I watched The Tuxedo last night. It was everything I thought it would be; I can take consolation in the fact that I didn’t pay the rental fee.
The story, loosely defined even for a Jackie Chan flick, centers around a miraculous piece of technology: the eponymous tuxedo. “Wait a second,” you ask. “A tuxedo isn’t a miraculous piece of technology.” In this movie, though, the government has spent over a billion dollars to construct a tuxedo that enables the wearer to do any number of maneuvers accessed by a select list on the accompanying digital watch. On second thought, that sounds exactly like something the CIA, the military, or Congress would spend a billion dollars on. I guess the story has a realism I hadn’t initially suspected.
This tuxedo also has the ability to practically anticipate what the wearer would have picked from the list on the watch, apparently, because there are several (maybe two dozen) instances where Jackie didn’t even look at the watch. It also has some default moves, like the whirlwind lighter grab it does whenever a cigarette approaches anyone’s lips within some range. Darn, I’m losing sight of the plot; I’m not alone here, though, because the screenwriters did as well.
Back to the story, Jimmy Tong (referred to several times as Tong, James Tong—groan!) is an ersatz secret agent when the super spy he was chauffeuring gets injured by a skateboard bomb—don’t ask, please. He discovers that this super spy is mostly a handsome guy with a great wardrobe, if you get my drift. With super spy out of the picture, Tong dons the duds and does the deeds along with his junior partner Del Blaine, played by Jennifer Love Hewitt. She being the super forensic physicist that she is, she realizes that Tong isn’t the super spy Clark Devlin like she thought for the first two-thirds of the movie and removes his tux in preparation for the climactic fight scene. Of course, she gives the super villain the tuxedo and the government luckily had some mad scientist/tailor make a duplicate so they could fight.
I could, at this point, tell you what the supervillain’s world-domination plot is but I’ve completely lost interest in describing the story. I’d instead like to focus on a disturbing trend: Jackie Chan still thinks he’s a stunt man/martial arts guy. The man is almost fifty years old and has an amazing corpus of work—I wish he’d stop trying for these kinds of movies and branch out. His Keatonesque comedy would work well in any number of non-action movies, but he seems timid in spreading out. The Tuxedo uses so many enhancements that the fight scenes are positively painful to watch for a Jackie Chan aficionado like myself. I almost turned it off several times because it was so bad.
But I’m a trooper of a reviewer and I braved the movie for your benefit, dear reader. The psychic damage is hopefully only temporary. If you’re a Jackie Chan-head, don’t watch this movie—it’s borderline travesty. If you’re not a Jackie Chan fan, don’t watch this movie—you’ll regret it. If you’re on the fence about Jackie Chan (Hi, Dad!), don’t watch this movie—go watch Who Am I or even Cannonball Run for that matter.
Side note about Jennifer Love Hewitt: She is a beautiful actress. She might even be a good actress. I wouldn’t know because she stars in such dreck. C’mon, even Denise Richards picks better movies than you!