If you liked Shanghai Noon, chances are you’ll like this one — it is, after all, pretty much the same film. In Shanghai Knights, the action moves from Texas to Victorian London, and that allows for plenty of gags about bad teeth and rotten weather, but otherwise director David Dobkin does little in the way of tinkering.
Following the murder of his father (last time it was his uncle), Chon Wang (Jackie Chan) hooks up with his lovable-rogue sidekick Roy O’Bannon (Owen Wilson) and sets out for Blighty to open a can of Hong Kong whoop-ass on the agent of his dad’s death, a smirky aristocrat who’s now plotting to assassinate the Royal Family. We get the requisite slapstick-ballet fight scenes, a romance between Roy and Chon’s sister Lin (the deliciously flexible Fann Wong), and a series of facetious cinematic allusions (the Keystone Kops, Singin’ in the Rain). But as in Shanghai Noon, the real story here is the love affair between Chan and Wilson. These two have chemistry, and the combination of Owen’s sardonic charm and Jackie’s graceful blundering is compelling enough to make us forgive, and even celebrate, the fact that we’ve seen it all before. (107 minutes)