February 7, 2003
Though technically Shanghai Noon was no runaway success, earning only $56.9 million in North America compared to its $55 million budget, Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson will attempt to recapture the chemistry that made the West fun as the sequel takes them to solve a mystery in Victorian England.
At the time of the first film's release in 2000, Owen Wilson was a known commodity, but only in smaller circles. With his biggest film roles coming in ensemble cast-driven films like Anaconda, Armageddon and The Haunting, no movie had ever relied on his name and face to drive box office. The same technically applied to Shanghai Noon, since Chan had opened Rush Hour to surprising success in 1998 and was certainly primed for bigger things to come in 2001 but in 2000, his name was no guarantee for big box-office success, either.
Since that time, both Wilson and Chan are eminently recognizable, with Chan's great success coming with Rush Hour 2's blockbuster performance, while Wilson has seen a steady number of solid hits in Zoolander, Behind Enemy Lines and The Royal Tenenbaums. By the time Shanghai Knights hits theaters, he will also have starred with Eddie Murphy in the movie adaptation of the television series I Spy.
So with two very marketable stars who also happen to have fantastic chemistry and a wonderful working relationship, Spyglass Entertainment and Touchstone Pictures will re-team the duo with Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, who wrote the screenplay for the original film, along with the recent Eddie Murphy/Robert DeNiro reality-TV parody Showtime (Probably more impressive is that the two have also been tapped to do the script for a little movie known as Spider-Man 2.) The writers have described Shanghai Knights as a story about two fish-out-of-water in England with kung-fu.
The new film will start with Chan's character, Chon Wang, still living and fighting in the West, while Wilson's Roy has returned to New York. Chon receives a letter that his father has been killed and his sister has been tracking the murderers to England, so he re-teams with Roy and they head across the ocean to avenge the death. In the process, Chon's sister has the same idea, but she uncovers a vast worldwide conspiracy to overthrow the Ching dynasty and she attempts to solve the mystery with the help of our heroes.
The main villain in the film will be played by the wonderful Donnie Yen, best known as the Iron Monkey but who also appeared in the recent Blade sequel. Chan has choreographed all of the fight scenes and the combat action between these two talented kung-fu artists should be jaw-dropping and amazing. The two have never worked together before, so the pairing is an exciting one for fans of Hong Kong cinema.
Since Shanghai Knights has been compared, at various times, to a Bing Crosby/Bob Hope road movie or Abbott and Costello in their funny-scary movies of the '50s, there's no doubt that humor will be the strongest selling point for the film, though the action scenes will certainly be a nice bonus. (Kim Hollis/BOP)
Comparison films for Shanghai Knights
|Rush Hour 2
|Lethal Weapon 4
|Lethal Weapon 3
|Lethal Weapon 2
|Royal Tenenbaums, The