- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
- Audio Codec: English & French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
- Subtitles: English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
- Subtitles Color: White
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Rating: PG-13
- Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
- Digital Copies: N/A
- Run Time: 110 Mins. (Shanghai Noon)/114 Mins. (Shanghai Knights)
- Studio: Touchstone Home Entertainment
- Blu-ray Release Date: May 7, 2013
- List Price: $26.50
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(The below TheaterByte screen captures are taken directly from the Blu-ray Discs and losslessly compressed in the PNG format. There should be no loss of picture quality with this format. All screen captures should be regarded only as an approximation of the full capabilities of the Blu-ray format.
Shanghai Noon was Jackie Chan’s follow-up to his first successful break through American film Rush Hour. Unlike the previous film, however, this one finds Chan fully embracing his comedic talents on screen rather playing the straight man as he did – albeit exceptionally well – to Chris Tucker’s comedic role. A Wild West-meets-East fish-out-of-water action/adventure (try saying THAT ten times fast), the film follows Chinese Imperial Guardsman Chon Wang (Chan) as he travels to the American Wild West of the American of the 1850s to help rescue the beautiful princess Pei Pei (Lucy Liu; TV’s Elementary; Secret of the Wings; Kung Fu Panda 2) who has been kidnapped from the Forbidden City and is being held for ransom by one time Captain of the Imperial Guard, Lo Fong (Roger Yuan). Chon Wang gets separated from the rest of the group who was sent, an elite set of Imperial Guardsman, and finds himself mixed up with a rapscallion and lothario of a bandit named Roy O’Bannon (Owen Wilson; Cars 2; Hall Pass; Fantastic Mr. Fox; The Darjeeling Limited). The two become reluctant allies in their search for the endangered princess, scouring the West to find her and save her from Lo Fong’s clutches. For Chon Wang, it is a matter of honor, as he feels partially responsible for allowing her to be taken in the first place, for the always scheming O’Bannon, it’s a matter of getting his hands on half of the reward – Imperial gold coins.
The film is loaded with wonderful references to the classic westerns of old (Chon Wang, for instance, sounds like “John Wayne”), and Chan’s full-throttled martial arts sequences, a staple of all his films, are handled with the comedic flare of a Charlie Chaplin or Three Stooges routine at times. It lightens the mood and keeps the film that much more enjoyable. Owen Wilson, with his droll delivery proves to be an uncanny comedic talent when it comes to delivering lines with just the right inflection and timing.
Shanghai Knights is the somewhat less successful (artistically speaking) yet still enjoyable sequel to Shanghai Noon. In this second outing, Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson are once again paired up as the unlikely buddies and both are thrown into a fish-out-of-water circumstance when they must travel to London to meet up with Chon Wang’s (Chan) sister Chon Lin (Fann Wong) and help hunt down the man responsible for killing the Chons’ father, who was responsible for protecting the Imperial Seal in China. Upon arrival in London, the pair become embroiled in a conspiracy between Lord Rathbone (Aidan Gillen; TV’s Game of Thrones), who has his eyes on succession to the British throne, and Wu Chan (Donnie Yen; Dragon; An Empress and the Warriors; Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster; Iron Monkey), the illegitimate son of the Chinese Emperor’s father, who stole Imperial Seal in an effort to win control of China.
Just as in Shanghai Noon, Shanghai Knights is highlighted by brilliantly choreographed martial arts sequences that are pulled off less with violence, and more with a flair for comedy and acrobatics. The stand out from this film will be a sequence with an umbrella that evolves into a touching tribute to Singing in the Rain. Of course, Owen Wilson is not to be forgotten as the rascally yet charming Roy O’Bannon, delivering a multitude of one-liners, quips, and come-ons to women that almost seem like stream of consciousness musings.
Both films, taken from their original 35mm sources, look fine and film-like in these AVC/MPEG-4 1080p presentations from Touchstone. Shanghai Noon looks the better of two with a slightly crisper image with a little finer grain structure and beautifully saturated primary colors, especially those imperial reds that really pop. Shanghai Knights, on the other hand, is a bit softer and has a grainier look in the darker areas, which also look a bit more charcoal grey than absolutely black. Ultimately, however, both presentations are strong, with good contrast and strong textural information on close-ups.
Unfortunately, both films are given lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks that, given the aggressiveness of the mixes, become quite fatiguing. They lack the subtlety and airiness of the lossless codecs and sound a bit nasally in the upper mid-range, and higher frequencies. Lows are beefy, but tend to get boomy as well. Dialogue is clear and intelligible, however, without any clipping.
Nothing new here and all video extras are in standard definition.
- Audio Commentary by Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, and Director Tom Dey
- Classic DVD Bonus Features:
- Deleted Scenes (2.35:1; SD):
- Wang’s Wild Ride
- Fong and Van Cleef Make Plans
- Buried Alive
- Bulldog Drummond
- Featurette (1.33:1; SD):
- Making an Eastern Western
- Jackie’s Comedy
- Western Stunts, Eastern Style
- “Yeah Yeah Yeah” Music Video performed by Uncle Kracker (1.33:1; SD)
- Deleted Scenes (2.35:1; SD):
- Theatrical Trailer (1.33:1; SD)
- Commentary by Director David Dobkin
- Screenwriters’ Commentary by Alfred Gough & Miles Millar
- Deleted Scenes (1.33:1; SD):
- Waiting in the Rain
- The Headless Knight
- Clay in Rathbone’s Shoes
- Waldorf Hall Argument
- Outside Rathbone’s Castle
- Fight Manual (1.33:1; SD; 00:09:03)
- Action Overload (1.33:1; SD; 00:01:34)
The Definitive Word
Taken together, Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights are two pleasant, lighthearted East-meets-western popcorn movies that both fans of Jackie Chan and fans of westerns can sit back and relax on a lazy day. Neither one of these films takes itself seriously, and that accounts for their charm.
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