Back in 2000, Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson teamed up together for Shanghai Noon, a different, more comedic kind of Western adventure. Following the first movie's success both critically and commercially, the actors re-teamed in 2003 for Shanghai Knights, but this didn't fare quite as well as its predecessor. 13 years later, it looks like that the previously-shelved third Shanghai movie is finally making some significant progress after being announced last year, as news just broke that it will be helmed by Napoleon Dynamite director Jared Hess
Hess' involvement in the third Shanghai movie, titled Shanghai Dawn, was reported by Variety earlier today. Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson are also in negotiations to reprise their respective characters. After all, unless you go the reboot route, a Shanghai movie just doesn't have the same appeal without those two. No plot details were revealed, but Miles Millar and Alfred Gough, the writers of the previous two Shanghai movies, came up with the story, while Theodore Riley and Aaron Buchsbaum are writing the script.
Taking the beloved buddy cop movie genre into the American West and mixing in kung fu action, Shanghai Noon followed the unexpected partnership of Jackie Chan's Chon Wang and Owen Wilson's Roy O'Bannon. When the Chinese princess Pei-Pei is kidnapped in 1881, Wang comes to the United States with three Imperial guards to track her down. He soon gets involved with Roy, an outlaw, and after a series of coincidences and shenanigans (you know, the usual comedy fare), they become friends and work together to save Pei-Pei. Shanghai Knights brought this unlikely duo back together for an adventure in London, England, where they assisted Wang's sister in tracking down the man who killed her and Wang's father.
As Zoolander 2 reaffirmed earlier this year, it's difficult for comedy sequels released many years later to impress audiences, so Shanghai Dawn definitely faces an uphill battle, especially since the previous two movies aren't exactly cult classics. Assuming Wang and Roy's lives have progressed in real time, that means that the third movie would take place around 1900, the very beginning of the 20th century. With the time period covered, now we're wondering if they will stay in the United States or venture to another country to inadvertently cause chaos.
Following Napoleon Dynamite's success in 2004, Jared Hess' directorial projects have included Nacho Libre, Gentleman Broncos, Don Verdean and the upcoming Masterminds. He is also set to helm the big Nicktoons movie, but depending on when that ends up being released first, Shanghai Dawn could be Hess' first big blockbuster venture.
No release date has been assigned for Shanghai Dawn yet, but we'll keep you updated on the movie's progress as more relevant information comes in. Let us know what you think of a Shanghai threequel and its director in the comments below.