What You Need To Know:
As with many of Jackie Chan’s movies, comedy and action are the key here. The best parts are Chan’s inventive, often humorous stunts and Owen Wilson’s funny banter as Roy. Regrettably, SHANGHAI NOON also includes lots of foul language, including some strong profanities, and off-color humor. These bad things are mitigated by the movie’s moral qualities, including Chon’s heroism and sense of honor. Chon also gets Roy to give up his life of crime. Furthermore, the final battle occurs in a Roman Catholic church, where an apparent miracle saves Roy’s life. Happily, Roy himself proclaims it a miracle. Thus, his character learns the evil of his ways, lending a spirit of Christian repentance and redemption to SHANGHAI NOON. Despite this, there’s enough objectionable material in SHANGHAI NOON to give it an extreme caution
(BB, PaPa, C, Ho, VV, SS, N, AA, DD, M) Moral worldview with some strong pagan elements & some Christian elements including an alleged miracle in a Roman Catholic church, plus joke with oblique homosexual innuendo; 24 obscenities & 8 profanities, plus man seems to begin saying the “f” word & three urinating scenes; lots of strong action violence set in the Old West, with plenty of clever, often funny, martial arts stunts, but nothing gory; after getting high on Indian “peace pipe,” movie implies man “marries” chief’s daughter & sleeps with her, then later switches partners with friend so he can establish relationship with Chinese Princess, plus painting of horses mating on teepee; no sexual nudity but upper male nudity in several scenes & some scenes in house of prostitution with women in typical Hollywood lingerie; alcohol use, drunkenness & horse drinks whiskey; smoking & man gets high smoking from Indian “peace pipe”; and, villains kidnap woman to ransom her life, stealing eventually rebuked, mercenary attitudes eventually rebuked & prostitution.
Martial arts star Jackie Chan brings his considerable talents to the Old West in the new action comedy, SHANGHAI NOON.
When the lovely Princess Pei Pei (Lucy Liu of TV’s ALLY MCBEAL) is kidnapped from China, the Emperor dispatches three Imperial Guards to deliver the ransom in gold to her kidnappers in Carson City, Nevada. Chon Wang (Jackie Chan) manages to tag along by offering to carry the luggage for his uncle, the interpreter.
A motley crew of train robbers, led by Roy O’Bannon (Owen Wilson of ARMAGEDDON), hijacks their train, however. When the new man in Roy’s gang kills Chon’s uncle, Chon’s quick martial arts moves leave the thieves without their loot and Chon stranded in the desert. Chon takes on a party of Crow warriors to save a small Indian boy and becomes a hero with the boy’s Sioux tribe. He gets high on the Indians’ peace pipe. The next morning, he finds himself married to the chief’s daughter.
After continuing on his journey to Carson City to save the princess, an unexpected run-in with Roy in a saloon lands both men in jail. Hearing that Chon’s mission involves not only a beautiful princess but also a trunk of gold coins, Roy suddenly becomes Chon’s best friend. They escape from jail, and the rest of their journey leads to a final showdown with the outlaws behind the kidnapping.
As with many of Chan’s movies, comedy and action are the key here. The best parts are Chan’s inventive, often humorous stunts and Owen Wilson’s funny banter as Roy. The name of Chan’s character sounds like John Wayne to Roy, who thinks that’s a really stupid name for a cowboy. Regrettably, SHANGHAI NOON also includes lots of foul language, including some strong profanities, and off-color humor. For instance, Chon sees a crude drawing of two horses mating on a teepee. Then, there’s the jokes about Chon getting high from smoking the Indian’s “peace pipe,” another sop to all the potheads in Hollywood and across America. There are also a couple scenes set in a house of prostitution, though no real hanky-panky is shown or really implied on Chon and Roy’s part.
Another troubling aspect to the movie is that, in the movie’s happy ending, Chon becomes the love interest of the Chinese princess, leaving his Indian “wife” to now flirt with Roy. Of course, one could argue that Chon’s marriage could be annulled since he obviously was high from smoking the peace pipe when he married. If so, that would offer an unintended argument against getting high on marijuana, peyote or other such drugs.
All of these bad things in the movie are mitigated by Chon’s heroics. He is, for the most part, a man of honor, and the Princess reveals herself to be a woman of honor. Chon also gets Roy to give up his life of crime. Furthermore, the final battle occurs in a Roman Catholic church, where an apparent miracle saves Roy’s life. Happily, Roy himself proclaims it a miracle. Thus, his character learns the evil of his ways, which lends a spirit of Christian repentance and redemption to SHANGHAI NOON.
Despite this, there’s enough objectionable material in SHANGHAI NOON to give it an extreme caution. It’s really quite regrettable because it would only take a bit of judicious editing to make SHANGHAI NOON a much cleaner movie.