Walt Disney Home Entertainment is putting together packs on Blu-Ray these days, often bundling two films together on one disc, giving fans the chance to see the original film and the sequel for the price of one. Great idea, especially when the films in question are really both pretty good, as is the case of "Shanghai Noon" and "Shanghai Knights."
With his feet firmly rooted in Hollywood and the American market, over time Martial Arts superstar Jackie Chan for the past decade or so explored cross-over themes in his past films, but in none was the attempt to showcase 'East meets West' as clearly as in this fun- and action-filled Western, 'Shanghai Noon.' Jackie plays a Chinese Imperial Guard who is sent to America to rescue Princess Pei Pei (Lucy Liu) who is held captive. Unfamiliar with the language, the customs or the country for that matter, he soon teams up with Roy O'Bannon (Owen Wilson) a local desperado. Before he knows it, Chan is running from the law, known as the Shanghai Kid with a $1,000 reward on his head! Dead or alive!
Like the DVD version before, this Blu-Ray presentation offers up a meticulously clean transfer that is free of any blemishes or defect. Presented in 1080p high definition, the image is razor sharp and offers up an incredibly rich color palette and deep blacks that give the image visual depth.
"Shanghai Noon" features a dynamic and aggressive 5.1 channel Dolby Digital mix. It is very dynamic and features a wide frequency response, covering the entire sonic spectrum from the highest end to the lowest frequencies. The LFE channel is engaged quite often for additional effect and the overall presentation is powerful, rich and engaging.
The disc also contains all the bonus materials from the previously released DVD version, such as featurettes, a photo gallery and trivia games. A series of deleted scenes can also be found on the disc and in this case, it is one of the rare occasions where you have to really wonder why they have been cut. Not only are these scenes of excellent dramatic and narrative quality, furthermore they fill some of the serious plot holes that are now gaping in the final cut of the film.
"Shanghai Noon" perhaps is not Jackie Chan's funniest movie and it is certainly not his most furious in terms of its action. However, it is a highly entertaining comedy that is easy to digest and completely Americanized - with all its advantages and disadvantages, I may add.
The sequel to the hilarious film is also found on the Blu-Ray release, called "Shanghai Knights." Once again, Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson put their unique spin on the genre in a fiery comedy that is filled with breath-taking action sequences and the inimitable Jackie Chan martial arts stunt show. This time the two are on the way to find the killer of Chon Wang's (Jackie Chan) father, and to retrieve Imperial Seal that he was guarding. The trail leads them to Victorian London where they meet up with Chon's sister Lin (Fann Wong) in an effort to bring down the murderers.
This 1080p high definition transfer is equally impressive and presents the movie with a clean image and rich colors. Black levels are very good and draw a picture that has a lot of visual depth and finely delineated shadows.
Just as "Shanghai Noon," "Shanghai Knights" offers up an aggressive and active 5.1 channel Dolby Digital track with a wide frequency response and a powerful dynamic range make.
Also included are all the bonus materials form the DVD version of the film, such as an enlightening commentary track the director, and a separate commentary track featuring the writers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar. Also included is a featurette hosted by director David Dobkin and Jackie Chan, discussing the action elements of the production. A furious music video-style clip of some of the stunt highlights from the movie is also included, as well as a good number of deleted scenes.
"Shanghai Knights" is a great sequel to the original film and works well in the buddy-film genre. A nice story, fun backdrops and countless references to historic figures make this film all the more enjoyable.
How could you go wrong with a package like this? Two highly entertaining and fun-filled movies for the price of one? I'm surprised yo don't own it yet.