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TOUCHSTONE

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Tom Dey
Cast:
Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Lucy Liu, Roger Yuan, Xander Berkeley, Jason Connery, Walton Goggins
Writing Credits:
Alfred Gough, Miles Millar

Tagline:
The old west meets the far east.

Synopsis:
East meets West in two wildly hilarious comedies starring legendary action star Jackie Chan and funnyman Owen Wilson. Experience Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights for the first time on Blu-ray, featuring new digital restoration with enhanced picture and sound ... Chinese Imperial Guard Chon Wang is in for a real kick when he travels to the rough and tumble Old West to rescue the beautiful kidnapped princess Pei Pei (Lucy Liu). Teamed with laid-back cowboy outlaw Roy O'Bannon, the two mismatched partners face jail, brawls, and the vilest villains this side of the Great Wall. Then jump in the saddle for the wild and wooly sequel as the two unlikely heroes make their way to London on a daring quest for honor and revenge. These two uproarious comic adventures are even better on Blu-ray!

Box Office:
Budget
$55 million.
Opening Weekend
$19.647 million on 2711 screens.
Domestic Gross
$56.932 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Portuguese
Closed-captioned
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Portuguese

Runtime: 110 min.
Price: $26.50
Release Date: 5/7/2013

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Tom Dey and Actors Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson
• Deleted Scenes
• Four Featurettes
• Music Video
• Trailer
• Sneak Peeks


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Shanghai Noon: Two Movie Collection [Blu-Ray] (2000)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 1, 2013)

After 1998’s Rush Hour gave Jackie Chan his first hit in the US, he waited two years to make another Hollywood-based film. When Shanghai Noon struck in 2000, it failed to approach the box office success of its predecessor, but it didn’t flop, either. Noon’s $56 million in the US left it in financial Neverland; while no one could call it a smash, it didn’t seem like a bomb.

Noon never made it into my viewing queue in 2000, so I figured this Blu-ray meant it was time to finally give it a look. Set in 1881, we open in the Forbidden City of China and meet Pei Pei (Lucy Liu), a princess about to be forced into an arranged marriage she doesn’t desire. Rather than submit, she flees for America.

This becomes presented as an abduction, though, so the Emperor decrees that three Imperial Guards head to the States and rescue her. Though not one of the chosen, Chon Wang (Chan) – who pines after the Princess – forces himself onto the team because he blames himself for her departure.

With that, the Chinese head to Nevada and encounter bandits led by Roy O’Bannon (Owen Wilson) when his crew robs their train. This ends badly, as gun-happy new member Wallace (Walton Goggins) shoots Wang’s uncle and takes over the gang. Wang attempts revenge but fails and ends up separated from his compatriots.

In the meantime, Princess Pei Pei finds out she’s been the victim of a double cross led by traitorous Lo Fong (Roger Yuan) and she really is an abductee. Roy also ends up tricked and buried up to his neck in the desert – where Wang discovers him. The two ultimately pair up for mutual benefit, with an emphasis on the rescue of the Princess.

Though it takes its sweet time to get there. Noon introduces its leads to each other fairly early in the story, but it waits a while to make them a team. Instead, it goes off on unnecessary tangents and dawdles as we impatiently wait for the inevitable pairing.

This results in a slow narrative that doesn’t seem to know where it wants to go. We know where it needs to go, but the movie doesn’t appear to agree. This means plenty of scenes that amble, ramble and dilly-dally as they toddle along their sluggish way.

What you take from Noon will probably depend on what you think of its lead actors. Neither Chan nor Wilson does anything to expand their standard cinematic horizons. Chan plays an earnest hero with awesome martial arts skills, while Wilson gives us his standard slacker charm – and seems out of place.

Granted, I’m not sure I buy anyone in this action-comedy, and that’s not a terrible thing; I don’t think Noon pretends to be a realistic depiction of the post-Civil War West. Still, the notion that an amiable, cheerful sort such as Wilson could lead a band of bandits doesn’t make much sense; while Roy may not need to be ruthless, he should display a more apparent inclination toward his chosen career. When the film depicts him as a cheating rogue, that works, but Roy’s introduction doesn’t fly, and it sets the movie on the wrong path.

Not that I’m especially sure a more logical narrative would matter, as Noon exists for little reason other than to give Chan a new Rush Hour-style franchise. Both films boast stories with similar plots – an Asian who comes to America to rescue a kidnapped female – and focus on the comedic friction between two opposites stuck together for the same purpose.

This offered moderate amusement in Rush Hour but doesn’t do much for me here. I like Wilson and I have nothing against Chan, but they’re not an especially interesting couple. Chris Tucker’s manic energy created sparks, but Wilson’s laconic style seems like a poor fit with Chan. We don’t find the necessary connection to give the movie much momentum.

Though I can’t imagine a stronger lead pair would’ve done much for Noon, as the sloppy storytelling and laggard pace become its biggest problems. While I can’t call this a genuinely bad one, it seems lazy and lacks much to give it much entertainment value.


The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

Shanghai Noon appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The transfer usually pleased.

Overall definition worked fine. A few slightly mushy shots materialized, but those remained in the minority, as most of the flick demonstrated good accuracy and definition. I noticed no issues with shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws failed to be a problem in this clean image.

Noon went with a lively palette, and the colors appeared positive. At times they could be downright impressive, and they never seemed worse than pretty good. Blacks were dark and tight, and shadows showed good clarity. The image wasn’t quite strong enough for “A”-level consideration, but it held up well.

To my disappointment, Shanghai Noon came without a lossless option, so we simply got a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. At least it seemed satisfying, if not as full as it could’ve been.

The soundfield showed a forward emphasis but it offered a pretty well rounded affair in any case. The spectrum provided a nicely broad and engaging display. Sounds were placed accurately in the environment, and they moved cleanly and smoothly across channels. The score also featured very good stereo separation. The surrounds added good reinforcement and plenty of unique elements.

Audio quality also appeared to be positive. Dialogue consistently sounded warm and natural, and I discerned no concerns related to intelligibility or edginess. The music showed nice fidelity, and effects came across as clean and realistic. This was a positive presentation.

The Blu-ray repeats the old DVD’s extras. We open with an audio commentary from director Tom Dey and actors Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson. Dey and Wilson sit together for a running, screen-specific piece; Chan’s remarks come from a separate interview and get edited into the main commentary. They discuss story and character areas, sets and locations, costumes, visual design and period details, music, effects, editing, stunts and action, cast and performances, and a few other issues.

While Chan and Wilson toss in decent notes, Dey dominates this piece. That's fine with me, as he presents clear info about the movie and covers a nice array of topics. The other two help flesh out the track and make this a worthwhile listen.

Eight Deleted Scenes fill a total of 13 minutes, 34 seconds. Most of these tend toward exposition, especially in terms of Roy’s old gang and what Wallace does with them. We also get a major action piece that showcases the end of the line for the train and some added bits from the film’s conclusion. These are actually fairly decent; I’d assume most got cut for time.

Under “Featurettes”, we get seven pieces: Making an Eastern Western (3:23), Partners (4:09), Jackie’s Comedy (3:48), Western Stunts, Eastern Style (3:39), Hanging with Roy and the Kid (2:16), Action Overload (2:41), and Choo Choo Boogie (3:09). Across these, we hear from Dey, Chan, Wilson, editor Richard Chew, and production designer Peter J. Hampton. The featurettes look at story/character topics and the film’s origins/development, the Western setting contrasted with Asian elements, stunts and action, cast and performances, comedic moments and inspirations, set design, effects and editing.

With so little time at their disposal, none of the featurettes deliver much depth, and they also tend toward praise – especially for Chan. Still, we get some nice shots from the production and find enough decent details to make the clips worthwhile. I wish the disc had come with a “Play All” option, though.

Next comes a Music Video for “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” by Uncle Kracker. This eschews the usual movie clips and instead offers a Western battle sequence with unique footage of Owen Wilson and Jackie Chan. That makes it significantly more fun than most videos for songs from films.

The disc opens with ads for The Lone Rangerand The Muppet Movie. Sneak Peeks also provides promos for The Lion King on Broadway and Baby Daddy. We also find the trailer for Noon.

Shanghai Noon attempts a minor variation on the buddy flick with lackluster results. It never quite comes together and remains a forgettable effort. The Blu-ray gives us strong picture and audio along with a reasonably useful little set of supplements. This ends up as a quality release for a mediocre film.

Note that the Blu-ray of Shanghai Noon pairs it with its 2003 sequel. Both appear on the same disc.

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