ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  kevin donovan

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  kung-fu

LENGTH  -  99 minutes

RELEASED  -  27 september 2002

DISTRIBUTOR  -  dreamworks pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  the tuxedo

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $60,000,000
the tuxedo - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from the tuxedo at

buy the dvd from the tuxedo at

a hapless chauffer must take an incapacitated secret agent's place using his special gadget-laden tuxedo.

this movie jumped around to 6 different release dates in 2002.


picture from the tuxedo

picture from the tuxedo

picture from the tuxedo


one out of four possible stars

The Tuxedo is a Jackie Chan movie through and through. It strains believability, has some laughable dialogue, and makes viewers wonder: who cast Jennifer Love Hewitt as Chan's love interest? When Hewitt swings Chan around in a horizontal circle, knocking down countless bad guys in a strange gravity-defying stunt, it's obvious to any viewer that this movie leaps beyond credibility. But as The Tuxedo is a Jackie Chan movie, suspending one's disbelief is something in which his fans are already experts.

If one were to analyze this movie strictly on the merits of it being a Hong Kong chop-socky import, The Tuxedo delivers most of what it should. There's comedy, great action sequences, and a plot that has only a mild impact on the story. Jackie Chan is infinitely likeable and is in top form during the action sequences when he deftly combines humor with martial arts. Using any excuse to throw his hands up and start fighting, this film has more than its share of chops, slaps, and punches. Which is fortunate for viewers, because the downtime is where this film suffers.

The story is intriguing at face value, but up on the screen, there are some gaping holes and the story even becomes ludicrous in spots. As a bumbling taxi driver who is recruited to be the driver of a secret agent, the film injects a lot of enthusiasm into the scenes where Jackie Chan is on the screen. But the resident evil of this film, a stereotypical Englishman who wants to destroy the world's water supplies in order to pump up his own bottled water sales, is a strange part of the plot, to say the least. It might have been smarter for the screenwriter to make up a more believable scenario, rather than create this weird bottled water tycoon character.

And while Ritchie Coster's performance cannot be faulted, his character's strategy smacks of a farce. Though it is possible to blame the filmmakers for not using Peter Stormare's hilarious and crazy "Dr. Simms." enough. It is probably better to focus solely on Jackie Chan's martial arts scenes, as the rest of the movie becomes laughable when it shouldn't. And annoying in parts as well. Having a varied career in both dramatic and comedic roles, Jennifer Love Hewitt has proven that she has talent for acting. But her pairing with Chan in this film takes some getting used to. Her character might be well-dressed, but her dialogue is often the most unbelievable part of the film.

For example, in one scene, Jennifer's character, "Del Blaine," is completely oblivious to a fight going on right behind her between Chan and a bevy of bad guys. She eventually gets the clue that her partner is getting beaten around a mere five feet away, but not before she hollers several epithets at Chan in a very tinny annoying voice. The set-up for that scene is quite standard, but in this film it's just too hard to believe it could actually happen. And that sentiment is probably the root of this film's problems. While Chan is known for silly action movies, The Tuxedo is sillier than most.

His 2001 hit, Rush Hour 2, was just as funny (probably more so), but was much more believable. Perhaps it was that film's adhering to the same hallmarks of action films that came before it, but even though Chris Tucker had a loud voice throughout much of that film, it was still an experience that was easy to sit back and enjoy. The chemistry between Tucker and Chan was no doubt one of the high points in that movie, and perhaps an in sync cast is what makes a Jackie Chan movie click. Perhaps The Tuxedo is what happens when filmmakers rely too much on Chan's antics and ignore the finer points of movie making.

Like story and casting. It is interesting to note, but when the story of a Jackie Chan movie is standard and familiar, it is much more easy to ignore it and focus on the chop socky fun. But with the absurd nature of the plot, figuring out why the screenwriter wrote what he wrote takes up too much brainpower. Other elements of the film, like cinematography and music, were, thankfully, more standard, and while they were not groundbreaking, the director of photography and the composer completed their jobs competently. The editing was also clear and concise and allowed the action on the screen to take center stage.

Many of the scenes were edited together with a focus on allowing Chan to complete his martial arts moves "in camera," so seeing Chan actually perform complete stunts himself was entertaining. And probably the best part of the film. The list of assets for this film is short, so it probably serves best as a film made specifically for fans of Jackie Chan. While some of his earlier films have had cross-generational appeal, The Tuxedo is a more standard Chan actioner. Chan, as usual, is entertaining and funny, but the characters and story that surround him are questionable.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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