Picks and Pans Review: Shanghai Knights
This follow-up to 2000's Shanghai Noon reunites Chan, as a Chinese Imperial Guard transplanted to the Wild West, and Wilson, a reformed and unusually chatty outlaw. Like the first Shanghai, it's a light slapstick comedy, perfect for kids.
This time the friends travel to London in search of the purloined Chinese royal seal (the thing you stamp letters with, not the animal that balances a ball) and stumble on a plot to assassinate Queen Victoria. Wilson floats through it all on a stream of wisecracks: He may have the mussed blond looks of a surfer bonked on the noggin one time too many, but his timing is smoothly understated. Chan's stunt work here isn't terribly rigorous, but armed with an umbrella he performs a charming salute to Singin' in the Rain. (PG-13)
BOTTOM LINE: Nice Knights
Lost in La Mancha
When director Terry Gilliam, the quirky visionary behind the Monty Python movies, Brazil and 12 Monkeys, set out to fulfill his longtime dream of bringing Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote to the screen, he agreed to let documentarians Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe hang around his production offices and the set in Spain with their cameras for a making-of-the-movie film. What Gilliam unintentionally gave them instead was the unmaking of a movie.
The resulting documentary, Lost in La Mancha, is a heartbreakingly funny account of how Gilliam tilted at windmills and lost. Bad weather, a leading man's illness and budget qualms caused Gilliam's moneymen to pull the plug shortly after the cameras began rolling. Johnny Depp, who was to play Sancho Panza, shows up wearing dark glasses and mumbling. (R)
BOTTOM LINE: A real find
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