As a Chinese Imperial Guard stranded in the wild woolly West of 2000’s ”Shanghai Noon,” Jackie Chan found the perfect sidekick in Owen Wilson’s laidback Butch Cassidy-lite outlaw. While the taciturn martial artist kicked, flipped, and dervished his way through elaborately choreographed fights, his partner generally stood outside the action, supplying running commentary in a matter-of-factly quizzical drawl. Their yin and yang made for such great chemistry that reteaming them in Shanghai Knights actually seemed like a promising notion.
Alas, the follow-up is afflicted with typical sequelitis, trying to deliver everything that worked the first time – only, you know, bigger. Sending the duo to Victorian England to avenge the murder of Chan’s father, the film gets broader and busier at every turn, from the over-the-top plot to seize the throne of England to action sequences that are more cartoonish than Keatonesque to the annoyingly incongruous collection of ’60s oldies on the soundtrack. Once again, bigger isn’t better. But Chan still amazes with his acrobatic grace and Wilson can still whine lines like ”This country blows” and somehow make them hilarious. As a bonus, the DVD extras include several more of his verbal riffs in 11 deleted scenes. Their presence there doesn’t make the movie seem any better – but it does make the disc more fun.