The Tuxedo Review
By Shawn McKenzie 10/02/2002
Jackie Chan’s latest movie, The Tuxedo, is a movie that is ripe for mainstream critics to rip apart. I’m not going to be one of those critics, because unlike the other guys, I knew what I was getting into when I went into the theater.
The Tuxedo is the story of Jimmy Tong (Chan), a cab driver with a bit of a lead foot. He has gotten several traffic tickets for speeding, but he has never gotten into an accident. One day Steena (Debi Mazar), the assistant to Clark Devlin (Jason Isaacs), approaches him about a chauffeuring job. Devlin is a James Bond-like super spy, and is very suave. Steena is impressed with Tong’s creative driving skills and thinks he would be the perfect person to drive Devlin around, especially since he could drive Devlin out of trouble if need be. The problem is that trouble comes a little sooner than later. After Devlin is injured in an attempt on his life, Tong feels an obligation to his boss find out who set up the hit. He decides to don the tuxedo that gave Devlin most of his physical skills. Most of them involve fighting, but some of them are just useful skills, like being able to dance like James Brown. A wristwatch that goes with the tuxedo controls its actions. He is paired with a rookie spy named Del Blaine (Jennifer Love Hewitt), a very by-the-book type spy who is more intellectual than street-smart. She has fighting skills, but she hasn’t had many opportunities to use them yet. Blaine assumes that Tong is Devlin, and in order to find out what happened to Devlin, Tong doesn’t correct her. Going off the name Walter Strider, a name that Devlin tells Tong before he slips into unconsciousness, Tong and Blaine begin to investigate a businessman named Diedrich Banning (Ritchie Coster) and his connection to Strider. Banning has developed a drinking water that can dehydrate the person who drinks it, and the water could be used to conquer the world. A mad scientist named Dr. Simms (Peter Stormare), who is in the employ of Banning, created the water. Tong and Blaine must stop Banning and Simms from releasing these mosquito-like bugs from infecting the world’s water supply with this special water.
Unlike most critics, I knew this movie was going to be a goofy action movie. That is exactly what I got. Even though the movie relies more on special effects than on the lightening-fast moves Chan is famous for, The Tuxedo is a fun time at the movie. I will admit Hewitt is a little hard to believe as an action star, but she has such a charming personality that you can look past it. Besides, her stunt people were impressive in the few moments when her character had to fight.
I think if you keep in mind that you are not going to see a great work of art, but a cool action movie that makes you laugh, you will enjoy The Tuxedo. I doubt this will see itself on an Oscar ballot anytime soon, but it is a good way to burn off a boring afternoon at the matinee. Besides, I wouldn’t mind having a sweet monkey suit like that!
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