Reviewer's Rating 2 out of 5   User Rating 4 out of 5
Shanghai Knights (2003)

The tagline for Jackie Chan's latest American adventure is a "A Royal Kick In The Arse". Well, "A dull throb in the temples" isn't as catchy, is it? However, that's how all but the most simple-minded of viewers are likely to feel after watching this tiring, unnecessary sequel.

It's not that it's shockingly bad - in fact, the laugh count is higher than that of the commercially successful original. But it's as waywardly plotted and ultimately grating as its predecessor: a series of so-so to sprightly stunt sequences linked by a stupid, lazy script.

Chan is Wild western sheriff Chong Wang (pronounced John Wayne - ho, ho), who abandons the US to reunite with his irresponsible old buddy Roy O'Bannon (Owen Wilson) and travel to England.

He hooks up with his sister (the arresting Fann Wong) to avenge his father's death at the hands of Lord Rathbone (Aidan Gillan - who looks throughout like he's impersonating a horse).

So, what of the fisticuffs and gags in this supposed "action comedy"? At first, Victorian London provides plenty of opportunity for amusing Brit-bashing. But the chuckles wane as the running time stretches on, and the writers please only themselves with embarrassing character cameos by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Charlie Chaplin.

Wilson is a saving grace - he can't help but be funny - but his character's line in sexual innuendo soon crosses from saucy to smutty. Chan again shows why he would be a magnificent silent film star, but English-language movies further expose his lack of verbal dexterity.

This is compensated for, to a degree, by the fight scenes, but these can't even equal the likes of "Jackie Chan's First Strike", yet alone "Police Story".

Watch only at home, with a six-pack of beer. This is a franchise due for the chop.

End Credits

Director: David Dobkin

Writer: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar

Stars: Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Fann Wong, Donnie Yen, Aidan Gillen, Tom Fisher

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy

Length: 114 minutes

Cinema: 04 April 2003

Country: USA/UK

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