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THE TUXEDO

Review by Ruth E. Ferguson

Stars:  Jackie Chan, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jason Isaacs, and Ritchie Coster
Director:  Kevin Donovan
Audio: 
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 [CC], ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Surround [CC], ENGLISH: DTS 5.1 [CC], FRENCH: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video:  Widescreen 1.85:1 Color (Anamorphic)
Studio:  Dreamworks

Features: See Review
Length:  99 Minutes
Release Date:  February 25, 2003
 

Film ***

Over the last few years, Jackie Chan has had a great deal of success in American comedies with the Shanghai and Rush Hour franchises.  Those films featured him as a sidekick to an American actor.  DreamWorks’ The Tuxedo offered Chan the opportunity to headline a movie for a change.  He is partnered with Jennifer Love Hewitt to help protect the American water supply from Diedrich Banning’s (Ritchie Coster) terrorist plot.

Jimmy Tong is selected to be a chauffer for Charles Devlin, a spy, for $2,000 a month, plus room and board.  Of course, Tong leaps at the chance, but once the ice is broken between Tong and Devlin an assassination attempt leaves Tong to go undercover in Devlin’s place.  He is partnered with Del Blaine (Hewitt) who is on her first field assignment and she initially believes Tong is Devlin.  But Tong’s true partner is Devlin’s tuxedo and watch.  When Tong or Devlin wear the suit with the touch of a button the wearer is able to defy gravity, dance and sing like James Brown, beat up ten men whatever they require to successfully complete the mission.

The opening sequence at first glance is lovely, then off-putting until you get the joke.  The key to the film’s plot is water, so first there is this beautiful waterfall and then an animal drinking from the stream, suddenly the beast urinates in the stream, then you watch the water flow through the process of becoming fresh from wherever bottled water.

The Tuxedo was tailored (pun intended) to fit Chan’s talents of light comedy and physical skills.  Chan has been quoted recently about the fact that has he ages, 50 is looming, to sustain his career he must find success in films that do not hinge totally on his martial arts capabilities.  Hopefully, Chan will get another chance.  There is no particular chemistry between Chan and Hewitt, they closest they come to chemistry is Hewitt pouting in moments of jealousy.

Video ***

The film is shown in anamorphic widescreen 1.85:1.   The transfer is crisp and clear with a low-key color scheme of grays and blues in many scenes.

Audio ***

The audio track is fine…there are few times that it is a little unclear what Chan is saying, but then again, that is part of the charm of Chan’s films, so it is probably intended.  Otherwise for a spy flick, it is comparatively quiet, just one or two explosions and they come through loud and clear.  You have a choice of English tracks in Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital Surround, DTS 5.1, or French Dolby Digital 5.1.  You can also choose subtitles in Spanish or French.

Features ** ˝

The extras include the standard trailer, deleted and extended scenes, cast bios, and production notes.  The HBO Tailor Made for Jackie Chan discusses how this film was designed to highlight Chan’s unique talents and showcase his humor in more than a sidekick role.  Hewitt discuss how Chan helped her with the fight scenes and she returned the favor by helping him to learn to dance.  As with any Chan film, the outtakes are available and funny.

Summary:

Chan’s dancing antics and the tricks with the Tuxedo are entertaining, but this is no Rush Hour film. The Tuxedo, rated PG-13 did not overwhelm the box office, but it is a cute film, certainly worth a Friday night rental.