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Click for full sized poster

The Tuxedo

Starring Jackie Chan and Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jason Isaacs, Debi Mazar, Ritchie Coster and Peter Stormare
Screenplay by Michael J. Wilson and Michael Leeson;
Story by Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi and Michael J. Wilson
directed by Kevin Donovan
website: www.dreamworks.com

IN SHORT: Buy popcorn. [Rated PG-13 for action violence, sexual content and language. ]

When we were first introduced to the movies of Jackie Chan a couple of years ago, the PR push described the man as a martial artist who found fame across boundaries of language by relying on comedy to keep his movies "light". As opposed to the a beat up the bad guys until they drop non-stop hong kong action flicks. As he's aged and found fame here, Jackie Chan is now more comedian who fights than fighter who does comic stunts. That, too, is a good thing -- especially for those of us that have seen a dozen or so Chan movies. He's past the point where he can risk incredibly dangerous stunts because his name is a bankable commodity, so all the fighting is starting to look alike. When you get more than two visually interesting fights out of the five or so that fill the flick, that's worth the cost of the popcorn. In The Tuxedo, one involves a length of rope and the second involves a bug in a shot glass. There's also a neat bit of physical dexterity involving a taxi cab and an angry bike messenger. Standard Chan.

That also means that, as with all the new stuff of the last several years, the hardcore fans of his early work walk out of the movie theater bitching mightily. One of 'em, behind us on the way out, told his girlfriend that The Tuxedo put him to sleep. His loss. In The Tuxedo, with sidekick Jennifer Love Hewitt at his side, Chan has almost hit the perfect balance of the two disciplines of comedy and action. We find ourselves on the buy popcorn take a date side of the argument as Chan, in character, portrays

He is Jimmy Tong (Chan, click for StarTalk), a Chinese man with no martial arts skills whatsoever and the speediest taxi driver in a Great Metropolis. After proving his skills to the mysterious Steena (Debi Mazar), Tong is hired to chauffeur multi-millionaire playboy (and nudge nudge super secret agent) Clark Devlin (Jason Isaacs) around town. Steena and Devlin work for the Central Security Agency, battling, in this case, the nefarious plans of evil bad guy Diedrich Banning (Ritchie Coster) who schemes to taint the water supply of North America and guarantee himself control of the bottled water market. Nearsighted mad scientist Dr. Simms (Peter Stormare) is the genius who figures out how to bring about Banning's wishes. These wishes include taking Devlin out of the mix, thanks to a bomb on a skateboard which leaves our 007 clone in a coma in a hospital. His last words, before lapsing into la-la land, are "Walter Strider." His last act is to give Jimmy his watch.

From here on in, Jimmy Tong must find this "Walter Strider" and discover the secret to his bosses cryptic words. At his side is novice agent Del Blaine (Jennifer Love Hewitt click for StarTalk) who has no idea that Tong isn't Devlin. Jackie battles through as best he can, outfitted in a multi-million dollar tuxedo that does all sorts of amazing things and turns him into a rockin' rollin' fightin' and lovin' sex machine. A new emperor of soul, so to speak, especially once the suit does some awful things to the rightful Godfather of Soul James Brown.

It's all in good fun. It's all very enjoyable and a fine popcorn dateflick combo, especially when -- thanks to some nefarious twists and turns of the storyline -- The Tuxedo falls into, shall we say, the wrong hands. Oh, if only there was a Yoda to tell Jackie "there is another" -- Devlin is still in coma as we move towards the Third Act and, as with the last original Chanflicks, in that Third Act everything kicks into overdrive. We can't tell you about it but it looks damned good.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Tuxedo, he would have paid . . .

$5.50

take a date.

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The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.