Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, ...
Credit: Shanghai Knights: Richard Cartwright

Though ”Shanghai ”Knights” predecessor, ”Shanghai Noon,” grossed only $57 million in 2000, conventional wisdom held that the crowd-pleaser might have pleased bigger crowds had it not been released the same weekend as ”Mission: Impossible 2.” Hence, if at first you don?t succeed, try again with a $50 million-plus sequel. But Dobkin doesn?t think of ”Knights” as a ”Noon” do-over. ”We didn?t want to regurgitate ‘Shanghai Noon’ in a different location with a different wardrobe,” says the commercial director. ”We wanted to be our own film.”

So this time, our Old West heroes — Chinese Imperial Guard Chan and goofball outlaw Wilson — are reunited in 19th-century London to avenge the murder of Chan?s father. Dobkin says writers Gough and Millar (who also wrote ”Noon” and created TV?s ”Smallville”) imbued the sequel with ”a deeper emotional core.” Yet fret not, kung fu fans: There?s plenty of action, with sequences set within Madame Tussaud?s wax museum and atop Big Ben. Since Chan maps out his meticulous melees on the spot, Dobkin gave his star ample time by being expedient with the dramatic stuff. ”I went for a simple approach to tell the story so I could buy an extra day or two for Jackie to do things the true Jackie Chan way,” says Dobkin. ”The more Hollywood embraces his way of doing things, the better action they?ll get out of him.”

THE LOWDOWN Reteaming the two actors is a good idea, but ”Knights”’ biggest problem is the fact that they will already have been seen doing their respective things in ”The Tuxedo” and ”I Spy.”

Shanghai Knights
  • Movie
  • 114 minutes