‘Ello everyone! The Tuxedo? More like The Tuxe-don’t!!!! No time to waste, I got BMT Theories to attend to:
- The Good – I am nearly always charmed by Jackie Chan. The ending was a solidly entertaining twist on a tired trope (the guy finally getting the girl he fawned over in the beginning, asll you need is confidence!). Some of the practical effects were genuinely impressive (if terrifying for a kids movie). The directing choices showed passion (this is becoming a theme)
- The Bad – The plot is linear but convoluted, so weird that it make suspension of disbelief nearly impossible. They utilize wire-work in such a way as to make me not enjoy the one thing I should be enjoying in a Jackie Chan film (martial arts), unbelievable and not fun same as in the Medallion. Hewitt was a bland sidekick (more on this later). The entirety of Jackie Chan pretending to be James Brown, the scene is a travesty to filmmaking in general. The directing choices are out of date (diagonal wipes for scene transitions? What is this, Star Wars?!).
- The BMT – Yes, although Jamie and I disagreed a bit on the exact level. If you recall the actual number is 50+ (amazing). Jamie thinks that is about right. I thought this was more like a 30-40. Really just bonkers crazy, but it ain’t no Medallion. Which brings me right to my game.
Welcome to BMT University and a new edition of BMT Theories where I give you a probably terrible theory on bad movies. Let’s roll out the main big budget Chan movies/franchises between ‘98 and ‘08: Rush Hour, Shanghai Noon, The Tuxedo, The Medallion, and Around the World in 80 Days. These all have three common denominators besides Jackie Chan. First, martial arts. Second, a kind of ridiculously convoluted plot. Third, a companion, someone who can make fun of how Jackie Chan looks, speaks, and is in general (comedy!).
My Theory: you can pretty much just rank these movies by the interest of the companion. Chris Tucker and Owen Wilson are a bit neck and neck, but I go Owen Wilson all day (and I like Shanghai Noon over Rush Hour, so there). After that we have The Tuxedo, Hewitt did an admirable (although overly silly/bland) job in the role. The Medallion had Lee Evens in a perpetual gay panic, so that was not a great look. And then Around the World in 80 Days had Steve Coogan sleepwalking around Epcot Center-level sets. Voila, it works!
I do think this movie was slightly better than The Medallion which is where the 30-40 BMeTric assessment comes in. I think The Medallion is 50+, but this one was saved slightly by Hewitt. I’m excited to see how the theory holds up with Spy Next Door where Jackie Chan is paired with three children.
As usual I allowed Patrick to tell the story of The Tuxedo to our loyal audience, while I concerned myself more with some of the underlying themes and characteristics that interest us in the BMTverse. Briefly I’ll say that I thought The Tuxedo was bonkers. A great BMT film. Really hacked to shit in editing, super odd pacing to a confounding story arc, and a scenery-eating antagonist extraordinaire. I liked it a lot. Some might disagree.
I’m tired of making up fake book adaptations. Instead, I’ll play a new game called BMysTeries. The Tuxedo provides a perfect opportunity for me to talk way too much about one of my favorite BMT subjects: the setting. I love settings. I find it fascinating to try to figure why particular films are set in particular places. Is it necessary that Chill Factor take place in Montana? Nope. Could have been Small Town, U.S.A., but they chose Montana. Why? Hard to say. But it’s easy to see why New Year’s Eve takes place in New York. Interestingly it’s rare for us to watch a film that doesn’t have an identifiable setting, and even rarer for a film to go out of its way to obscure where it takes place. The Tuxedo is one such film. How do I know it’s not set anywhere? Well whenever I watch a BMT film I always look for evidence pointing to where a film is set (I’m a weirdo): license plates on cars, landmarks, business cards, etc. In The Tuxedo every license plate was the same: “The Great State” listed on top, “Freedom” on the bottom. Additionally, the home address of one of the characters is shown explicitly on screen no less than three times. The state on the address? LI. A made up state abbreviation! Perhaps an underhanded way of implying Long Island = New York… but hard to say as the town names are all made up. You have to give the film credit for going all in on not having a setting. But why? It’s the question I’ve been asking myself all week. Why? Why is it important that the film have no setting? I could understand having fake license plates (cheaper?), but a fake state abbreviation doesn’t save anything (other than saving you from having to specify a setting). It’s a BMysTery. BMysTery #1: Why do settingless films not have a setting?
I will be researching this topic for future entries. Perhaps if I collect enough datapoints, I’ll be able to figure out the benefit that The Tuxedo gained being set in The Great State of LI. For now it’s a spooky mystery.