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Friday, 18 May 2018

Retro Review: The Tuxedo (2002) #jackiechan

The Tuxedo
Cast: Jackie Chan, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jason Isaacs, Debi Mazar
Genre: Comedy Action
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $105 million

Plot: A chauffeur is transformed into a crime-fighting hero when he wears a gadget-laden tuxedo 

'Not So Sharp Dressed Man'

For some odd and unexplained reason, the film opens up with a deer peeing in a lake, which I wasn't expecting and plus, it grossed me out. Of course, that scene didn't fill me with much hope and the first half just wasn't all that great.

The Tuxedo is an action comedy with Chan in the lead role and whilst many people prefer his action roles, in Hong Kong, he also made a name for himself in action comedies such as the Lucky Stars movies, and so this isn't new territory for him. He can play it straight, but also have fun and embrace his goofy side. Sadly, that is where the so-called good stuff ends as after an encouraging start, The Tuxedo takes a detour for the worse and it gradually lost sight of being a highly entertaining and amusing action comedy. The idea has a lot of potential, yet unfortunately, this is then gone to waste when Jackie's character transitions from a cab driver to a superhero type in a tux. From there onwards, despite 2 or 3 action scenes peppered, the direction this film took and the lack of good wit and comedy really brought this down for me. 

Jimmy is a Chinese cabbie based in New York, who is hired as a driver by an agent played by Jason Isacc. When the agent is injured and ends up in hospital, Jimmy takes his place and ends up donning a special suit that allows him to perform martial arts moves like magic without lifting a finger. Or be it his legs. 

Speaking of the comedy, it is very slapstick and physical with Jackie Chan really letting loose here, but also he is backed up by the use of CGI effects. The James Brown singing and dancing skit wasn't as embarrassing, well but for Jackie Chan shaking his ass in people's faces as he subbed for the king of soul. Chan's performance is okay, but Michael J. Wilson and Michael Lesson's script is so incoherent, it lets him and his co-stars, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Jason Isacc down and the action sequences utilise wire-fu and CGI, something that sort of bothered me a lot. I did like Chan and Love-Hewitt as a twosome (and it worked a tad better, rather than with Owen Wilson in the Shanghai Noon and Knight films), but it's a bit of a shame the screenplay they received should have been a whole lot better. Love-Hewitt's character also could have been a little more endearing, but as a foil, she operates as the so-called straight 'guy (or should that be girl) where she goes about her role seriously, although she does display some lighter glimpses. 

The Tuxedo was lambasted and maligned by many, though I'd still take this over the even more dreadful The Medallion & mediocre Rush Hour 3. Though the convoluted story is at times confusing and makes little sense, the action sequences are heightened by the over-reliance on CGI and New York is really Toronto. In addition, minus the scenes with the super suit, the rest of the movie feels lacklustre and dry with a narrative that is bland when it should have been far more engaging and entertaining. The Tuxedo also should have made more of an effort in incorporating Jackie Chan's fighting style into more fight scenes and without relying on special effects. 

Final Verdict:

As well as a lame villain, who just wants to poison the water supply, the fights are just not of the high quality as seen in Jackie Chan's Hong Kong 1980s efforts and the script is total blandness.

It's another weak entry in Jackie's filmography and another disappointment when it comes to non-Hong Kong efforts of his. But as mentioned, The Medallion is still in my eyes and many fans, top of the flops when it comes to Jackie Chan movies.

It's a pity this - the bad outweighs the good and even if it ain't great, it fell a tad short in being a guilty pleasure flick as there just wasn't more that I enjoyed from The Tuxedo


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