Shanghai Knights

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Shanghai Knights
Shanghai knights.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDavid Dobkin
Produced byRoger Birnbaum
Gary Barber
Jonathan Glickman
Written byAlfred Gough
Miles Millar
Based onCharacters
by Alfred Gough
Miles Millar
Music byRandy Edelman
CinematographyAdrian Biddle
Edited byMalcolm Campbell
Touchstone Pictures
Spyglass Entertainment
Birnbaum / Barber Productions
Jackie Chan Films Limited
All Knight Productions
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • February 7, 2003 (2003-02-07)
Running time
114 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Hong Kong
Budget$50 million [2]
Box office$88.3 million [2]

Shanghai Knights is a 2003 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 and Owen Wilson.


In 1887, Chon Lin (Fann Wong) tells her father (Kim Chan), Keeper of the Imperial Seal of China in the Forbidden City, that her brother Chon Wang (Jackie Chan) is doing well as a sheriff in Carson City, Nevada, but her father replies that her brother is dead to him. Lord Nelson Rathbone (Aidan Gillen) leads a band of Boxers into the city, killing Lin's father and stealing the seal. With his dying breath, Lin's father gives her a box to send to her brother.

In Carson City, Sheriff Wang has captured an impressive array of fugitives. His deputy (Matt Hill) relaxes with a book, "Roy O'Bannon Vs. The Mummy", one of several highly fictionalized accounts of the previous film's events; Wang is dismayed by his portrayal as cowardly sidekick the "Shanghai Kid.” Wang receives the puzzle 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 (Owen Wilson) and book passage to London. Roy has left his brief stint in law enforcement, broken off his romance with Falling Leaves, lost his gold investing in the Zeppelin, and is now a waiter and part-time gigolo, who lost most of his fortune publishing his novels. They attempt prostitution to pay for tickets to the United Kingdom, but are interrupted by the Mayor of New York in search of his daughters, Roy's latest clients. The pair ship themselves to London in a crate.

In London, Wang and Roy are accosted by a gang including the young Charlie Chaplin (Aaron Johnson). After a struggle, they are arrested. In Scotland Yard, Inspector Artie Doyle (Thomas Fisher) thanks the two for defeating the Fleet Street gang. Wang finds Lin in custody, having attempted to kill Lord Rathbone. Rathbone meets with Wu Chow (Donnie Yen), giving him the dagger that killed the Keeper of the Imperial Seal. Wang and Roy encounter Charlie and 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 Lord Rathbone to a private library, where he slips through a secret passage. As Roy occupies himself with the Kama Sutra, Wang discovers a secret room of treasures from throughout the British Empire. Roy is rescued from Rathbone's guards by Lin, who has escaped Scotland Yard. The three see Rathbone give the Imperial Seal to Wu Chow, the illegitimate brother of the Emperor of China, which is then stolen by Charlie. Rathbone escapes. At a brothel, Roy overhears Wang try to convince Lin that Roy is an unsuitable romantic partner. Lin discovers Roy and Wang in an inadvertently compromising position. They are captured by Rathbone, who reveals his plan to kill the British royal family and frame Lin.

Later, Wong and Roy find Artie has been fired for Lin's escape. He deduces that Charlie is at Madame Tussauds, where they save him from the Boxers but lose the seal and are captured by police. They are rescued by Charlie, revealed to be Charlie Chaplin. They escape and 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 manages to hang onto the clock face as Wang fights Rathbone. Roy saves Wang as Rathbone falls to his death.

Roy and Wang are knighted, as is Artie, revealed to be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Artie decides to write stories about his techniques of deductive reasoning, 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, wearing a fake mustache, stows away as they drive off.


Jackie Chan Stunt Team[edit]

  • Brad Allan as Street thug / Library thug (uncredited)
  • Paul Andreovski as Library thug with sword (double) / English policeman (uncredited)
  • Nicky Li
  • Ken Lo
  • Mars
  • He Jun
  • Wu Gang
  • Park Hyun Jin
  • Lee In Seob
  • Han Guan Hua


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, Whitechapel and Madame Tussaud's,[3] the scenes in London were largely filmed in Prague, Czech Republic from February 4 to June 21, 2002.[4][5]


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.[6] On Metacritic the film has a score of 58 out of 100, based on reviews from 33 critics.[7] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade "B+" on scale of A to F.[8]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times gave the film 3 out of 4 stars, calling it "fun in a broad, genial way", but dissaproved of the "entirely arbitrary" plot.[3] 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" cinematograpy, 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]


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 and Owen Wilson are expected to reprise their roles as Chon Wang, Princess Pei-Pei and Roy O'Bannon 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]


  1. ^ "SHANGHAI KNIGHTS | British Board of Film Classification". Retrieved 2017-06-10.
  2. ^ a b "Shanghai Knights (2003) - Financial Information". The Numbers.
  3. ^ a b Ebert, Roger (February 7, 2003). "Shanghai Knights Movie Review (2003)". Chicago Sun Times.
  4. ^ "'Shanghai' wraps". Variety. June 26, 2002.
  6. ^ "Shanghai Knights". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2019-08-08.
  7. ^ "Shanghai Knights". Metacritic. Retrieved 2019-08-08.
  8. ^ "Cinemascore". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
  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.

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