The Tuxedo

A bad omen for any movie should be if it opens with a deer urinating into a stream, as The Tuxedo does. The Tuxedo is a Jackie Chan movie in name only, because the charismatic actor is the star. However, it is missing the charm and death-defying martial arts that differentiate Chan's movies from everybody else's. It's a telling sign that most of the traditional outtakes at the end are not from stunts, but from missed lines. As Chan has Hollywood-ized himself, he seems to be moving away from his older style and more towards acting. It's no secret that there is no plot in most Jackie Chan movies. People go to see him do his own stunts. So take away the stunts like he does here, and all that remains is a bad movie. Not only are his scripts usually bad, but Chan has never been much of an actor.

All of his weakness show here, as Chan (Rush Hour 2, Shanghai Noon) plays Jimmy Tong, a cab driver who accidentally becomes a spy with the help of a tuxedo filled with spiffy hardware. His boss, Clark Devlin (Jason Isaacs, Windtalkers, Resident Evil) owns the tux, and is injured when somebody bombs the car Tong is driving Devlin in. For flimsy reasons, Tong dons the tux and begins impersonating Devlin. He wants to discover who hurt his boss, yet finds himself caught up in some scheme to take over the world's water supply. In all American Chan movies, the makers feel the need to pair him with a non-Asian star, probably to play on the cultural gap and to help draw other audiences. The lucky person here is Jennifer Love Hewitt (Heartbreakers, The Suburbans) as Del Blaine, a rookie agent who gets no respect. The two go after Diedrich Banning (Rich Coster, 15 Minutes, Bait) in a completely convoluted plot that is pointless to explain.

Phil Hay (crazy/beautiful), Matt Manfredi (Bug, crazy/beautiful), and Michael J. Wilson (Ice Age) wrote the story while Wilson and Michael Leeson (I.Q., What Planet Are You From?) wrote the screenplay. Yet, all that these people could come up with are lame jokes and some crude humor. Does anybody aside from director Peter Donovan think that people would rather see Chan sing James Brown than fight? One can really feel the absence of fighting here. And the fights that do make it are not that interesting. Chan's appeal comes from the fact that he does all his own stunts. In The Tuxedo, for the first time, he has a lot of help from wires and such. Even so, the stunts look fake and even less impressive than they would be otherwise. Needless to say, Chan is not convincing as somebody trying to be a spy, and Hewitt is less convincing as a Blaine.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 36 minutes, Rated PG-13 for action violence, sexual content, and language.

Back to Movies