Ho-hum com-fu falls flat

2010-02-08 00:00

THE king of com-fu must have caused some serious injury to his funnybone during a stunt somewhere along the line.

There was a time when Jackie Chan’s blend of kung fu and comedy left the masses in stitches, but his latest offerings pack far too little punch to do any damage at the box-office.

In his latest release, S py Next Door, Chan plays Bob Ho, a spy on the verge of retirement who is dating a single mother of three.

Just when it seems that he is able to lead a normal life with his girlfriend and her kids, his past catches up with him, launching us into the next 40 minutes of ridiculously impossible kung fu stunts and a few flat jokes here and there.

It is hard to understand where Chan’s once-winning formula went wrong.

I guess we’ve seen it once too often. Eventually all of his stunts start to look the same, and on top of that he seems to play the same character in every movie (you know, the goody-two-shoes Chinese guy who switches from goofball to black-belted martial artist in 0,3 seconds flat).

Or maybe, in the case of this film, it is the idea of a spy looking after a bunch of kids that has been done to death.

Heck, someone should have reminded Chan about Vin Diesel’s 2005 box-office flop, The Pacifier.

Or could it be that Jackie Chan is just not as funny as we are led to believe?

Think about it. In movies like Rush Hour, which raked in millions at the time of its release, Chan had comedy heavyweights like Chris Tucker at his side. Could it be that all the time we’ve been laughing at the actual comedians and not at Chan?

Although sitcom funnyman George Lopez features in this one, he is actually only around for fewer than 10 minutes of screen time. I guess that the fact that he even featured in the film was the joke.

Whatever it may be, this film makes it clear that Chan’s movies need a bit more clout to knock out the competition at the box-office. *

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