5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Mindless trash ... but it works!,
This review is from: Shanghai Knights [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
In the opening sequence of SHANGHAI KNIGHTS, the aged keeper of China's Great Imperial Seal is knifed during the seal's theft. With his dying breath, the old man extracts from his daughter, Chon Lin (Fann Wong), the promise to recover the trinket.
The film next jumps to Carson City, Nevada, where Lin's brother Chon Wang (Jackie Chan) is town sheriff. He relinquishes his badge to travel to New York City to meet his old sidekick (from SHANGHAI NOON), Roy O'Bannon (Owen Wilson), a lothario waiter on the run from impoverishment and the irate father of two nubile and willing young ladies. Roy and Wang go on to 1880s London to rendezvouz with Lin and recover the seal. The Carson City and Big Apple sequences are unnecessary except to (re)introduce the audience to our two heroes, and provide a few gags and martial arts skirmishes. Once in London, the core of the storyline unfolds.
SHANGHAI KNIGHTS is mindless trash. (Come to think of it, so is this review.) However, it works because of the perfect chemistry between Chan and Wilson. The (relatively) straight-laced Wang is the perfect foil for Roy's lunatic shenanigans. (This is what makes Chan and Wilson a great comedy team in the tradition of Abbott and Costello.) And the exuberant energy of their skits is indicative of the fun they're obviously having with their roles. In addition, Jackie supplies the amazing martial arts choreography. In this film, Fann Wong as Li demonstrates that she can go kick for kick with Chan. And where has Ms. Wong been? She's exquisitely and delicately beautiful.
In a supporting role, Aaron Johnson as the larcenous guttersnipe Charlie is a pure joy. I wish he'd had much more screen time.
SHANGHAI KNIGHTS isn't a great film, or even one worth a second viewing. But it's the fun antidote for the low spirits perhaps brought on by more sobering fare.
One last thought. SHANGHAI KNIGHTS was filmed in London, Calgary, and a studio in the Czech Republic. The credits give little overt evidence that Hollywood was involved in the film's technical creation. Is Tinseltown becoming superfluous in the nuts and bolts of filmmaking?