REVIEW REWIND: Around The World In 80 Days (2004)
"You had me at the nipples" will be one of the funniest lines I'll ever hear in a Disney movie thanks to the 2004 version of Around The World In 80 Days. Seriously, it is a line from the movie. It also pretty much sums up the movie as quirky, weird and whimsical.
The movie starts with Chan's Lau Xing stealing something from the Bank of England. A manhunt is issued which forces Xing to hide out at the residence of Phileas Fogg (Steve Coogan), an eccentric inventor trying to break the 50 mile per hour human barrier. Xing gets himself hired as Fogg's valet changing his name to Passepartout. During a meeting at the Ministry of Science, Fogg accepts Lord Kelvin's (Jim Broadbent) challenge to travel the world in 80 days to prove he is a reputable scientist.
Along their travels, they meet Monique La Roche (Cécile de France), a would-be impressionist artist wanting to see the world, who joins them. All along, Xing is being hunted by the Black Scorpions and Lord Kelvin as it turns out Xing stole from Kelvin a Jade Buddha which belonged to his village. In China, however, Xing is able to return the Buddha, but they continued to be hunted nonetheless all the way through to their travel back to London.
I didn't quite know what to expect from a remake of a beloved classic with Jackie Chan as one of the stars, but, after watching it, it was everything that was the ONE thing I was expecting - a Jackie Chan movie. This is undeniably a Jackie Chan movie. And, those are almost always entertaining thanks to Chan's humorous martial arts choreography.
Jackie Chan may never be Laurence Olivier, but he doesn't have to be. He just has to be proficient in the skill he brings to the table, which he does in spades. Now, whether the rest of the movie is good is another story. This movie will never reach the heights of David Niven's classic version. But, again, this movie really is a Jackie Chan movie disguised as a movie about a scientist trying to travel the world in 80 days.
Coogan and de France are fine in their roles, but nothing to really write home about. Again, Chan is really the star here. Broadbent, however, brings a delicious evilness to his villainy that he seemed to take great joy in. There are a lot of fun cameos in this film, including Arnold Schwarzenegger as Prince Hapi, Owen and Luke Wilson as the Wright Brothers, Sammo Hung as one of the members of the Ten Tigers, John Cleese as a police officer and Kathy Bates as the Queen of England.
If you are a fan of the original, you might be disappointed by this movie. But, if you're looking for Jackie Chan fun, this is the one for you.