After years of fruitless knocking on Hollywood's door, Jackie Chan finally made it in by teaming up with Chris Tucker (on Rush Hour) and Owen Wilson (on Shanghai Noon). But the jury's still out on whether the Hong Kong icon can open a film without the benefit of a wisecracking, non-Asian co-star. In spite of a respectable opening weekend in the States, it's unlikely the public will be convinced either way by this dopey spy caper.
Jackie plays Jimmy Tong, a mild-mannered cabbie hired to chauffeur millionaire-cum-secret agent Clark Devlin (Jason Isaacs). There's only one condition: Jimmy should never don his employer's prized tuxedo. It's only a matter of time before our hero tries it on for size, only to discover it's a state-of-the-art gizmo that gives the wearer the power to do just about anything.
Since Jackie Chan can do just about anything, there's a limit to how interesting director Kevin Donovan can make his Spy Kids premise. What it does do is give his star an excuse to try hishand at the kind of wire-assisted chopsocky employed by Yuen Woo-ping of Matrix fame. The problem is we're so used to seeing Chan do it for real, we feel cheated when he fakes it.
And that's not the only problem. As Chan's sidekick, Jennifer Love Hewitt bewilderingly spends the entire film in a strop. 007 references abound ("The name's Tong - James Tong!").
A James Brown cameo is only there to enable Jackie to warble `Sex Machine' in his own inimitable (tuneless) style.
An ersatz Bond that's as authentic as its New York (read Toronto) locations, The Tuxedo is singularly ill-suited to its star's singular talents. One thing's for sure - Jackie needs a new tailor. And maybe even a new agent.