We just got back from a free showing of the new Jackie Chan movie, The Tuxedo. Now, I must preface this with the fact that I love Jackie Chan. He's funny and an amazing athlete (he's almost 50 and still looks like a devilish 20-something...unless you get a real closeup). I'd be hard pressed to think of another actor that would draw me to the theater no matter what the picture might be. But I just can't recommend this flick.
For one thing, you don't go to a Chan movie for plot (in this case, that's a really good thing). You go to see Jackie be funny and to see Jackie do impossible martial arts stunts. Lately, the funny side of the equation has been helped out by some great co-stars (Chris Tucker in the Rush Hour series and Owen Wilson in the Shanghai series). The chemistry between Jackie and Jennifer Love Hewitt just isn't there in this one. For most of the movie, she comes across as a shrill pain in the butt.
So, that leaves martial arts to carry the movie. There is nothing to compare with a great Jackie Chan choreographed fight. No other action hero gets in both the eye-popping "wow!" and the humor that he does. He's especially great as the desperate character just trying to stay alive, as in Who Am I? or Mr. Nice Guy. Unfortunately, this movie, which puts Jackie in a super-high-tech suit, distracts from what little martial arts there is, because you can't trust that everything is pure Jackie and not just special effects.
In the end, I really just found myself desperately waiting for the outtakes and longing for next year's Shanghai Knights or 2004's Rush Hour 3. I think I'll just go rent Dragons Forever (directed by Sammo Hung), Police Story or Drunken Master.
[ This review also appears at Solonor's Ink Well. ]