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Around The World in 80 Days - Preview

Preview by: Jack Foley

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted scenes; Jackie Chan Stunt Piece; Behind the scenes featurette; Director's commentary.

JACKIE Chan has been on something of a lacklustre run of late, following the disappointments of films such as The Medallion, The Tuxedo and Shanghai Knights.

Yet his latest all-action spectacular does, at least, offer the possibility of a return to form, given the scale on which it is set, and the star-studded cast it has attracted.

The film in question is Around The World in 80 Days, a feature length adaptation of the classic Jules Verne novel, which finds Chan as Passepartout and Steve Coogan as the eccentric London inventor, Phileas Fogg.

The plot, of course, centres around an outrageous wager between Fogg and Lord Kelvin (Jim Broadbent), the head of the Royal Academy of Science, which involves the former circumnavigating the globe in no more than 80 days.

Enlisting the help of two sidekicks - Chan and Cecile de France’s femme fatale, Monique - the intrepid adventurer sets off on his adventure, using land, sea and air.

Needless to say, things don’t go according to plan, and it isn’t long before Fogg and co find the bet (and their lives) in jeopardy, courtesy of a host of celebrity cameos, featuring the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Cleese, Kathy Bates, Owen and Luke Wilson, Rob Schneider, Macy Gray, Mark Addy and Richard Branson!

Obstacles include a detective on their trail, who believes they may be responsible for a major bank robbery that was committed before they left, while locations include Paris, Turkey, India, China and the United States of America.

The film is directed by Frank Coraci (of The Wedding Singer and Waterboy fame), from a screenplay by David Titcher and David Benullo. It is due to open on July 9.

Early word, based on trailers, is extremely cautious, and it remains to be seen whether the cameos serve as the film’s saving grace, or hinder its progress.

But one of the most interesting stories to emerge from the shoot concerns Chan, who reportedly landed in hot water with Taiwanese officials for describing the recent election of President Chen Shui-bian as ‘the biggest joke in the world’.

The actor had been referring to reports of electoral irregularities, that had called the result into question, but they provoked the wrath of the Taiwanese Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), a representative of whom called for the actor's next film, Around The World, to be banned as a ‘punishment’.

Senior official, Parris Change, said: "We want to propose a motion at the legislature to ask the government to ban showings of Around the World in Eighty Days."

He also sought to have Chan banned from entering the country, and called for people to boycott the star’s home state of Hong Kong.

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