A couple of weeks ago, Shanghai Noon came on TV. I remembering seeing this movie when it was in theaters and greatly enjoying it. So tuning in to see it on the small screen was a no-brainer. I settled in and laughed my butt off as Owen Wilson’s wayward Roy O’Bannion and Jackie Chan’s steadfast Chon Wang bickered, fought, and ultimately teamed up to fight off the bad guys and rescue the kidnapped princess.
It was fun and funny! Wilson manages to combine brilliant and clueless in such a way that it’s hard to tell if Roy is cluelessly brilliant or just brilliantly clueless. Chan (whose stunts in the movie are way cool) manages his fish out of water role just fine. He’s both naive and clever. I know I just said they were both, but it’s true. And together, they work really well with one another. Chon keeps Roy somewhere near the straight and narrow, and Roy helps Chon loosen up a bit.
So that was Shanghai Noon, and that was a couple of weeks ago. Still smiling off of my enjoyable movie viewing, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Noon‘s sequel, Shanghai Knights, was on TV just this past weekend. So of course, I had to watch it. The thing is…while my favorite duo are a-okay reprising their roles, the movie is kind of crappy. I think part of it is that the filmmakers thought to add in all these historic, literary, and film references. There weren’t too many of these in the first movie at all. Chon’s name was the major joke since Roy tells him that Chon Wang is a “terrible cowboy name!”
In the sequel our heroes team up again—this time in London. The goal is to find Chon’s sister and also recover the stolen Imperial Seal of China. There’s also a dastardly plot to kill Queen Victoria. Super. I think the movie would have been okay with just that and allow Wilson and Chan to do their comedy thing. Instead, we had lovely historical liberties such as a young Arthur Conan Doyle as a Scotland Yard detective (in real life he was a doctor) who finds inspiration for Sherlock Holmes from Chon and Roy (it’s a running gag through in several scenes.). We are also entertained with a fight scene turned dance number to Singin’ in the Rain and a Keystone Cops gag. Don’t even get me started on young Charlie Chaplin who seems more like the Artful Dodger than anything else.
I don’t know. Maybe I was expecting too much. The good thing is that the characters of Chon and Roy remained the same, fun guys from the first movie. Chon is still a little too serious (though that’s probably a good thing) and Roy keeps winding up in trouble. Alone, they don’t get anywhere. Together, they save the day and make me laugh. I love it.
If memory serves, Shanghai Knights did moderately well at the box office, and I think at one point there was talk of a sequel. It would have been called Shanghai Dawn. I have no idea what it would be been about. I don’t think anyone got much further than “we’ll call it Shanghai Dawn.” According to Wikipedia, in 2003 there was an interview with Owen Wilson where he assumed the movie would begin in Hollywood (where our heroes were bound at the end of the 2nd movie) and go on Africa maybe.
I like to imagine if it had been made and was also a success, we could have looked forward to what I’m going to title “Shanghai Afternoon.” I suppose this movie would take place with an older Roy and Chon. If Shanghai Dawn took place maybe 3 years after Knights then the time would be 1890. So lets set my fantasy sequel sometime during 1900.
If you recall, Roy had invested money in zeppelins. He was convinced it was a good way to go. In 1900, the first zeppelin flight took place in Germany. We’ll put Roy there. Meanwhile, Chon has gone back to being a sheriff somewheres in California maybe. Roy has written to Chon inviting him to the big debut and the two reunite in Germany. And that is where the movie gets crazy. Someone tries to steal the zeppelin, and in trying to save it, Chon and Roy find themselves floating off over the lands of Europe for a few hours that afternoon. While they wait for rescue (or eventual landing/crash) the two catch up and reminisce about the good old days. Voila: Shanghai Afternoon. It would be more of an art-house piece, I think, and wouldn’t make so much as a nickel in box office receipts.
My other idea is that the two run a small movie theater in an even smaller town and they are both old. Yeah. I didn’t get too far there, did I? Who knows Maybe Chan and Wilson plan to skip right over Shanghai Dawn and focus on a better picture down the road. Maybe they are just patiently biding their time until the time is just right for more Roy and Chon. If ever that day arrives, I’ll buy a ticket.
**Special Note: I will not, however, buy a ticket for the 3-D IMAX version. That’s insanely expensive! I’m not made of money, you know.**
Posted on October 11, 2012, in Rants and tagged Charlie Chaplin, cool movies, Jackie Chan, movie reviews, Owen Wilson, Shanghai Knights, Shanghai Noon, westerns, zeppelins. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Shanghai Afternoon.