Mix the dizzy confusion of IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD with director Sammo Hung's kung-fu stylings and a mythical Chinese West complete with cowboy hats, clapboard towns, and steam locomotives and the result is SHANGHAI EXPRESS. At the center of the plot is a train loaded with wealthy passengers and a trio of Japanese hoping to smuggle an important document out of the country. The train becomes the target of a motley assortment of thieves, bandits, and ex-cons, each with their own get-rich-quick scheme. As the cops and criminals stumble over one another, the film marches steadily to its conclusion--an all-out, everyone-for-themselves battle royale. The cast is a who's who of Hong Kong comedians and stars, most associated with Golden Harvest studio. The martial arts sequences are top-notch (the acrobatic Yuen Biao nonchalantly jumps off a two-story building as if it's an everyday thing), and the plot is an object lesson in how Hong Kong directors can borrow from Hollywood to create schizophrenic, enjoyable cinema.

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