Movie Review
Around the World in 80 Days
Around...80 Days poster
By Gareth Von Kallenbach     Published June 17, 2004
US Release: June 16, 2004

Directed by: Frank Coraci
Starring: Jackie Chan , Steve Coogan , Cécile De France , Jim Broadbent

Running Time: 120 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $24,004,000
Disney was aiming for a family film and this may disappoint many of Chan?s hardcore fans, as he is very restrained.
In the timeless Hollywood axiom of ?what was once old is now new,? Walt Disney Studios has updated the classic Jules Verne tale, ?Around the World in 80 Days?, as a Jackie Chan vehicle aimed at the family audience. Chan stars as Passepartout/Lau Xing, a warrior from a small Chinese village who is looking to recover a stolen jade idol that will ensure protection and prosperity for his people. Unfortunately the idol is in the custody of the National Bank of England, and when Lau Xing recovers the stolen statue at the opening of the film he becomes the most wanted man in England.

On the run from authorities, Xing stumbles upon the residence of the eccentric scientist Phileas Fogg (Steve Coogan), and in no time becomes his valet, assisting him in all manners of his crazy inventions. Fogg is an outcast in the scientific community, as he believes that man will soon harness flight and powered vehicles, which in 1872 England is amount to heresy.

In a moment of uncharacteristic bravado, Fogg places a wager that he can travel around the world in 80 days. His peers scoff at the notion but a wager is made that should Fogg complete this attempt, he will be given the head of the scientific society. Should he be unable to complete his travels in the allotted time, Fogg must then leave the scientific community and never create another invention again. In no time, Fogg and Passepartout are in Paris where they meet an aspiring artist named Monique (Cecile De France) who accompanies them on their journey hoping to gain artistic inspiration in distant lands.

Naturally there are those who do not want Fogg to complete his trip and have hired an investigator named Fixx (Ewen Bremmer) to stop Fogg at all costs. Far more dangerous is General Fang (Karen Mok) and her forces, as they are determined to use lethal force to recover the Idol from Passepartout who has kept its existence and his true identity from Fogg. All manners of adventures befall the cast as they race against time to win the bet and save the day for the people of Passepartout?s village.

There are some nice moments in the film but the action sequences are far too subdued for a Chan film. Disney was aiming for a family film and this may disappoint many of Chan?s hardcore fans, as he is very restrained. And worse yet, the trademark Chan outtakes are missing from the end credits which are often as entertaining as the very stunts themselves. Regardless, the movie does have some nice moments and some great cameos. The standout performance would be Arnold Schwarzenegger, who dons a crazy curly wig and satirizes his onscreen persona by playing a silly, vain prince who has designs on Monique.

While not as exciting as Chan?s earlier work, this film works well for children and younger viewers. Older fans of Chan are likely to be disappointed with the comparative lack of action and stunt work and the cookie cutter plot. For mindless summer escapism, 80 Days is a trip that will delight younger viewers and will not put the parents who take them in too much pain.
Gareth's Grade: C+
Gareth's Overall Grading: 50 graded movies
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'Around...80 Days' Articles
  • Craig's review C
    July 2, 2004    There is very little here that will have anyone over the age of 10 enthused. -- Craig Younkin