Shanghai Knights is to sequels what George W Bush is to brains. Urban legend has tales of Dubya taking notes, holed up in Camp David, from the previous Shanghai Noon. But even the West's most muscular finger (the pointing did him good) couldn't smoke the yawns out of this second production.
The last time we lingered, Chon (Jackie Chan) was the successful Sheriff of Carson City. His chum-in-chops Roy (Owen Wilson) was doing what comes easily to every blue-eyed bimbo - frittering away all his moolah. But this time around when we're done with the flashbacks, we find Roy waiting tables and generally being a gigolo. Great! Finally a gigolo that gives you what you want!
Anyway, Chon's Pop is hacked off and this enrages Chon - so basically he has to get to London to avenge his Dad's death. But considering the West's really dry, Roy is called in to make the cash flow.
The duo get going and strut their stuff in London. And the only thing that seems to be on their agenda is to take in all that the city has to offer, including meeting pretty much every damn person that's waxed out now in that Tussaud's place. That apart, there is the customary villain (who was so half-ass, he began to stress me out) and the sister-twist (Roy begins to fall for Chon's sister).
Anyway, the noodle only begins to unfurl as Jackie battles the baddies, pokes with an umbrella, jabs with ladders, weaves in and out of markets, and generally whoops butt all over the place. And while he's at it, he's trying to recover a most complicated looking family heirloom and save the Royal family to garnish the rest!
The film being a sequel is excusably dumb - somebody set out to make a donut and ended with mashed potato! Ain't happenin', buddy!
The movie does have a good idea going - take three different cultures and throw them together, and you should have technically gotten the right brew. But the stew goes horribly wrong primarily because of a really listless supporting cast and some meandering wit. And yeah, only a person who's been through some really unsuccessful lobotomy won't figure the Artie Doyle and the Tramp bit!!! (I'm not giving this one out, fellas!)
The fight sequences are chill, each sequence carefully more complicated than the previous. The sexual jinks and wisecracks don't really add up to Chan and he should have been left alone to do what he does best - fling his chops around. The problem is that Shanghai Knights is nowhere close to the pairing thingie that Rush Hour seemed to do for Chan.
At the end of the bewildering hour-and-half gawking at the bi-racial buddy schtick, it hits you hard that this flick is short on spunk and long on snooze.