World Romp Free of Pomp

Austin Chronicle | June 21, 2004
This remake of the 1956 multi-Academy Award winner is so much better than it has any right to be. Based on the Jules Verne novel, the story this time has been adapted to highlight the unique attributes of Jackie Chan, who has struggled since leaving Hong Kong to find a leading-man persona in Hollywood that is equal to his fame and dominance abroad. In Around the World in 80 Days, Chan may have found his rebound vehicle. Verne’s period story is tweaked to make Chan’s valet Passepartout an equal lead with Coogan’s daffy inventor Phileas Fogg, and the film pauses frequently for Chan’s martial-arts fights amid inventive set-pieces. Cameos by Kathy Bates, Luke and Owen Wilson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Cleese, Macy Gray, and Rob Schneider abound. Around the World in 80 Days is a true family film, in the best sense of the term.

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