Retro Review: The Tuxedo

Written: October 5, 2002

“The suit makes the Chan” was really the only thing that popped into my mind as I exited from seeing the new Jackie Chan movie, “The Tuxedo”.

The film stars Chan as Jimmy Tong, a taxi driver who is hired by a reclusive billionaire, Clark Devlin (Jason Isaacs of “The Patriot”). Jimmy and his new benefactor become fast friends and develop a strong relationship. Jimmy learns his master isn’t all that he leads on and it all centers on his illustrious “tuxedo”.

When Devlin is taken out of commission, Jimmy must unlock the secret of his master’s tuxedo, team-up with a rookie secret agent (Jennifer Love Hewitt), and stop a sinister CEO (Ritchie Coster). 

“The Tuxedo” was a very surprising comedy for this critic. I was a little scared that it was just going to be a grown-up version of “Inspector Gadget” or worse yet another “Master of Disguise”. Instead the film was quite funny and Chan was surprisingly the main focus of the film not the effects.

The effects surrounding the tuxedo were done with a lot comedic timing, which accented Jackie’s martial arts techniques. I did have problems in the last quarter of the film where the tuxedo actions seemed a lot like a cartoon.

The interactions between Isaacs and Chan reminded me very fondly of the sixties TV show, “The Green Hornet”. Scenes would often involve the Green Hornet and his chauffeur sidekick Kato having similar discussions while dashing off to thwart an enemy in the “Black Beauty”. If that feature film remake of that series ever gets off the ground Chan has my vote as Kato. In the original series, the late martial arts master Bruce Lee played Kato. I also think Greg Kinnear should be the Hornet. What do you think?

Jennifer Love Hewitt continues to grow as a screen actress and “The Tuxedo” is great follow-up her hilarious performance in last year’s “Heartbreakers”. I think Hewitt has a lot of great potential if she would focus on taking more risky parts in the future.

The biggest disappointment with “Tuxedo” was that the film needed a stronger villain with a more diabolical plot. Actor Ritchie Coster does a decent job with the villain except he comes off as more creepy or odd than fiendish or devious. The villain needed to be fiercer and have a scheme that was more relatable.

I was surprised at how much “Tuxedo” made me smile. Jackie Chan continues his knack for finding good vehicles to continue his ever-expanding career.

(3.5 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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