Crossover Film: Shanghai Noon

The globalisation of the film industry today has resulted in the proliferation of a type of cinema called crossover cinema. Crossover cinema is described as being able to rise above genre, audience, and cultural borders by Khorana (2013 p. 3) who also says that it is the point where the formation and production of crossover films lead to a hybridity of cultures and wide viewer appeal (pp. 4-5). This wide viewer appeal is an important part of cross-over cinema as the film needs to present a range of cultural affiliations so that it appeals to many audiences and not just a western audience (Khorana 2013 p. 6). I propose that such a movie would include kung fu western Shanghai Noon by American director Tom Dey. I believe Shanghai Noon to be an example of crossover film because it appeals to a broader audience by presenting a primarily western film with eastern cultural overtones and techniques used in eastern films such as extended martial arts scenes. In this way, not only does Shanghai Noon appeal to a western audience, but also an eastern audience which it further achieves by placing familiar elements into new contexts. Other elements that make this a crossover film include traditional eastern garb, the use of Chinese language, and the use of Chinese cultural codes such as when Jackie Chan’s character, Wang, is taken to a barber shop and Owen Wilson’s character, Roy, tells the barber to cut off Wang’s plait to which Wang refuses as he says without it he would never be able to return to the Forbidden City in China. I would say that Shanghai Noon is an example of crossover cinema and hybridity as the eastern culture used in this American film is not appropriated by the west. This film instead portrays a primarily Chinese tale that crosses over to a western land where a mix of western and eastern cultures takes place.

References:

Khorana, S 2013, Crossover Cinema: A Genealogical and Conceptual Overview, Routledge, New York, pp. 01-18.

Shakefire, Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson from Shanghai Noon, Image, Shakefire, viewed 05 September 2014, http://shakefire.com/review/shanghai-noonshanghai-knights

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