Jackie Chan has had a mixed time in Hollywood. There was the good fun of Shanghai Knights but he has had hsi share of stinkers as well, with such films as The Spy Next Door, and the Medallion. This time around, I will review the Disney film starring Jackie Chan, entitled Around the World in 80 Days. The action in the film and the looks could probably have been more gritty but in any case it looks very colourful and the various settings all catch the eye. The story is very loosely based on Jules Verne’s novel of the same name, it involves an eccentric inventor Phileas Fogg trying to race around the world and end up back in England within 80 days. Jackie Chan brings to the table his classic fight choreography and humor, as well as branching into types of comedy he had not worked with before.
As far as fight-scenes go, they are well choreographed and Jackie can luckily still kick ass. Like I stated earlier, this is a loose adaptation, but there are many gentle reminders of Verne’s vision and his novels scattered all through this attempt. The story is about the same as the original except for a new sub-plot includes Jackie Chan stealing a precious Chinese Jade Buddah which ties into the whole Chinese war plot. Cameo appearances by Arnold Schwarzenegger were also a nice touch.
Now, if things described beforehand do not bother you, or you just don’t care, then sit back and have a enjoyable 2 hours with rather enjoyable silliness. Which I suppose bring me to the biggest criticism I had with this film; Jackie Chan. Spending the majority of the time fighting, Chan might show his athletic ability, but the story of the journey, has always been, and should remain so, be headlined by the magnificent Fogg himself. Chan’s performance consists almost entirely of smiling coyly and mugging for the camera.
Like Jackie Chan’s other movies, the Chinese males in those movies all had long hair because they were in the Qing Dynasty in China. However, we all know what those movies described were pure fantasies. I don’t feel that there is a need to be authentic which may only perpetuate the stereotype that people have about Chinese. How about making some movies about Chinese from the Tang dynasty even though it is timely impossible. A fantasy is just a fantasy. However, a good imaginary movie could be a timeless classic. Thumbs in the middle for this silly take on a literary classic.