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The Tuxedo (12A)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: One

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted scenes; Extended scenes; Outtakes and bloopers; HBO First Look: Tailor Made For Jackie Chan; Theatrical trailer; Cast; Filmmakers; Production notes; Regions 2/4.

JACKIE Chan films have the habit of being so stupid, they are virtually critic-proof, as the sprightly star seems to be able to take the flimsiest material and make it hugely entertaining.

Take Rush Hour, for instance, a film which did little more than update the mis-matched cops scenario to terrific effect, or Shanghai Noon, which thrust another mis-matched partnership into the wild West, to similar effect. Both have spawned sequels.

The Tuxedo, however, breaks the mould. It is a tiresome and completely absurd affair, which frequently squanders the talents of its star by virtually making him redundant.

Chan stars as cabbie-turned-chauffeur, Jimmy Tong, who suddenly becomes thrust into a world of espionage and double-cross when his boss, Clark Devlin (Jason Isaacs), becomes injured in an explosion.

Inheriting Devlin’s prized tuxedo, which possesses the ability to turn its wearer into a super-spy, Tong teams up with Jennifer Love Hewitt’s feisty CSA agent, Del Blaine, to prevent an evil megalomaniac from wreaking havoc on America.

So far, so James Bond - the joke being that Chan, complete with dodgy foreign accent and awkward social skills, is the least likely person to save the world.

Unfortunately, the joke falls embarrassingly flat. Chan certainly exudes his usual charisma - Love Hewitt has affectionately referred to him as ‘this little ball of light and energy that bounces around making every person he meets smile’ - but, strangely, he cannot save the film.

A small part of this is attributable to the people around him, with Love Hewitt failing to provide the type of memorable sidekick that made both Chris Tucker and Owen Wilson so endearing, while the plot is so shabby that it is virtually painful to watch.

But the biggest problem remains the fact that Chan is criminally wasted. Much of the fun of watching a Jackie Chan film lies in his amazing ability to manoeuvre himself out of any given situation - his agility never fails to impress.

Yet by employing Matrix-style effects to most of the action sequences, debut director Kevin Donovan (a veteran of award-winning commercials) robs the audience of its selling point.

Chan remains fun, whenever on screen, but his fight scenes lack their usual sparkle and ingenuity, which is really like being at your favourite concert with the sound on mute.

It serves to make the movie’s faults all the more glaring and given that there are so many, The Tuxedo quickly becomes a lost cause.

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