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Shanghai Knights (2003)

Directed by:

David Dobkin

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 114 minutes

UK Certificate: 12a

Jackie Chan left a sour taste in this reviewer's mouth not too long ago in the rank rotten “The Tuxedo“, and Owen Wilson wasn't much better in the distinctly average buddy romp “I Spy” – so it's a genuine pleasure to see the pair of them back on-form in this superior sequel to 2000's “Shanghai Noon”. Yet again we're taken back to the 1880s, where trouble's a-brewing in China. Kiss-curled villain Lord Rathbone (Aiden Gillen) has stolen the Royal Seal and murdered the father of Chon Wang (Chan) who, as we know from last time round, is over in the good ol' US of A where he's the sheriff of Carson City. Before long, Wang has hooked up with his old pal Roy O'Bannon (Wilson) and the pair of them head for England to avenge his father's death, recover the Seal and stop blue-blooded Rathbone from using his new invention – a machine gun – on the British Royal Family. Also on the good guys' side are Fann Wong as a love interest for O'Bannon, Aaron Johnson as a cocky Cockney street urchin, and Tom Fisher as a well-meaning but slightly incompetent Scotland Yard detective. Okay, so the plot doesn't make a heck of a lot of sense, but it's both fast-paced and funny enough to make up for that. Wilson steals each of his scenes and provides plenty of laughs, and there's plenty of action to keep things moving along – although most of Chan's fight scenes look more like dance routines (with one particular sequence paying homage to “Singin' in the Rain”).

It's Got: A host of end-of-film out-takes that are well worth sticking around for.

It Needs: To have cut the wince-inducing wisecrack about orphans – just a little too close to the bone.

Alternatives:

I Spy, I Spy, Shanghai Noon, The Tuxedo

Summary

Fun-packed globe-trotting hi-jinks, significantly funnier and more entertaining than its trailer suggests.

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