Shanghai Knights (2003)

7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Owen Wilson and Jackie Chan are a good comedy team

Not as good as the original

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Shanghai Knights

Studio:  Spyglass Entertainment

Genre(s):  Martial Arts/Action/Adventure/Comedy

Release Date(s):  February 7, 2003

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


The Union Jack has had better days

The father of Chon Wang (Jackie Chan) and the Keeper of the Imperial Seal of China has been killed.  Now, Wang must team up with his partner Roy O’Bannon (Owen Wilson) travel to England and find the stolen seal with his sister Chon Lin (Fann Wong).  Unfortunately for Wang, Lin, and O’Bannon, Lord Rathbone (Aiden Gillen) and his partner Wu Chow (Donnie Yen) have plans for the seal and for the Royal Family…and only they can stop them!

Directed by David Dobkin, Shanghai Knights is the sequel to the smash hit Shanghai Noon from 2000.  Like the previous entry, the action-comedy was well received by critics and performed strongly at the box office.


Let’s dump the dead weight behind us and get it on!

Both Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights are fun movies.  The buddy pictures are very stylized and though they are action pictures, they are very light action pictures which focuses more on the comedy.  Shanghai Knights is just an enjoyable ride.

The movie is very tongue-in-cheek.  It is loaded with obvious references from Sherlock Holmes (and O’Bannon and Wang’s partner is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle played by Tom Fishers) to Charlie Chaplin (played by Aaron Johnson).  The movie also answers the age old question of what really happened to Jack the Ripper (played by Oliver Cotton)…apparently he got ninja kicked into the river.  The plot is light and fluffy and feels like a real throwback to old buddy comedies.

The reason the movie works is that Wilson and Chan do work well together.  They have great timing that feels like a classic buddy movie.  The movie loses Lucy Liu but gains Fann Wong as Chan’s sister.  Aidan Gillen is rather generic as Lord Nelson Rathbone and Aaron Johnson has an early role as the young Charlie Chaplin.


Jackie Chan dances…and fights!

The movie is loaded with some great stunts, but the movie’s Singin’ in the Rain dance by Chan probably is the topper.  Chan’s well timed dance is more like a dance than a fight.  It also draws the interesting connection between dance and the martial arts which are as the title implies a type of art…it isn’t really about the fight but the nicely timed battle.

I do enjoy Shanghai Knights but it isn’t much of an action film…even when compared to other action comedies like Beverly Hills Cop.  The action is light and the movie is family friendly without being kiddie.  With the success of Shanghai Knights, a sequel was expected but unfortunately never formed.  Shanghai Dawn was talked about, but for now we’ll just have to hold Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights for the fun.

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Related Links:

Shanghai Noon (2000)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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