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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Hungarian: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Commentary - English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Commentary - English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
    English, Spanish, Hungarian, English - Hearing Impaired, English - Visually Impaired
  Extras
  • Deleted scenes - 28 minutes
  • 2 Audio commentary - Director's and Screenwriter's
  • 2 Featurette

Shanghai Knights

Buena Vista/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 110 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

In case you arenít familiar with the prequel to this film, Shanghai Noon (with the delicious pun in the title) hereís the lowdown. Loveable loser Roy OíBannon and partner Chon Wang (pronounced John Wayne) have separated company for a while, with Chon staying on as a sheriff in Carson City, Nevada. When he learns of his fatherís death under suspicious circumstances in China, Chon goes to see Roy in San Francisco for his share of their joint gold. Unfortunately, Roy has squandered it and with cops after them, they hightail it to England in pursuit of the killer.

Whilst in dear old England the boys spend a lot of time poking fun at the English, meeting historical figures who arenít quite famous yet and fighting their way out of packs of able bodied fighting men.

"You ever heard of those? Theyíre parents. We have parents that love us. You donít ícause youíre a little orphan."

Being a Jackie Chan vehicle, the film is naturally chock full of his amazing choreography in fight scenes. The fights are replete with all manner of stage props, including vases, umbrellas, revolving doors, hats, helmets, tables, crates and whatever else comes readily to hand. These alone make Jackieís films worth watching, to see him perform acts of such incredible grace razor edited into such amazing five minute spectacles. Who cares about the plot or Owen Wilson?

But, in case you do, heís alright in this, though naturally he plays Owen Wilson. And, is his nose getting more long and fractured or what? Whatís up with that?

Anyhow, back to Jackie. His first films in the US werenít so well received, even though the fight scenes again were totally kickarse (pun intended). When he was teamed up with Chris Tucker for Rush Hour it appeared that they had struck the chord necessary for his films to succeed. The good old buddy formula wins again. Followed by Shanghai Noon, then Brett Ratnerís Rush Hour 2 it seemed the formula was perfect. So, why fix it if it ainít broke? Hence, we are given Shanghai Knights. Coming soon, Rush Hour 3 (where Jackie and Chris save the Chinese/American Moon Embassy from terrorists) and Shanghai 5 (with our boys taking on children's television programming).

  Video
Contract

Naturally, such a recent film gets a sterling transfer, particularly as that transfer is by the good folks at Buena Vista. A massive 2.35:1 aspect with 16:9 enhancement lets us see every full scale English countryside shot in glorious bright green. There is a weird camera/transfer jiggle at 1:21:02 that I couldnít work out. Possibly just a crapper effort or maybe the layer change, but it seemed a little late for that. Anyway, it isnít too disruptive, just a touch odd. Otherwise everything looks superb and has been handled excellently.

  Audio
Contract

Same here. Being so recent thereís a nicely rounded out Dolby Digital 5.1 surround soundtrack. The musical score is fine and well balanced and the actual soundtrack features I think three modern songs over the 1887 setting. This can either work or not work in a period film and in Shanghai Knights, because of its lighthearted nature, it works well. There donít appear to be any major stock sound effects and the whole soundtrack overall is well levelled out.

  Extras
Contract

Not many for this one, but still a rather healthy dose. Two featurettes entitled Fight Manual and Action Overload have been included, though one is a waste of time and the other is quite good. Fight Manual is an interview with Jackie and director David Dobkin and details the pursuit and execution of the many fight scenes and their choreography. Quite interesting, but it only runs for nine minutes, and while very informative, it isnít long enough.

Action Overload is 90 seconds of highlights from fight scenes run through the sepia and film noise filters to produce an olde-time looking silent film. Rather crap actually.

After that come the deleted scenes, which run for 28 minutes. These are presented in 2.35:1, but arenít enhanced and also contain final footage each side so as to ascertain where they belonged in the film. There is no commentary on these, but the context shots cover that.

Finally, there are two audio commentaries, again one of which is good, the other rather dull. The first is the director alone in the seat revealing numerous facts and such about the film, trivia and the apparently mandatory praise upon the cast and crew. Just once Iíd love to hear a director go, ĎNup, this guy was crap. Heís the damn producerís cousinís kid! I didnít even want him in this!í but I guess that isnít going to happen. Well, maybe in a Trey Parker commentary.

The last commentary is the pick, with the two screen writers of both Shanghai titles, Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, discussing the film, the shots they wanted but were cut and stuff like that. They keep the chatter constant for the most part and do deliver some interesting facts and behind the scenes titbits and this commentary is the definitive one for the film.

  Overall  
Contract

Never intent on being a brainer, this is just a good fun action movie with some genuinely humorous moments. Thereís plenty of Jackie magic in the fight scenes and even Owen isnít too bad, considering heís Owen.

Shanghai Knights stands okay beside Shanghai Noon, but Noon was the marginally better film of the two. Definitely a great precursor to a home edition and while Knights can be viewed as a separate film, itís handy if you know more of the back story from the first one.


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      And I quote...
    "A crystalline transfer brings the Shanghai Rollers back to the small screen in the usual fun fashion."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Nintaus DVD-N9901
    • TV:
          Sony 51cm
    • Receiver:
          Diamond
    • Speakers:
          Diamond
    • Surrounds:
          No Name
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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