Shanghai Noon Review

by Ruby Yang

The Western. It’s a genre that is ripe with classic gun-slinging cowboys such as John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. They are the mysterious lone wanderers who venture from town to town, ultimately saving the day. It is a formula that is followed by almost every western movie. Shanghai Noon, however, puts a new and hilarious spin on this tale of justice in the Old West. The movie follows the story of Chon Wang (Jackie Chan) — an obvious pun and homage to John Wayne — a guard in the Forbidden Palace who has travelled to America in order to rescue the captured Prince Pei Pei. Along the way, Chon Wang befriends an incompetent wannabe cowboy Roy O’Bannon (Owen Wilson). Together, the misfit duo take on the wild west with hysterical misadventures along the way. Although the movie is by far the best western (or movie in that case) I’ve seen, it is a decent comedy that focuses more on Jackie Chan’s trademark slapstick comedy mixed with martial arts than on the plot itself. So, while the plot itself is predictable and forgettable, the comedy is not.
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From being buried with only chopsticks as an escape to the drunken drinking game, the movie is full of hilarious scenes that make the movie. In other words, Shanghai Noon is a lighthearted western spoof that shouldn’t be taken seriously. Instead, it pokes fun at all the western stereotypes, from train robberies to prison escapes, all the while retaining the spirit of the genre. As a result, the film has a wider and more modern appeal than fans of westerns. And because slapstick comedy is, for the most part, timeless, the film is still just as funny and watchable today.

Ruby’s Grade: B+