Monday, 26 December 2016

Shanghai Noon (4½ Stars)

"This is the West, not the East. The sun might rise where you come from, but this is where it sets".

Despite having a few unwatched films on my shelf -- I binged in the Black Friday sales -- I'm still returning to watch some of my favourite films that I've watched many times before. That's the way I am. I watch films depending on my mood, and sometimes I just have the urge to watch the films I love the most. At the moment I'm on a Jackie Chan kick (pun intended). And why not? After watching the Rush Hour trilogy earlier this month I want to see more of him.

Jackie Chan has made over a hundred films. I probably have about a dozen on disc, and I've seen another dozen in the cinema. That means there are many, many more of his films that I still haven't seen. Let's hope for a low-price box set of the best films of his career. Remastered Blu-rays, of course!

"Shanghai Noon" is a comedy, throwing in lots of little jokes for fans of the classic westerns, in particular the Clint Eastwood spaghetti western trilogy. I notice new things every time I watch it.

The film begins in China. A princess is kidnapped and taken to America. The ransom has to be paid in gold. The imperial guard Chon Wang (Jackie Chan) is one of the party who travel to America with the gold. After a train robbery he gets separated from the others in his delegation, and he forms an uneasy partnership with the leader of the train robbers, Roy O'Bannon (Owen Wilson). He's not really a bad guy, for him robbery is just a job, a way to make money. That's the American dream, isn't it? Anyone can make money if he works hard. Roy O'Bannon is a gentleman robber. He never robs women, and he never, never shoots anyone. When he hears about the kidnapped princess his sense of chivalry is awakened. The thought of the gold also attracts him.

This is one of those films that everybody needs to watch, whatever sort of films he usually likes. Action films? Westerns? Comedies? "Shanghai Noon" has something for everyone.

In England the film has only been released on DVD, but the American Blu-ray release of "Shanghai Noon" and "Shanghai Knights" is region free, if you prefer to pay a few pounds more for a better quality picture.

"That's another fine mess you've gotten me into".

The Chinese princess is played by the beautiful actress Lucy Liu. Is it worth travelling hald way across the world to rescue her? What a silly question!

"Never bring fists to a gun fight". Although somehow I don't think Owen's guns are a match for Jackie's fists. Not even close.

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