Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Shanghai Noon -- 2000

Shanghai Noon 

Rated: PG-13
My Rating: 4 Stars

Jackie Chan
Owen Wilson
Lucy Liu
Xander Berkeley
Brandon Merrill

This probably the funniest, most unique, fresh western that I've seen in my entire life. It had so many twists and turns that I was kept on the edge of my seat, alternately laughing and shocked. 

Roy O'Bannon: "There are some things in this world that are just plain wrong and stealing a princess is one of them."

In The Forbidden City of China there lived beautiful princess Pei Pei, her father and the "pig" her father was forcing her to marry. Also living in the city were thousands of imperial guards who's entire lives were purposed in serving the royalty of their country. Among these was a man who dared think outside of the box and caught a glimpse of the Princess. It was in the moment Chong Wang saw her face that his heart was smitten. Probably he would have gone through his life hopelessly in love had it not been through a series of events in which Princess Pei Pei was kidnapped and held for ransom.

Three Imperial Guards were chosen to bring the amount of gold requested to the appointed place. Chong Wang was not among them but, feeling that it was his fault the Princess had been abducted, he begged to be allowed to accompany them and bring the Princess back to China. In the end, it was agreed to accept his request because there was high hopes of the 'foreign devils' ridding China of his presence.

So they set off for Nevada, USA, to do or die. The Wild West that awaited them was not prepared for such loyalty and devotion while the Chinamen were not prepared for knots the Wild West would throw at them. Chong Wang was especially not prepared for Roy O'Bannon: wild and woolly outlaw of a really mean... uh... gang. Train Robbers. Sort of. Wannabes. Yeah.

Gang member: "Is that the train?"

Unfortunately for Roy and his gang, they decide to rob the train that is carrying Chong Wang, his uncle, the other Imperial Guards (they didn't know about that until later) and the gold to ransom the Princess (they didn't know about that until much later!). Perhaps their paths wouldn't have crossed at all but the newest member of Roy's gang got a little trigger happy and killed Chong Wang's uncle. Roy is upset and hustles his gang out of the passenger car to car containing the safe. But no sooner have they left the car when Chong Wang happens on the scene. His grief on finding his uncle's lifeless form is soon overrun with anger and he swears to avenge his murder.

It doesn't take long for him to foil the poor gang's plans and to get Roy O'Bannon in one big heap of trouble. But amazingly, even in the most difficult circumstances Chong Wang's idealistic attitude and devotion rub off on whomever he touches... and of all the people he meets, he changes Roy the most.

Chong Wang: "He took the gold."
Roy O'Bannon: "Is that all you're worried about? Shame on you."

What I Liked:
1: The acting. As you know, Owen Wilson is one of my favorite actors. This is the first movie I've seen Jackie Chan in and I already appreciate him.
2: The humor. It was really, really funny. Jackie Chan's silent comedy was to die for. And of course, Owen Wilson's lines were as great as always. :)

3: Soundtrack was good.
4: Lots of gags and little details that one has to look for carefully. I love watching a movie three or four times and still finding new things to laugh about.
5: Although rated PG-13... the sexuality was toned down. It wasn't nearly as bad as I had been anticipating.
6: Not much language.
7: There is a mystery... I love mysteries.
8: I really like the look at the Chinese culture. It definitely wasn't complete but it was enough to give me a taste.
9: Happy endings for the good guys are always my favorites.

What I Didn't Like:
1: The sexual implications/brothel visits/etc/etc. It never goes "too far" but still... some of it they definitely could have taken out. For more details visit: www.charitysplace.com/review/shanghainoon.htm
2: Some language. It wasn't over the top but some people might have a problem with it.

Things to Know:
1: There is some crude humor regarding a wet shirt and prison bars. Lol. It makes me laugh every time just because it's so appropriate it doesn't seem crude. But I understand why people would find it offensive. I would had it been in any other context.
2: This movie is not realistic in many ways but it didn't bother me this time because the movie is a satire/comedy. You can get away with a lot if you make me laugh. :-P

Do I recommend this movie? If you like westerns and you like spoofs and you don't mind laughing at yourself, go for it. This movie touched my soul and still made me smile.

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