Hey folks, Harry here with a new spy who'll be with us for a while giving away the skinny on films like you wouldn't believe. He came strutting into the AICN offices here in Austin with dusty drawers and rusty star upon his chest. He used our restroom and came back.. well, let's just say I said, "Hey Sheriff, you forget your pants?" Hey threw a gun down in front of me and barked, "You want that gun, pick it up. I wish you would." I liked the metal of this man and asked his business, and he wanted to sign aboard, so... without further ado, let me introduce you to Sheriff John T. Chance...
Hey there pilgrims. I'm an LA based retired lawman, who works in the industry in an advisory position I assure you. I'll be providing several reviews, at least a couple a week, so you good mannered fellars and womens can get all the word you can stand. I try not to give spoilers in my reviews, that's the coward's way out, focusing instead on the overall film and performances. I rate the flicks on a 4 boxes of popcorn scale, I know that sounds a bit limp wristed, but we lawmen like our coconut oil popped kernals straight off the stalk and buttered with frest churned butter like ma used to make. I'm open to praise and criticism. I look forward to your talkbacks you awnry palooks.
I can hear the pitch now. It's RUSH HOUR in the Wild West!! Some how, some suit thought this would make a great movie. Hmm... Great isn't how I'd describe Shanghai Noon. But it isn't bad. Somewhere in that vast wide expanse of movie land in between.
So, Lucy Liu is a kidnapped princess. Jackie Chan is a guard sent to rescue her, armed with several fellow countrymen and a chest filled with gold. He's on a train, going to rescue the fair maiden, and, HOLY COW, the train's robbed. A train robbery in wild west film, who could've seen that coming? Sarcasm aside, it's a fun scene, and Luke Wilson's leading the charge. Jackie foils the plan, but he's seperated from his comrades. They soon decide to team up, but... SPOILER... Luke might have ulterior motives.
Despite plot twists that we can see coming as the opening credits roll, this is a pretty fun action flick. Chan, as always, is fantastic. So are Sammo Hung and Lui. The weakest link in the picture is Luke Wilson. It's probably his voice, his mannerisms, but I can't help but picture him as a doped up frat boy who's dropped a few many tabs and is now suffering the consequences. They should have gone the extra mile and cast Chris Tucker, who worked much better with Chan. Be warned, the best scene in the film is spoiled in the trailers, as the boys smoke a "peace pipe" with an Indian tribe. Maybe Wilson isn't so out of place after all.
Final thoughts? Great action, a sense of humor and a nice-enough cast make this above average and worth 2.5 boxes of lightly buttered, unsalted popcorn.
So we're a thousand or so years into the future. Earth has lost to the aliens in a battle lasting less than ten minutes. If only this movie could have ended our misery so quickly.
I've heard the original cut was around 140 minutes. It's now down to just under 2 hours. Maybe those twenty minutes would have salvaged this film which has more plot holes and inconsistencies than anything I've seen this year. Of course, that would be forgivable if the film would have at least had camp value. Even that is lacking in this movie, which never should have been made.
Travolta plays Terl, one of the victorious aliens who's stuck on Earth in charge of security while the planet is stripped of natural resources. You see, even though they're from a galaxy far, far away and have far superior technology, they still want gold. The only reason they want gold is because it propels what pathetic excuse f a plot there is forward.
Gold is discovered on a remote mountain where men who are a cross between the guys from Deliverance and the missing link dwell. Our hero, Johnny Goodboy Tyler is played by Barry Pepper. Pepper, although spending his life in caves, is extremely intelligent and is corralled by Travolta to help find more gold. Johnny however decides to usurp the aliens with the help of other shockingly intelligent cave dwellers, and they kick some alien ass.
The performances. Travolta, who championed this movie, is barely on par. He's done some great work lately in A Civil Action and Pulp Fiction, but here he's lost. I felt like he never got a clear grasp of his character, or maybe that's the way the part was written. Either way, he's one of the dullest bulbs in the film. Barry Pepper(Goodboy)does decent work in his first "large" role. He makes his completely unbelievable character almost likable. Forest Whittaker is woefully underused as Travolta's right hand man.
Final thoughts? Despite above average special effects and some cool action sequences, it felt like a bloated episode of "Lexx". One box of burnt popcorn. Sorry, don't get it done, dude.
Sheriff John T. Chance