Around the World gassed up?


I’m neither expecting a first past the post or a damp squib from the upcoming “Around the world in 80 days” with Jackie Chan. As far as I’m concerned, it’ll be no different than your usual Chan fare –which isn’t a bad thing – and there are definitely worse remakes on the boil.

Today, your first look at the film [which the reviewer says is up there with "Shanghai Knights"], as well what some of the special cameo guests are up to in it…including Luke and Owen Wilson who reportedly had the time to make an appearance. Not that they’re not busy enough. Caution of the spoilers..

Honk Kong Entertainment News in Review took a look at the script for the film saying “Based on a reading of an early script for the film, the remake will be another solid but unspectacular success along the lines of Chan’s recent SHANGHAI KNIGHTS. In fact, much of AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS will be very reminscent of the modest Owen Wilson-Jackie Chan hit. Both are filled with slapstick fight and chase sequences, one-liners, sight gags and allusions to future historical figures. Just as SHANGHAI KNIGHTS referred to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Charlie Chaplin, AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS refers to, among others, John L. Sullivan, P.T. Barnum, the Wright Brothers, Hellcat Maggie of New York’s notorious Eastman gang, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Gaugin, Monet and — as a result of a frantic fight sequence in a Paris art gallery — the development of abstract painting.”

“Instead of a straight re-telling of Phileas Fogg’s adventures, the remake puts a new spin on an old story by focusing on Lau Xing (Jackie Chan) — a Chinese revolutionary out to stop a land-for-arms deal between a faction of the Ching government and the London Reform Club’s Lord Kelvin. Kelvin (Jim Broadbent) will ship arms to the embattled Ching government in exchange for the deeds to the jade-rich lands around the village of Lanzhou.

“The deeds are hidden inside of a Jade Buddha held in the vault of London’s Bank of England. As the movie begins, Lau Xing has just stolen the piece from the bank and is trying to avoid capture by British bobbies and agents from the Ching government. In a sequence that shows some inventive writing, Lau manages to find refuge by becoming Passepartout — the new Chinese-French valet for notorious British inventor and Reform Club member Phileas Fogg (Steve Coogan).

“Needing a way to get the Jade Buddha back to China, Lau/Passepartout orchestrates a bet between Kelvin and Fogg. If Phileas Fogg can get around the world in eighty days, he replaces Kelvin as the Head of the Reform Club and England’s Minister of Science. If Fogg fails, he has to give up inventing and must never set foot in the Reform Club again.

“With Ching government agents and one of Kelvin’s henchmen in pursuit, Fogg and Passepartout embark on their global journey by heading off for France. During a stopover in Paris, the two meet beautiful French artist Monique Degrauve (Cécile De France). Opposites attract as Fogg — the buttoned-down man of science — finds himself falling in love with the impressionist painter who likes to view reality through imagination. After Monique helps Fogg and Passepartout escape some Ching government agents, she insists on joining the expedition.

“Avoiding capture once again at the Tuileries Gardens and at Notre Dame Cathedral, the trio go to Italy to meet up with the Orient Express. The famous train takes them to Abu Dhabi where they encounter Captain Nemo and seek passage to China on board his submarine The Nautilus. Unfortunately, an encounter with three giant squids damages the submarine and forces Passepartout and company to travel to China through India.

“As India is a colony of Britain, Kelvin orders Gurkhas, British soldiers and paid assassins to stop Fogg and company. Kelvin’s efforts come to naught, however, as quick-thinking by Passepartout and Monique — with a little help from some locals and their elephants — get the group past the Taj Mahal, through Nepal and into China.

Back in his native land, Passepartout/Lau gets in touch with his old friend Wong Fei-Hung (Sammo Hung Kam-Bo) so that Wong can get the Jade Buddha to an Imperial tribunal that has been set up to determine the ownership of the lands around Lanzhou. Ching agents foil the plan when they capture “Passepartout and expose his identity as Lau Xing to Phileas Fogg. Feeling used and betrayed, Fogg leaves Lau to his fate and is determined to continue the journey alone. However, after he reflects on how Lau has been there for him time and again, Fogg decides to save Lau by teaming up with Wong Fei-Hung and the Ten Tigers of Guangdong.

“Through a combination of Fogg’s brains and the brawn of Wong and the Ten Tigers, Lau is rescued, the land-for-arms deal is thwarted and Lanzhou is returned to the people. With justice having been served, Fogg and company pass by the Great Wall of China on their way to America.

“Arriving in San Francisco, the trio marvel at the cable cars before boarding a train that takes them through to New York City. Along the way, they have passing encounters with the Wright Brothers (Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson) and Thomas Edison. Since the United States are no longer under British control, Lord Kelvin cannot use his political influence to hinder Fogg’s progess. Instead, Kelvin uses his criminal influence with New York’s Eastman gang to have Fogg robbed of all his money.

The Rest of the Review is rather spoilerish…but read on if you will

“Penniless, Fogg, Lau and Monique have no way to get back to London. Luckily, Madison Square Garden is having its grand opening with an event promoted by P.T. Barnum — $1,000 to any man who can last four rounds with boxing champion J.L. Sullivan. Seizing the opportunity, martial arts master Lau gets in the ring with the champ. In an entertaining match that sees Lau "invent" modern boxing by showing Sullivan that it does not have to be limited to the traditional but inefficient underhand-style of the Marquees of Queensbury, Lau survives the fight and gets enough money to buy steamship tickets back to London.

“Chugging their way across the Atlantic Ocean, Fogg and company soon realize that they will not make it back to London in time so they furiously set about building Fogg’s flying machine using material found on the steamship. Traveling by air, the heroes make it back to London with a day to spare. Lord Kelvin gets his comeuppance when Queen Victoria (Kathy Bates) — who shows up to see Fogg at the finish line — discovers his evil deeds. A victorious Fogg kisses Monique and Lau looks for a way back to China. The End.

“Jackie Chan’s character is definitely the one who carries the story. Second, this review is based on an early draft of the script. Given that it has undergone at least one further revision and that Jackie Chan likes to invent action sequences on the fly, the movie will certainly unfold differently from what has been written here. Last, I want to thank the person who sent me the script for giving me the opportunity to get a sneak peek at this Jackie Chan project and for allowing me to share it with all of you.”