On the off chance, you have never been exposed to eastern vs western stereotypes, you need to see this movie. Most of us know what the stereotypes are, but for those of us lucky to not have grown up on that nonsense, let this movie take you back to the 80s, okay, 90s, where you can laugh at the good natured way people from different cultures can mess with one another. There’s maybe a baby out there that hasn’t seen this yet. One of the comedy bits that I’m tired of is when someone who didn’t grow up in the west like Jackie Chan turns out to be – surprise, surprise – a fan of western pop music. Maybe they did this gag again in case we missed it all the other times it was done including The Interview last year, where a sprightly Kim Jong-un adored Katy Perry and her song “Firework.” (A beta version of this joke is in 48 Hours when Eddie Murphy’s ex-convict sings The Police’s “Roxanne”) There’s other tropes for you: these guys are on opposite sides of the law, one is jokester and one is serious, and they have complimentary skill sets if they could just learn to get along!
To be fair, the action comedy buddy movies is a fun genre if done right, and we’ve seen it done right enough times (Midnight Run, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Bad Boys), that the buddy comedy, while less prevalent, still has appeal. I mean, this movie stormed the box office in China a couple weeks ago. And despite the fact that this movie looks derivative as derivative can be, I want to say something nice about it. Jackie Chan and Johnny Knoxville appear to have good chemistry together. Seriously. Sometimes that’s all you need. Two likable enough guys throwing down, confronting their limitations, and learning the meaning of friendship, I mean, does that ever get old? Well… Does Jackie Chan get old? I mean, look at him, he hasn’t aged a day. It’s debatable, let’s agree on that. We’re going to have to watch this movie and decide together as a family whether we like it.