gump is that it is a comedic take on historical fiction. Everything that happens in the movie, well almost everything, is based on real life and somehow almost makes sense because it doesn’t change what really happened. It’s hard to explain. Now, Shanghai Noon had a lot of jokes about modern times, but nothing really felt like comedic historical fiction as much as it did feel comedic cultural fiction. The sequel, Shanghai Knights has a little more of that comedic historical fiction feel that Forrest Gump held. No, that wasn’t the point, but it’s there.
The story starts off probably a few months to a year after the last film ended. Chon Wang is still in Carson City, Nevada, while Roy is living it up in New York City. When Wang’s father is killed by a thief looking for an ancient relic, Wang gathers Roy in New York and heads to England to meet up with his sister and track down the thief. The thief plans to somehow become the new King of England, even though he’s 10th in line. Meanwhile, the duo run into two historical icons.
As I mentioned above, this feels a bit more like historical fiction because it takes place in England. The time period which this film takes place in…the more iconic and memorable things happening in real life probably originated in the mother country. Obviously, we were bound to run into a few recognizable characters. Now, I can’t tell you who they are, or that would be spoilerific. I will say, however, that the duo indeed run into Jack the Ripper, for instance. The rest of the historical relevancy in this film…it’s obviously not educationally perfect, but it makes enough sense to not really question it. It’s made for fun, a few famous British people run into this duo, just as famous people run into Forrest Gump.
Technically, I think that idea was brilliant. We have so few films that actually use this film technique, but ultimately, that’s not what the film was about. It was just cool that it was partially used as such. The movie was really about restoring honor to Chon Wang’s family. To do that, he has to go get a McGuffin from a villain, because apparently it has the power to make him royalty. Seriously, it was one of those plots that you just have to accept. It was placed out of focus so we can have more high action from Jackie Chan and humorous bickering between himself and Owen Wilson.
The fight choreography was still done pretty well, but this time around it felt more cartoonish than anything else. It was more like a dance…which isn’t terrible, but it felt like it wasn’t taking it as seriously as maybe the first film did. It’s still awesome to see Jackie Chan do his thing, though. I will say out of both films, this film probably is more memorable with its scenes. There was that Dancing in the Rain fight sequence as well as the long sequence at Big Ben near the end that’s pretty hard to forget.
Also, the tone of the first film is still intact, thanks to chemistry from Chan and Owen. The jokes and dialogue in general are still as fresh as the first. This is probably due to the same writers of the first, Miles Millar and Alfred Gough (creators of Smallville). Overall, Shanghai Knights feels like it belongs in the series, even if it could have used some help in other areas.
No one can fulfill these rolls as well as Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson. Together, they can make any movie memorable and hilarious. This is probably more memorable than the first, and it was cool to see so many recognizable characters.
The fight sequences seemed less serious, as did the theme. You start to forget that Chon Wang’s father was even killed in the first place. Some of the jokes start to get old because honestly they reuse some from the first film. If there is something around you that can distract you, it’s likely that will happen.
Roy: That’s a terrible name for a detective. Sherlock Holmes?