Movie Review by Neils Hesse
Starring: Jackie Chan, Steve Coogan, Robert Fyfe, Jim Broadbent, Ian McNeice
Director: Frank Coraci
The exploits of Phileas Fogg are revisited once again in this remake of the original film that had David Niven in the starring role in 1956. An elaborate escape from the Bank of England starts this film off with much promise as Passepartout (Jackie Chan) on the run and with nowhere to hide ends up stumbling into the great inventor Phileas Fogg’s (Steve Coogan) very own backyard wherein he unwittingly becomes Mr Fogg’s valet.
Phileas Fogg is unaware that his valet is also the man the authorities are after for a robbery at the Bank of England. These two unlikely partners become close as Fogg is drawn into standing up to a challenge from the nasty Lord Kelvin (Jim Broadbent) to circumvent the globe in 80 days. Passepartout, who has his own reasons for wanting Fogg to accept the challenge, encourages him into actually attempting to do it.
On their first stop they take on a lovely girl Monique (Cecile de France), who is in many ways is very similar to Phileas Fogg as she proves to be quite a radical thinker as well. Lord Kelvin sends his henchmen to stop Fogg and his crew because if Fogg were to succeed then he would take over Lord Kelvin’s post as head of the Royal Academy of Science and he would thus finally get recognition for being an inventor. In addition to this Passepartout just happens to have something that the henchmen are very interested in.
This film aims to mould historical characters with fiction, action, adventure and quirky special effects. Everybody from Wong Fei Hung (a legendary Chinese folk hero) to the Wright Brothers is represented by an array of stars including Arnold Schwarzenegger who gives a very good comedic performance by making fun of his image.
Steve Coogan and Jackie Chan are outstanding but the screenplay lets them down as it tries to be historical action and adventure and consequently fails to achieve this as well as it could have.
Despite this it is still a good, entertaining film for all the family but the poor utilisation of the fantastic talent in the leading cast is somewhat of a disappointment.