The Tuxedo
Grade: D-
Year: 2002
Director: Kevin Donovan
Writer: Phil Hay
Genre: Action
Rated: PG-13

Jimmy Tong (Jackie Chan) is a shy and quiet taxi driver who doesn't have it in him to ask out the girl he has been interested in. But he does get recruited by the CSA, a fictional division of the federal government who purpose is to foil terrorist plots. He was noticed by an agent because of his insane driving abilities that get his customers to any destination in New York City within minutes. He has a front page story done on him titled, "The Fast and the Curious?" I did not laugh.

He was recruited to be Clark Devlin's (Jason Isaacs) personal driver. Devlin is the CSA top cop who owns a tuxedo that gives him superhero-like abilities, not limited to expert dancing and professional singing. But a skateboard bomb; yes, a skateboard bomb, immobilizes Devlin, who then gives Tong the responsibility of wearing the tuxedo and to foil the plot of the evil Diedrich Banning (Ritchie Coster).

Banning's plan is to poison the world's water supply via some type of agent that I won't reveal, because that would answer the one question that the CSA can't seem to answer, thus spoiling your movie experience. The poison is a dehydrating agent that turns the drinker into dust. After ruining the reservoirs, the world will have to turn to Banning for his safe-pure water, giving him a monopoly and all of the profits. Of course for his plan to work, he will have to avoid arrest and assassination. But I guess that is what underground lairs are for.

What I don't understand, is how does Banning obtain a monopoly over the bottled water industry? Can't people just drink Zephyrhills? Because if their springs can be contaminated, wouldn't everyone on Earth be dead before Banning can rule the water world? Anyway, back to our hero.

Tong is paired with Delilah 'Del' Blaine, (Jennifer Love Hewitt) an annoying, sinister female who appears to be suffering from withdrawal, not having been in a shopping mall within the last couple of days. She is an expert scientist, who must be smart to carry that title, but not smart enough to realize that the word Devlin isn't derived from China. She thinks Tong is Devlin the entire time, but I'll let that slide. What I won't let slide is how she never knew his Tuxedo had special powers. For example, she got extremely mad when Tong/Devlin fell many stories from the top of a very tall building. But she didn't get mad that he fell, or wasn't the least bit concerned for his safety, but because he pulled her ring off her finger. Then when Tong/Devlin shows up later magically unharmed to return her ring, there are no questions. Yet at the end of the film, she shouts, "You can walk on water?!?"

I watched The Tuxedo because I know Jackie Chan is an excellent acrobat at martial arts. But he is static, never changing roles; always Mr. Nice Guy (also a title of one of his movies) but for the most part, is entertaining to watch. But not this time. He plays a character who is naturally a bumbling idiot before wearing the suit. He defends his klutzy nature saying, "Not all Chinese are Bruce Lee."

Anybody who has followed Chan from his days of knowing no English will be severely disappointed at the lack of martial arts in The Tuxedo. Almost everything is computer enhanced, which takes all the fun away from Chan, who can pull off really impressive stunts. There are a lack of henchman for Chan to fight off, which may be a reason why he never gets the chance to go Crouching Tiger style. Or maybe because he never has time, always fending off the bickering from Love Hewitt's character. But even the few computer enhanced combat sequences were poorly done, about as effective as it would have been to suspend Chan from invisible strings.

Roger Ebert said it best when he noted that in the closing credits, when the bloopers are rolling, you are shown scenes of Chan laughing or missing his dialogue, not missing the bridge or falling off the scaffold. If you want to see Chan 'miss' stuff, "Rumble in the Bronx" is a perfect showcase of his abilities and his misfortunes.

The ending is as predicable as predictable endings come. At one point, two tuxedos are introduced into this train wreck, and somewhere along the lines; Love Hewitt gets jealous because she isn't the girl Chan is working on.

One of the climaxing lines is, "Aqua La Vista, Baby." I'll let you determine how clever that line is for yourself. The Tuxedo is by no means a film for intellectuals, but one that I may have enjoyed back when I was 13. Your kids may like it, but make sure you don't walk into this one with them.

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Copyright 2002. All rights reserved. Contact Editor: Scott Spicciati