Jackie Chan's Style Flies High in The Tuxedo
by Thomas McNulty
Jackie Chan's new film,
The Tuxedo, works effectively as a comedy thanks to the inspired pairing of Chan with Jennifer Love Hewitt. They play well off each other with Chan's good-hearted nature complimenting Hewitt's sincerity. But like most of Chan's films, the characters are caricatures with only flashes of depth. This film is no exception.
Chan plays a cab driver turned chauffeur named Jimmy Tong who take a job working for millionaire Clark Devlin, played by Jason Isaacs. Devlin has one rule: never touch his tuxedo. When Devlin is incapacitated in a carefully arranged accident, Tong tries on the tux and discovers it's an advanced piece of technology that allows the wearer to perform athletic feats with minimal effort. While wearing the tux Tong can mambo with the best, including moves that out-boogie James Brown. He can also kungfu like... well... Jackie Chan. But Tong learns that controlling the tux will take some practice.
Tong learns that Devlin was a spy and when he assumes Devlin's identity, he gets involved with Del Blaine (Hewitt) who is working to undermine the efforts of the evil Diedrich Banning, played by Ritchie Coster. To describe more of the plot would be about as interesting as describing the rows of fish at a fish market. Maybe the fish would be a little more interesting.
When Tong first puts on the Tuxedo and inadvertently destroys the room with a series of uncontrollable martial arts moves, I remembered why I wanted to see this movie. The plot is window dressing to get us here, to the moment we have been waiting for: Jackie Chan in action. It was worth the short wait. Chan is funny and effective in the extraordinary situations in which he finds himself. On a lesser level, the film works as a parody of James Bond films (Chan is "James Tong") but fails to deliver any real scathing satire. But my primary complaint with the film is the inclusion of an opening sequence with a deer that is in such poor taste I was surprised it made the final cut. Surely they don't think this is funny? When you see the opening sequence you'll know what I mean.
Jackie Chan is the reason to see The Tuxedo. His exuberance, good nature, charm, and of course all of that beautifully choreographed martial arts talent is what I wanted all along. The Tuxedo delivers with a sweeping crescent kick followed by a lightning fast back-fist that left me begging for more.
Let us know what you thought. Discuss the film here.
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Written by Thomas McNulty for KUNGFUMAGAZINE.COM