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Good Cop, Bad Cop, Buddy-Cop

"Shanghai Knights" is the new buddy-cop movie archetype. Which may signal something good about America and globalization.

11:00 PM, Feb 6, 2003 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
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The other saving grace is Owen Wilson's presence. Wilson is the unlikeliest of leading men--a weird, off-kilter, not-terribly-good-looking writer who has turned into a bankable movie star. In the last three years Wilson has turned in a string of winning, left-field performances: as a wealthy, lascivious born-again Christian in "Meet the Parents," as a bumbling outlaw in "Shanghai Noon," as the anti-Cruise naval aviator in "Behind Enemy Lines," and, most impressively, as a best-selling novelist and community college professor in "The Royal Tenenbaums" (which, if you haven't seen it, shame on you; rent it tonight).

Wilson often walks the edge between being charming and annoying, and he does so again in "Shanghai Knights." Yet every time you fear a misstep, his good nature shines through and he does or says something twice as clever as his role deserves.

The same can be said for "Shanghai Knights."

Jonathan V. Last is online editor of The Weekly Standard.