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Archive for the ‘Monique La Roche’ Category

around the worldSo this is the movie that was the beginning of the end of Jackie Chan’s movie career in the US. I always wondered where it started.  Actually back in 2004 I originally wanted to see this film in the movie theater because it had the great one, Arnold Schwarzenegger, in it, while he was the Govenator of California.  It was a cameo appearance but still I had miss seeing Arnold by that point.  However I had missed it and then forgot about it.  After seeing it now for a movie review challenge from Benn Farrell I am glad I missed it back then.  This movie is not very good.  It reminds of the Disney movie’s in the mid to late 70’s like Escape to Witch Mountain, and the Cat from Outer Space.  They were fun when I was 6 but not as an adult.  This movie is a remake of the 1956 “classic” of the same name starring David Niven.

Lau Xing, played by Jackie Chan (Rumble in the Bronx,) is on the run from the London Police as he has stolen an artifact from the Bank of England that was in fact stolen from his village in China.  While he is hiding from the Police he sees inventor Phileas Fogg, played by Steve Coogan (Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian,) who is lamenting the loss of his valet.    In order to hide from the Police Lau takes on the job telling Fogg his name is Passepartout.  Fogg then goes to the Royal Academy of Science to meet Lord Kelvin, played by Jim Broadbent (Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince,) who has nothing but disdain for Fogg which Lau notices.  Lau takes advantage of their contempt for each other by starting a rumor that eventually turns into a bet between Fogg and Kelvin that Fogg can travel around the world in 80 days (forgot to mention that this movie takes place in late 1880’s,) and if he does so successfully Kelvin must resign as the leader of the Royal Academy of Science and give it to Fogg, and if Fogg fails, he must tear down his invention shop and vow to never invent anything again.  Fogg doesn’t know that Lau plans to use this bet to travel to China and return the artifact to his village.  What Fogg and Lau don’t know is that Lord Kelvin hired a Chinese war lord  who stole the artifact in the first place and now will be sent to kill both of them during the trip.

So there is a lot going on and yet the movie is every bit of the two hour running time it is and slower than it seems.  The reason why it reminds me of the Disney movies of the late 70’s is the ludicrousness of the story as a whole and the complete lack of any desire to want to make it real. A man peddling hard enough to keep a flying machine in the air is as believable as a cat from outer space talking but I would guess a six year old wouldn’t care.  Also the attention to detail was lacking.  The movie starts in London with a British inventor and he is measuring speed in miles per hour.  A British scientist would NEVER measure speed in miles per hour because the United States is the only country using that measurement for speed.  All the other countries use kilometers per hour.  Little things like this are spread throughout the movie.

While I like most of the actors in the movie it would seem the director gave all of the actors the direction that the phrase over acting shall not be worried about in this movie.  I know it’s a comedy but they all seem to be playing a parody of a parody.  I am used to it with Jackie Chan and humor only added to his martial arts films in the late 90’s but here it seems out of place, as is the rest of the over acting in this movie.

It was also odd for the story in that in the original the lead character was Phileas Fogg while this movie the character lead is split between Fogg and Lau. I found it to be another reason that the movie was slow because since Lau was just as important as Fogg the story had to not only detour to China but stop in the village and have one climatic fight scene between the good guys and the bad guys.  Which it is always fun to watch a Jackie Chan fight scene because the choreography is a wonderful mixture of action and humor, but it slows the movie down.  This can be said about all of the fight scenes in this movie, fun and funny but unnecessary.  As for Fogg’s character not only do we have the wager to think of but Fogg is given a love interest named Monique La Roche, played by Cecile De France (High Tension.)  But there is no real tension in the love story as at no time did I feel that they would not end up together.

I mention the martial arts in the film and it was very tame as it’s PG rating would imply. And that is a PG rating not a PG-13 so the action is so tame a 12 year could see it.  Another thing is that by 2004 we have seen all of Jackie’s moves by now but it is still fun to see.  The big fight scene in the village, which I have said above, is pointless, is classic Jackie Chan fighting so I enjoyed it.

As for the reason why Mr. Farrell had me watch this film, the cameo appearance of the Great One, I can say that I am glad that it is a brief one for Arnold. He plays Prince Hapi who tries to force La Roche to stay in Turkey as one of his seven wives.  Being in this film is by far the worst mistake he has made since his appearance in Batman & Robin.  It’s hard to believe the man with a thick Austrian accent can be a Turkish Prince.  And the wig that Arnold had to wear is God awful.  This movie was a very bad choice for the brilliant man from Austria.

To be honest I don’t know how any children over the age of seven can like this film.  It will forever be, to me, associated with the bad Disney movies of the 1970’s.  But at least I know now what happened to Jackie Chan.  After this he made Rush Hour 3 and the remake of The Karate Kid.  Yuck.

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