Shanghai Noon

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Shanghai Noon is a comedy Western film starring Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson. Chan plays a Chinese guardsman, Chon Wang, who travels to America to rescue a kidnapped Imperial princess, teaming up along the way with disreputable gunslinger Roy O'Bannon (played by Owen), a small time robber with delusions of grandeur. Together, the two forge through one misadventure after another. Directed by Tom Dey, it was written by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar. The movie, set in Nevada and other parts of the west in the 19th century, is a juxtaposition of a western with a Jackie Chan kung fu action movie with extended martial arts sequences. It also has elements of comedy and the "Buddy Cop" film genre, as it involves two men of different personalities and ethnicities (a Chinese imperial guard and a Western outlaw) who team up to stop a crime.


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In the sequel directed by David Dobkin, Shanghai Knights, they travel to Victorian London to foil a plot against the Queen. Also starring Singaporean actress Fann Wong as Chon Wang's sister, Chon Lin. In the 1880's, Chon Wang's father and keeper of the Imperial Seal has been murdered by Parliament and royal family member Rathbone, who steals the Imperial Seal, with Chon Wang's sister, Chon Lin, witnessing the murder. Chon Lin follows Rathbone to London to kill him, while sending Chon a letter telling him of the murder. Chon then travels to New York for Roy O'Bannon. Together they travel to England and meet up with Chon Lin to kill Rathbone and get the Imperial Seal back.

Tropes used in Shanghai Noon include:
  • Accidental Marriage: Chon Wang ends up accidentally married (from his POV) to the Sioux chief's daughter (who knew exactly what she was doing). She follows him around for the rest of the movie, periodically saving his ass, only to end up trading him in for Roy at the end. She ditches them BOTH in the sequel.
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Sioux Shaman (to the chief): Hey, it could be worse. She could have married a white guy.

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Sheriff Van Cleef: What do you know...it's a Mexican standoff...only we ain't got no Mexicans.

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  • Monumental Battle: Big Ben in the second film.
  • Mugging the Monster: Jack the Ripper tried to attack Lin after she just left their inn in a bad mood. End result is, at least we know why the killings suddenly stopped.
  • My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: "My life is flashing before my eyes! Wait! I don't remember her."
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits: Chon Wang acts like this when Lin and Roy starts getting along.
  • Noodle Implements: "She picked the lock using a deck of rather risque playing cards, then she scaled the walls using a mop, a fork, and various pilfered undergarments. You've got to hand it to the Chinese; they're really quite ingenious, aren't they?"
  • Oh Crap: Wu Chow has this expression right before he explodes. Rathbone also gets an ...off putting look on his face when Chon cuts the support ropes.
  • One Bullet Left: This first movie has this in probable homage to A Fistful of Dollars. Roy O'Bannon has one bullet left in his gun, and says as much to his nemesis. Out of a "sense of fair play", the bad guy mimes emptying his still fully-loaded revolvers, leading to a final shootout with Roy's one bullet vs. the bad guy's 12. Roy gets him right through the heart.
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Bad Guy: "Now how the hell did that happen?" *collapses*

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    • By the way, this is the only time in the movie Roy successfully shoots anything. When he tells Chon, he doesn't believe him at all. Roy notes that the baddie's bullets all went through the robe he was wearing without leaving a scratch on him.
  • Parasol of Pain: Chon also had a memorable umbrella fight in Shanghai Knights, complete with a homage to Singin in The Rain.
    • Directly in front of Charlie Chaplin. Can you read the subtext?
  • Pocket Protector: Subverted. When Roy shoots the corrupt sheriff at the climax of the first movie, the bullet goes right through the center of the sheriff star, leaving a big hole.
    • Also subverted when Doyle is shot in the second movie.
  • Portrait Painting Peephole: Chon thinks that he sees the eyes in a painting move, while Roy, engrossed in a book about the Kama Sutra, dismisses him - until he sees it for himself and freaks out. It turns out that Chon's sister had been hiding "inside" the painting.
  • Pun-Based Title: Based on the classic Western High Noon.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: Shanghai Knights shifts the setting to London.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: At the end of the first movie, Chon's utterly silent Indian wife (from an Accidental Marriage) performs this on a babbling Roy, then delivers her only English line in the film: "Shut up, Roy; you talk too much."
  • Stealth Hi Bye: Wu Chow's favorite way of showing up, which does not amuse Rathbone one bit.
  • Stock Yuck
  • Sword Fight: At the climax of Shanghai Knights.
  • Taking You with Me: At the climax of Shanghai Knights, Chon Wang is clearly outmatched by Lord Rathbone, so he cuts the ropes supporting the platform they are both standing on and sends both of them through the glass face of Big Ben. Chon is caught by Roy O'Bannon, who was knocked through the same glass a little earlier.
  • This Cannot Be!: The sheriff is a little more than taken aback when Roy shoots him despite only having one bullet to the sheriff's loaded dual pistols, and through the badge no less.
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Van Cleef: How the hell did that happen?

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  • Traumatic Haircut: The first movie has Chon lose his long pony tail when Chon and Roy are captured by the princess's kidnapper, Lo Fong; he cuts Chon's hair off, knowing exactly what this means for him if he should try to return. (See the Real Life example on that page for the significance of this act.)
  • The Trope Kid: Chon is listed on a wanted poster as "The Shanghai Kid." His partner notes, "That's a really cool nickname, too." Jackie's character immediately complains that he's not really from Shanghai.
  • Tuckerization: In Shanghai Noon, Jackie Chan's character is named Chon Wang (John Wayne), and in the sequel, Shanghai Knights, Owen Wilson's character uses the name Sherlock Holmes as an alias. A nearby Arthur Conan Doyle hears the name, and likes it. While Owen Wilson's character goes by Roy O'Bannon, he reveals at the end of the first movie that he changed it from Wyatt Earp. Finally, the kid sidekick in the second film is none other than Charlie Chaplin.
  • Unexpected Successor: The second movie had an noble who was way, way far down the line of succession hatch a conspiracy to kill everybody ahead of him so he could ascend to the throne.
  • Unwilling Suspension: Shanghai Knights
  • Where Do You Think You Are?: "This isn't the East, this is the West. The sun doesn't rise here, it sets."
  • Who Would Want to Watch Us?: Happened in Shanghai Knights, where Roy tries to sell Jackie Chan's character, a Chinese cowboy named Chon Wang (say it out loud and see who it sounds like) on the idea of the then-new "moving pictures", even going so far as to suggest "You could do your own stunts." In a slight subversion, Chon nods and replies:
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Chon: Chon Wang, movie star? It could work.

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