Shanghai Noon

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Shanghai Noon
ShanghaiNoon Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTom Dey
Produced byRoger Birnbaum
Gary Barber
Jonathan Glickman
Written byAlfred Gough
Miles Millar
Music byRandy Edelman
CinematographyDan Mindel
Edited byRichard Chew
Touchstone Pictures
Spyglass Entertainment
Birnbaum/Barber Productions
Jackie Chan Films Limited
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • May 26, 2000 (2000-05-26) (United States)
Running time
110 minutes
CountriesUnited States
Hong Kong
Budget$55 million
Box office$99.3 million[1]

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.

The film, set in Nevada and other parts of the American West in the 19th century, is a juxtaposition of a Western with a kung fu action film with extended martial arts sequences, as reflected by its title, which is a wordplay on the iconic western High Noon. It also has elements of comedy and the "Buddy Cop" film genre, featuring two vastly different heroes (a Chinese imperial guard and a white Western outlaw) who team up to stop a crime. It was partially filmed in the Canadian Badlands, near Drumheller, Alberta, Canada, near Exshaw, Alberta, and also near Cochrane, Alberta. A sequel, Shanghai Knights, was released in 2003, with David Dobkin as director.


In 1881, Chon Wang – a homophone for John Wayne – is a Chinese Imperial Guard in the Forbidden City. After Princess Pei-Pei, aided by her foreign tutor, runs away to the United States, the Emperor of China sends three of his guards and the Royal Interpreter to retrieve her. Having failed to stop her escape, Wang insists on joining the mission. The Royal Interpreter, Wang's uncle, allows him to accompany the party, and the Captain of the Imperial Guards hopes the "foreign devils" will get rid of Wang. The party arrives in Nevada, where outlaw Roy O'Bannon and his gang hijack their train. Wallace, a new member of Roy's gang, kills Wang's uncle, and Wang, a skilled martial artist, fights off the gang before uncoupling the train cars and escaping on the engine. Wallace takes over the gang, leaving Roy buried up to his chin in the desert. Meanwhile, Pei-Pei, tricked into believing she was freely escaping her arranged marriage in China, learns she has been kidnapped by an agent of Lo Fong, a traitor who fled the Forbidden City.

Wang finds Roy and demands to know the direction to Carson City. Roy tells him the city is on the other side of a mountain, and Wang leaves two chopsticks in Roy's mouth to dig himself out. Reaching the other side of the mountain, Wang saves a Sioux boy from the Crow tribe and half-consciously marries the Sioux chief's daughter, Falling Leaves, during the wild celebrations. Wang finds a small town and encounters Roy in a tavern, inciting a barroom brawl. The two are sent to jail, and share each other's stories. Tempted by mention of the gold ransom, Roy offers to help Wang find the princess. After Falling Leaves helps them escape, Roy trains Wang in the ways of the cowboy, assisted by Falling Leaves.

In Carson City, Roy discovers that both he and Wang are wanted by Lo Fong's ally Marshal Nathan Van Cleef, narrowly escaping capture. They reach Roy’s "hideout” (a bordello), and bond with each other while recuperating there. They are arrested by Van Cleef after a drunken encounter with Wang, and discover that Lo Fong is behind the princess’ abduction. As they are about to be hanged, Wang frees himself, Falling Leaves shoots Roy loose, and they escape. Wang, upset at overhearing Roy tell a prostitute he is not Wang's friend, rides off alone. He finds Pei-Pei in Lo Fong's labor camp, but she wishes to stay and help the enslaved Chinese laborers. Lo Fong discovers Wang and attacks him, but Roy appears, saving Wang.

The next day, the Imperial Guards bring gold to the Carson City Mission church to ransom Pei-Pei from Lo Fong, but the exchange is complicated by the appearance of Wang and Roy. Wang tells his fellow guards he will not allow them to take the princess against her wishes. As the guards and Lo Fong fight, Van Cleef arrives and engages Roy in a gunfight. Roy survives unscathed, and shoots Van Cleef through his sheriff's star. Wang fights the Imperial Guards as Lo Fong chases Pei-Pei through the rafters of the church, but Wang convinces his guards to let him go to Pei-Pei’s aid instead. Wang and Lo Fong reach the bell tower, and Pei-Pei is wounded. Wang dismantles the bell, causing the ropes to strangle Lo Fong. The Imperial Guards agree to let Pei-Pei remain in Nevada, and reward Wang and Roy with the ransom gold.

Wallace and his gang arrive at the church, and demand that Roy and Wang come out and fight, but find themselves surrounded by the Sioux. At a Chinese cultural celebration, Roy shares a passionate kiss with Falling Leaves while Pei-Pei embraces Wang. Roy, who reveals his real name to be Wyatt Earp, and Wang become sheriffs and ride off after a new band of train robbers.


Box office[edit]

Produced at a budget of $55 million, the film grossed $99,274,467.[1] The film opened in third place at the North American box office grossing USD$19.6 million in its opening weekend behind Dinosaur and Mission: Impossible 2.[3]


Shanghai Noon was well received by critics. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 79% "certified fresh", based on 134 reviews with an average rating of 6.6/10. The site's consensus reads: "Although the plot is really nothing to brag about, Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson work well together. The cinematography looks great, and Jackie delivers a hilarious performance. This is an old-fashioned crowd-pleaser."[4] On Metacritic it has a score of 77 out of 100 based on 30 reviews.[5] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade "A-" on scale of A to F.[6]

Joe Leydon of Variety gave Shanghai Noon a favorable review, characterizing it as "Fast, furious and, quite often, very, very funny."[7] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote: "If you see only one martial arts Western this year (and there is probably an excellent chance of that), this is the one."[8]


A sequel, Shanghai Knights, was released on February 7, 2003.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Merrill's character is never referred to by name in the film, and is listed in the credits as "Indian Wife". However, the film's script identifies her as "Falling Leaves".[2]


  1. ^ a b "Shanghai Noon". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  2. ^ Dey, Tom; Wilson, Owen; Chan, Jackie (2000). Shanghai Noon: Audio Commentary (DVD). Touchstone Home Video. Event occurs at 32:12-32:28
  3. ^ "Domestic 2000 Weekend 21". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  4. ^ Shanghai Noon, retrieved 2017-06-23
  5. ^ "Shanghai Noon". Metacritic.
  6. ^ "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
  7. ^ Leydon, Joe (22 May 2000). "Shanghai Noon". Variety.
  8. ^ Ebert, Roger (May 26, 2000). "Shanghai Noon Movie Review & Film Summary (2000)".

External links[edit]