, 02 Dec 2006
Jimmy Tong (Chan) works as a cab driver until one day a passenger offers him a job as driver to super spy Clark Devlin (Isaccs). When Devlin is injured in a bombing Jimmy takees his place, using a tuxedo of Devlin's that confers superpowers on the wearer.
Suited up Jimmy and partner Del Blaine (Hewitt) (who, being on her first assignment, thinks he's Devlin) go up against an eeevil bottled water manufacturer (Ritchie Coster) who is planning to poison the world's water supply, leaving only his mineral water safe to drink (muahahahaha).
It's not an easy time to be a Jackie Chan fan. His Hong Kong output has been slipping in quality (he's been trying to act, God help us) and his Hollywood films lurch from one embarrassment to the next. This might be the best of his US work to date, I realise of course that that's like saying 'Whaddya know, this sewage smells better than that sewage', but still, small mercies.
The Tuxedo is certainly beset with problems. First among them is the prevalence of wire work (not great wire work at that) in the action and stunt sequences. Time was Jackie lived by the words: I am the special effect. But time marches on and this can be put down to age and injury rather than laziness or a lack of ideas on the part of Jackie and his stunt team. The smaller moments are the best, true they've been slightly aided by effects but still the displays of agility, particularly when Jackie has to fight while trying to put his tux back on, are as amazing as ever.
Debuting Director Donovan isn't the man for the job. Too often he botches the action particularly in a sequence with the most obvious fake leg ever put to film and his leering fascination with Hewitt's cleavage, magnificent as it may be, makes you wonder if it was an adult or a 13 year old boy behind the camera.
However there are bright spots. Chan's having fun, which often seems not to be the case lately, clearly he enjoys the slapstick comedy and, for all the frustrations of working in English, his comic timing and screen presence still win through.
Hewitt may be utterly miscast but she makes the best of things and actually puts in a sparky performance that serves the film perfectly well.
So it's dumber than you can possibly imagine but there's also fun to be had. There's some hammy cameos from Whose Line Is It Anyway's Colin Mochorie and from Peter Stormare as a mad scientist and just enough of Jackie's trademark action to make it fun. Clearly no masterpiece then, but hardly as mortifying as Shanghai Noon or The Medallion
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