Hooray! It's time for a new Jackie
Chan movie! Like most of the rest of the world, the Masked
Reviewer loves Jackie Chan. He is, after all, the biggest movie
star in the entire world! Sure, it helps to have China under your
belt, but over the past several years, Jackie Chan has become wildly
popular in the United States. Unfortunately, Hollywood seems to
have decided that Jackie Chan is only effective in one partciular movie
formula: Jackie plus comedic talking guy plus lame script equals box
This formula has worked some times better than others. Rush
Hour, Rush Hour 2, Shanghai Knights and Shanghai
Noon were all successful. The Medallion and The
Tuxedo were not.
This time, Jackie Chan is set against Steve Coogan, who plays an
awkward English inventor.
Now, it should be pointed out that Around the World in 80 Days
is a remake of the
1956 classic starring David Niven, available here on DVD. It
is also an adaptation of the novel by Jules Verne. But, not
really. The Masked Reviewer doesn't remember a sub-plot with a
group of Chinese assassins and an ancient artifact that must be returned
to a village. In fact, a lot has changed from the original source
material, and what we're left with is a setting for a wacky family
What's that? Did the Masked Reviewer go loco? Family
adventure? Oh no! Say it isn't so!
Sadly, yes, Jackie Chan fans. You should know, and the Masked
Reviewer is here to tell you. This is a family film.
Actually, it's a kid's film. After creating his own cartoon
("Jackie Chan Adventures"), Jackie Chan has grown into an icon for kids.
The writing is for kids. The special effects are for kids.
Even the fighting is for kids, although Jackie Chan's fight choreography
has always been more about ballet than violence. It's slapstick
through and through, but you know...if anyone is going to do slapstick,
it should be the master, and that is Jackie Chan.
The Masked Reviewer probably shouldn't have expected the movie to be
made for grown-ups; but the Masked Reviewer did expect it to cater a
little bit more to the adult fans. There are moments that
grown-ups will appreciate, such as a huge number of cameos, many of
which are quite good. It's like watching It's a Mad, Mad, Mad,
Mad World -- you never know who will pop up next and it's fun to try
and spot them all. Also, there are some good fight scenes that
feature quintessential Jackie Chan fight choreography, which the true
fan will want to see. At it's core, though, this is a PG film.
Not even PG-13. There's no sexual references and no bad language.
No blood, either. It's the Keystone Cops, but the slapstick is top
It's wholesome violence for the entire family.
The writing isn't good -- at least, not for adults. This movie
plays huge with kids, especially the 10-and-under crowd. The jokes
fall flat with people over 10, for the most part, though there are some
funny situations and lines. It did seem to drag in parts, and the
few fight scenes are a welcome respite. A little bit more for the
adults would have been welcome.
Jackie Chan is charismatic and funny as always in this film.
His co-stars are also charming and the three main characters seem to
have a good chemistry. Everyone seems to like each other, which
comes through on screen. The cameos are great and some will amuse
viewers to no end.
Another point worth mentioning is that Jackie Chan has gotten away
from the extensive wire work used in The Medallion and The
Tuxedo. Sure, there's some stuff on wires, but it's "natural"
looking. There's very few quadruple backflips or running up walls.
The realistic "physics" is nice to see again, even if set in a
It's Jackie Chan, so the Masked Reviewer can't give it a bad review.
For adults who don't know Jackie Chan, you should keep in mind that it's
a kid's film. Even though the writing isn't funny for grown-ups,
it's more entertaining than many children's movies. It has a wacky
charm about it that gets a bit lost with the strange sub-plot, but the
over-the-top acting you expect in this kind of film works pretty well.
Director Frank Coraci (who you remember as director of The Waterboy
and The Wedding Singer) has a knack for bringing the style of
acting often used in children's movies (broad, silly, goofy) to adult
films, and with younger audiences, he knocks it out of the park.
True Jackie Chan fans will want to see this, because Jackie's in it.
That's reason enough. It's arguably better than some of his recent
films. If you don't know Jackie Chan and you're forced to take a
minivan full of kids to an afternoon matinee, this is the one to go to.
Expectation from the Title: A circumnavigation story that
takes just about ten and a half weeks.
Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):
Jackie Chan brings kung-fooey goodness to the whole family.
The Pros: Some nice fight scenes, great cameos, kids will
think it's "da bomb".
The Cons: It's a kid's movie, not enough in there for adult
audiences, and it's certainly not what people would think of as a Jackie