Shanghai Knights

Last updated
Shanghai Knights
Shanghai knights.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by David Dobkin
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based onCharacters
by Alfred Gough
Miles Millar
Music by Randy Edelman
Cinematography Adrian Biddle
Edited byMalcolm Campbell
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • February 7, 2003 (2003-02-07)
Running time
114 minutes [1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$50 million [2]
Box office$88.3 million [2]

Shanghai Knights is a 2003 American martial arts action comedy film. It is the sequel to Shanghai Noon . Directed by David Dobkin and written by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, it stars Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Donnie Yen and Aidan Gillen. It was released on February 7, 2003.



In 1887, Lord Nelson Rathbone leads a band of Boxers into the Forbidden City, killing the Keeper of the Imperial Seal of China and stealing the seal. With his dying breath, the Keeper gives his daughter, Chon Lin, a puzzle box for her brother, Sheriff Chon Wang.

In Carson City, Nevada, Wang has captured an impressive array of fugitives. Wang receives the box and a letter from Lin telling him of their father's death and that she has tracked the murderer to London.

Wang travels to New York City to find his old partner Roy O'Bannon and collect his share of their gold so that he can buy passage to London. Roy has left law enforcement, broken off his marriage, invested all their gold in the Zeppelin, and is now a waiter and part-time gigolo. After an aborted attempt at prostitution to pay for tickets, the pair ship themselves to London in a crate.

In London, Roy's pocket is picked by a youth named Charlie Chaplin. After a struggle between Roy, Wang, Charlie, and a gang angered by Charlie stealing on their turf, they are arrested. In Scotland Yard, Inspector Artie Doyle thanks the two for defeating the Fleet Street gang. When they ask about Lin, Artie shows them she is in custody, having attempted to kill Lord Rathbone. Roy is instantly smitten with Lin and gives her a deck of playing cards as a good luck charm. Wang and Roy encounter Charlie. Breaking into an estate for shelter, they find an invitation to a gala at Buckingham Palace.

Roy and Wang infiltrate the gala in disguise: Roy as Major General "Sherlock Holmes" (a name he derives from the face of a clock) and Wang as the "Maharaja of Nevada". Wang and Roy follow Rathbone to a private library, where he slips through a secret passage. Wang finds the seal box, but the seal itself is gone and they are attacked by guards. Lin, having used Roy's playing cards to pick the lock on her cell, arrives and saves Roy. The three see Rathbone give the Imperial Seal to Wu Chow, the illegitimate brother of the Emperor of China. Charlie steals it. Rathbone escapes.

At a brothel, Roy overhears Wang try to convince Lin that Roy is an unsuitable husband, even telling her of his gigolo history and suspected infertility. Wang soothes Roy's feelings of betrayal by treating him to a pillow fight with the brothel staff. Wang, Roy, and Lin are found and captured by Rathbone, who reveals his plan: In exchange for the seal, Wu Chow will kill the British royal family and frame Lin. As tenth in line for the throne, Rathbone will then become king. Awaiting death, Roy confesses he spent most of his fortune publishing novels such as Roy O'Bannon Vs. The Mummy, in which Wang is portrayed as a cowardly sidekick. The two are reconciled and Wang says he will not stand between him and Lin. He frees himself and saves Roy.

Wong and Roy consult Artie about Charlie's location. Artie deduces from a hat he dropped that Charlie is at Madame Tussauds. They save him from the Boxers but lose the seal and are captured by police. Charlie rescues them. They save the royal family from Wu Chow, whom Lin kills with a rocket. The three pursue Rathbone to the top of Big Ben. Roy is thrown off but hangs onto the clock face, while Wang is hopelessly outmatched at swordplay by Rathbone, who repeatedly spares his life so as to prolong their duel. Wang gives up on trying to outright defeat Rathbone, instead severing the support ropes for their platform. Roy catches Wang as Rathbone falls to his death.

Roy, Wang, and Artie are knighted. Artie decides to write stories, and asks Roy for use of the "Sherlock Holmes" name. Wang opens the box his father sent him to find a message reminding him of the importance of family. Roy proposes that he and Wang go to Hollywood to join the new motion picture industry. Charlie stows away as they drive off.


Jackie Chan Stunt Team


Director David Dobkin was personally chosen by Jackie Chan. Dobkin had a difficult time choosing a suitable Asian actress who could do movement work, emote well and speak excellent English. He then saw clips of Fann Wong's videos "Wo lai ye" (2001) and "Qing she yu bai she" (2001) and requested to audition her in London, which she did attend. She subsequently got the role and her number of scenes was increased by thirty percent.

Aside from establishing shots of iconic English landmarks, including The House of Lords, Buckingham Palace and Madame Tussaud's, the scenes in London were largely filmed in Prague, Czech Republic from February 4 to June 21, 2002. [3] [4]


The film received mixed reviews from critics, with some highlighting the chemistry between Chan and Wilson, the action sequences, and the fun nature of the film, but lamenting the plot. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 66% based on 151 reviews. [5] On Metacritic the film has a score of 58 out of 100, based on reviews from 33 critics. [6] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade "B+" on scale of A to F. [7]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times gave the film 3 out of 4 stars, calling it "fun in a broad, genial way", but disapproved of the "entirely arbitrary" plot. [8] Joe Leydon of Variety found it better than its predecessor: "A hugely entertaining and more lavishly mounted follow-up to 2000's Shanghai Noon, the high-concept East-meets-Western that first teamed [the] top-billed duo pic rides even taller in the saddle as a fleet and funny crowd-pleaser." [9] Elvis Mitchell of The New York Times gave a positive review, singling out Chan's fight sequences and Wilson's performance, noting how "Wilson gets to steal a part of the movie that Chan is smart enough not to want." Mitchell also praised the "bluntly gorgeous" cinematography, and said Chan's reputation is "resuscitated in the rousing, cheerful sequel", calling it "one of his best." [10] Nathan Rabin of The A.V. Club also praised the chemistry between the two leads, writing, "Chan [...] found the perfect screen buddy in Wilson." Rabin criticized the "thin" plot, but found "there's a greatest-hits element" to Chan's fight scenes. [11]

Planned sequel

A third film was meant to be produced under the title Shanghai Dawn. Plans for the film were posted on Jackie Chan's website, but after some news of casting and production plans, no film has been produced.[ citation needed ] While unconfirmed, it is speculated that the project has been halted indefinitely as there is no news nor a release date.[ citation needed ] In a February 7, 2003, interview, Owen Wilson said: "We're talking about it maybe starting in Hollywood and then going from there to Africa or the Pyramids ... I feel like we have the freedom to take them anywhere in time we want."[ citation needed ]

On May 14, 2015, MGM announced that they are moving forward with Shanghai Dawn. Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, Owen Wilson and Fann Wong are expected to reprise their roles as Chon Wang, Princess Pei-Pei, Roy O'Bannon and Chon Lin respectively. [12] In September 2016, Jared Hess signed on as director for the film while both Millar and Gough will develop a screen story with Theodore Riley and Aaron Buchsbaum writing the script for the film. [13] [14]

In November 2016, Gough said the third film will be set in China because Chan "wants to showcase China in the way that the first film showcased the old West." Gough added that Chan and Wilson also have a hand in the creative process, saying "With those films, the collaboration of Jackie and Owen comes out on screen as they get along very well. With that in mind, you want to get their input in the story phase, so that when we got to script, it's based into the DNA of the story." [15]

Related Research Articles

Sammo Hung Hong kong actor

Sammo Hung, also known as Hung Kam-bo (洪金寶), is a Hong Kong actor, martial artist, film producer and director, known for his work in many martial arts films and Hong Kong action cinema. He has been a fight choreographer for other actors such as Jackie Chan.

<i>Shanghai Noon</i>

Shanghai Noon is a 2000 martial arts Western comedy film starring Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson and Lucy Liu. The first in the Shanghai film series and marking the directorial debut of Tom Dey, Shanghai Noon was written by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar.

Fann Wong Singaporean actress and singer

Fann Woon Fong, better known by her stage name Fann Wong, is a Singaporean actress, singer and model. She is referred to as MediaCorp's "Ah Jie" together with Zoe Tay and Xiang Yun for being among the first locally trained artistes.

2003 MTV Movie Awards

The 2003 MTV Movie Awards was held on May 31, 2003 in Los Angeles. It was hosted by Seann William Scott and Justin Timberlake and featured performances by t.A.T.u., 50 Cent, and Pink. Colin Farrell was presented an award for Trans-Atlantic Breakthrough Performance by Victoria and David Beckham, although this award was not broadcast in the United States. The show included a parody of The Matrix Reloaded, intercutting actual footage with new material from the hosts with appearances by Wanda Sykes as the Oracle and Will Ferrell as the Architect. The unedited version is featured in the DVD version of the film.

<i>Snake in the Eagles Shadow</i>

Snake in the Eagle's Shadow is a 1978 Hong Kong martial arts action-comedy film directed by Yuen Woo-ping in his directorial debut. It stars Jackie Chan, Hwang Jang-lee, and Yuen Woo-ping's real life father, Yuen Siu-tien.

Kim Chan was a Chinese–American actor and producer. He was most notable for his roles as Lo Si, a.k.a. The Ancient, in Kung Fu: The Legend Continues and Mr. Kim in The Fifth Element.

Kenneth Tsang Hong Kong actor

Kenneth Tsang Kong is a Hong Kong actor. Tsang's career has spanned 50 years and included a variety of acting roles. Tsang won the Best Supporting Actor Award at the 34th Hong Kong Film Awards in 2015. He left Mediacorp to continue to appear in films from his native Hong Kong.

<i>New Police Story</i>

New Police Story is a 2004 Hong Kong action film produced and directed by Benny Chan, and also produced by and starring Jackie Chan. The film was released in the Hong Kong on 24 September 2004. The film is a reboot of the Police Story series and is the fifth installment of the series. New Police Story relies much more on drama and heavy action than its predecessors.

Wang Yu, also known as "Jimmy Wang" or "Jimmy Wang Yu" is a Taiwanese actor, film director, producer, and screenwriter. Wang rose to fame in 1967 with his starring role in One-Armed Swordsman, a martial arts film produced by the Shaw Brothers Studio and The Chinese Boxer (1970).

Jackie Chan Stunt Team

The Jackie Chan Stunt Team, also known as Jackie Chan's Stuntmen Association is a group of stuntmen and martial artists who work alongside Jackie Chan.

<i>High Risk</i> (1995 film)

High Risk, also known in the United States as Meltdown, is a 1995 Hong Kong action comedy film written, produced and directed by Wong Jing and starring Jet Li, Jacky Cheung, Chingmy Yau, Charlie Yeung, Yang Chung-hsien, Billy Chow, Kelvin Wong and Valerie Chow. Corey Yuen serves as the film's fight choreographer. This was Kelvin Wong's final film appearance, who retired from acting, until his death 15 years later of liver cancer.

David Dobkin is an American director, producer and screenwriter. He is best known for directing the films Clay Pigeons, Shanghai Knights, Wedding Crashers, The Judge, and Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.

<i>Righting Wrongs</i>

Righting Wrongs is a 1986 Hong Kong action film produced and directed by Corey Yuen, and also produced by and starring Yuen Biao, both of whom also serve as the film's action directors. The film also co-stars Cynthia Rothrock, Melvin Wong, Wu Ma, Roy Chiao and director Yuen himself. Righting Wrongs is the one of Yuen Biao's better known films that he made without film industry compatriots Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan.

<i>Ten Tigers from Kwangtung</i>

Ten Tigers of Kwangtung is a 1979 Hong Kong martial arts film directed by Chang Cheh and produced by Mona Fong. It is one of Chang Cheh’s tales of Shaolin’s historic rivalries with the Qing Dynasty and the Canton Tigers. Along with the Brave Archer series, Ten Tigers had an all-star cast of Shaw martial artists.

<i>Story of the Vulture Conqueror</i>

Story of the Vulture Conqueror is a two-part Hong Kong film adapted from Louis Cha's novel The Legend of the Condor Heroes. The first part was released in 1958 while the second part was released in the following year. The film was directed by Wu Pang and starred Cho Tat-wah and Yung Siu-yee in the leading roles.

Pal Sinn

Pal Sinn Lap-man is a Hong Kong musician, singer and actor. he plays bass guitar in the band Blue Jeans.

<i>Dont Give a Damn</i>

Don't Give a Damn, also known as Burger Cop in the United States, is a 1995 Hong Kong action film produced and directed by Sammo Hung and starring Hung, Yuen Biao, Takeshi Kaneshiro and Kathy Chow.

<i>Shanghai</i> (film series)

Shanghai is a series of action comedy films based on the characters written by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar. The series includes: Shanghai Noon (2000), Shanghai Knights (2003), and the upcoming Shanghai Dawn (TBA). It stars Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson as the Chinese Imperial guard Chon Wang and the American bandit Roy O'Bannon. The series combined has grossed $188 million .


  1. "SHANGHAI KNIGHTS | British Board of Film Classification". Retrieved 2017-06-10.
  2. 1 2 "Shanghai Knights (2003) - Financial Information". The Numbers.
  3. "'Shanghai' wraps". Variety . June 26, 2002. Archived from the original on April 6, 2017. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  4. "CZECH REPUBLIC: JACKIE CHAN FILMS "SHANGHAI KNIGHTS" ON LOCATION IN PRAGUE". ITN. May 16, 2002. Archived from the original on April 6, 2017. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  5. "Shanghai Knights". Rotten Tomatoes . Retrieved 2019-08-08.
  6. "Shanghai Knights". Metacritic . Retrieved 2019-08-08.
  7. "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
  8. Ebert, Roger (February 7, 2003). "Shanghai Knights Movie Review (2003)". Chicago Sun Times .
  9. Leydon, Joe (January 26, 2003). "Shanghai Knights". Variety .
  10. Mitchell, Elvis (February 7, 2003). "FILM REVIEW; Galahad in Shining Cowboy Duds". The New York Times . Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  11. Rabin, Nathan (2003-03-14). "Shanghai Knights". The A.V. Club .
  12. Perry, Spencer (2015-05-14). "MGM Moving Forward with Shanghai Dawn, Starring Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson". Retrieved 2015-07-08.
  13. "Shanghai Dawn | News | Movies - Empire". gb: 2003-02-20. Retrieved 2017-06-10.
  14. Kit, Borys (September 6, 2016). "'Napoleon Dynamite' Director Jared Hess Tackling 'Shanghai Noon' Sequel (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  15. Swinson, Brock (November 23, 2016). "Into the Badlands: Blood-splattered Heroes and the One Degree of Jackie Chan". Creative Screenwriting.