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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Shanghai Noon
Shanghai Noon
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List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Blake Kunisch | posted December 12, 2000 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie: When you are ready to watch Shanghai Noon, get ready for a wild ride. Starring Jackie Chan as an Imperial guard sent to bring back Princess Pei Pei (the always amazing Lucy Liu) after she has been kidnapped and held hostage in America, Shanghai Noon injects Jackie's always impressive martial arts with a setting new to his antics. Owen Wilson co-stars with Jackie as an outlaw with ethics (imagine that) as he never steals from women and can barely shoot a gun. I never thought that the combination of Jackie and Owen would work, but much to my surprise it did, and the end result is a funny action/comedy with plenty of rousing situations and amusing settings.

The Picture: The picture is amazing on this disc. There are no problems with pixelization, or any other DVD-related problem. The anamorphic picture is beautiful, and it's a shame that every disc can't look like this one. The Amazon.com reviewer states that "The anamorphically enhanced 2.35:1 DVD opens with a hazy, exaggerated look," but I didn't notice the problem, as it opened with a crisp picture and stayed that way throughout. The blacks were dark, without any evidence of pixelization and the flesh tones were natural.

The Sound: The sound, like the picture, is simply amazing on this disc. The Dolby 5.1 audio track really great, and offers surround sound at many points (almost all points) throughout the disc. The bass is surprisingly deep and offers a rich addition to the score that is seamlessly integrated into the soundtrack. The dialogue is clear, and understandable throughout, which just cements the superlative nature of this audio track.

The Extras: The extras on this disc are quite extensive, and a blast to watch.

Audio Commentary - the audio commentary features director Tom Dey, along with actors Owen Wilson and Jackie Chan. Having already seen the movie, I jumped straight into the audio commentary and learned quite a bit about the movie. The commentary has commentary throughout with minimal dead scenes, and is a joy to listen to. I really enjoyed the commentary and the comments between the two actors on really becoming friends during filming and how it affected them on the set.

Deleted Scenes - There are a total of seven deleted scenes from the movie, all featuring a commentary by director Tom Dey, Jackie Chan, and Owen Wilson on why they weren't included, how they didn't fit into the movie, and so on. These deleted scenes are fun to watch and would have been interesting to see in an extended cut of the film, which would have added a whole other subplot.

Featurettes:
Making an Eastern Western - this featurette talks about the different mixes of the costumes and cultures of the East and West. It features interviews with both Owen Wilson and Jackie Chan talking about the assimilation of Jackie into a whole different culture among other various parts of the movie.
Partners - This featurette focuses on the two characters in the film who each have different goals and customs and the friendship between them. Featuring an interview with director Tom Dey, he delves into the humor inherent in these two different characters.
Jackie's Comedy - This is an extremely funny featurette because it deals with Jackie's great use of silent comedy. He based a lot of his comedy on the great Buster Keaton and other physical comedians. This featurette has interviews with Tom Dey, Jackie Chan, and Owen Wilson. Another focus of this featurette is a focus on Jackie's combination of martial arts and comedy - both of which are great in this movie.
Western Stunts, Eastern Style - Obviously, from the title, you can tell that this featurette focuses on the stunts and fighting parts of the movie. They talk about the two different kinds of takes they do along with behind-the-scenes looks at the storyboards, model scenes, along with an interview with Peter J. Hampton, the production designer and Richard Chew, A.C.E., the editor. It talks about Jackie's improvisation and his pseudo-direction of most of the stunt scenes.
Hanging with Roy and the Kid (both a Featurette along with a link to the scene from the movie) - You can really tell that they put a lot of effort into these featurettes, this one especially. This featurette talks about the hanging scene where Jackie and Owen are rescued from imminent death. There are a lot of behind the scenes shots and it's actually very interesting to see all of the fun they have behind the scenes and all the work that goes into one shot, including the medics, the set-up, testing, and the final shot. It's nice that right after watching the featurette, there's a direct link to watch the scene in the movie so you can get a better understanding of all that they were talking about.
Action Overload - This featurette is just a montage of all of the action from the movie, and while there's really nothing to it, it is action overload.
Choo Choo Boogie - The Choo Choo Boogie talks about a scene that was ultimately cut from the movie, showing a lot of the different behind-the-scenes looks, including computer animations, modeling, blueprints, storyboards, and more. It really shows that there was a lot of preparation that went into this shot, that when all was said and done, was cut from the film. At least it's on the DVD though - before or after you watch the featurette, you have a chance to watch the deleted scene - Wang's Wild Ride.

Shanghai Surprise - this section features 2 different games, Roy's Revenge and Chon's Challenge. Each of the games features small clips from the movie which require you to watch a certain scene closely, after which they will ask a question, or to remember scenes from the movie. The games are quite fun, and probably the best games I've seen on a DVD yet. After the game, which you end up winning no matter how many you got wrong, you are taken to a special scene. The first scene is a videomatic of the train disaster, once again, a scene that a lot of work went into, that was ultimately cut from the film. After the second game, they discuss the drinking game that Owen and Jackie paly in the tub. They give the subtitles for the game, talkign about crabs and drinking, and even though it really doesn't make sense, it's still quite funny.

Music Video - A music video of Uncle Kracker's song Yeah, Yeah, Yeah. It's nothing special, just blends scenes from the movie into the video, as do most music videos from movie soundtracks.

Theatrical Trailer - pretty self-explanitory, it contains the one trailer from the film - it would have been nice to have tv spots and/or international trailers, but with the plethora of other extras on the film, it's ok.

Conclusion: In conclusion, Disney did a great job with this disc. The special features are amazing and the commentary is an added bonus that really adds value to this disc. The audio and video are superb, the best combination of the two I've seen in a while. This disc cannot be missed, any fans of the film (such as myself) will not be disappointed, and people watching for the first time will be amazed at the vast amount of extras along with the crisp audio and video. Disney did a great job with this disc, and although the price is a little prohibitive ($30), it, in my opinion, is worth every penny. A great disc - I just wish all DVDs were this well packaged and presented.

DVD Review by Blake Kunisch of Movielocity.com.

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