Shanghai Knights [2003]

Director: David Dobkin
Stars: Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Donnie Yen, Fann Wong, Aidan Gillen
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 114 minutes

Better than your average sequel, Shanghai Knights almost defies the law of diminishing returns. Lacking the freshness of Shanghai Noon, it compensates with a looser, disposable plot that plays to the strengths of costars Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson. It's 1887, and odd-couple heroes Chon Wang (Chan) and Roy O'Bannon (Wilson) are in London to retrieve the Imperial Seal of China, stolen by an English lord (Aidan Gillen) who killed Wang's father in his quest for the British throne. Wang's lithe and lovely sister (Fann Wong) joins the battle with high-kicking force, appealing to Roy's roguish charm and surfer-dude anachronisms. While Chan continues his transition to safer stunts and good-natured homage to Buster Keaton, Gene Kelly, and other Hollywood legends, Wilson indulges the party vibe to good effect, maintaining the anything-goes approach that allows silly encounters with Jack the Ripper, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and a Dickensian urchin named Charlie Chaplin. (Chaplin wasn't born until 1889, but if the filmmakers didn't care, why should you?) --Jeff Shannon

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