A Chinese imperial guard travels to the American West to
rescue a kidnapped princess with the help of a hopeless outlaw.
Shanghai Noon (2000)
Directed by Tom Dey
Written by Miles Millar and Alfred Gough
Starring Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Lucy Liu, Roger Yuan,
Xander Berkeley, Brandon Merrill, Walton Goggins
Shanghai Noon is one of the best buddy movies of the decade and a solid comedy, a great action film, and an entertaining western. Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson have terrific chemistry and without them, this film would have basically just been a retread of Wild Wild West without the giant spider.
The plot is simple enough, with Chan traveling to the West to save Princess Pei Pei (Lucy Liu) and ending up friends with Wilson. As with most buddy films, their relationship starts out a little rocky, but we all know the formula. I've got nothing to complain about when it comes to buddy movies. They can be a great way to spend an hour and a half or they can be a complete trainwreck. Shanghai Noon is the former, mostly due to the constant cracks about western icons and cowboy culture.
The villain's plan doesn't make a lot of sense, but the laughs and well-choreographed stunts make up for it in the long run. This film is essentially Rush Hour in the Old West, which is fine because I loved Rush Hour and Owen Wilson isn't nearly as annoying as Chris Tucker. Jackie Chan's films are definitely more hits than misses and I would label Shanghai Noon as one of his most enjoyable.