The title and the premise are at least the same. Phileas Fogg (Britain's own Steve Coogan), a hapless inventor, accepts a wager from the Royal Academy of Science, that he cannot go round the world in 80 days. If he wins, he becomes the Academy's president and can invent to his heart's content. Meanwhile, reluctant Chinese thief Jackie Chan has snatched a sacred Jade Buddha which was taken from his village back home in China. On the lookout for a quick way of getting home he passes himself off as a Chinese-French valet - Passepartout - and hooks up as Coogan's manservant. So the whirlwind, world-hopping adventure begins, our heroes pursued by vengeful hatchetmen seeking the Buddha, wacky cops seeking the thief and sinister spoilers seeking to stop Fogg from winning his bet. Oh, en route they also pick up a plucky French damsel who also needs a quick getaway. Such is the plot.
What really counts though is the fun - and as this is a film with Jackie Chan there is lots of it. Coogan is suitably foppish yet arrogant as Fogg. Chan is as effervescent as ever. The real surprise is Cecile de France as the damsel and love interest for Coogan who overcomes a potentially thankless task with a turn that is funny, feisty and engaging. The action is the real star though and at last Hollywood has woken up and let Jackie Chan do what he does best and choreograph all the set pieces. So, what could have been a tiring round of slapstick is in fact a cracking round of inventive set-pieces ranging from a kung fu fest in Chan's home village to an excellent fight in an art studio where kicks and blows accidentally end up creating a work of art.
The kids - especially the pre-teen boys it's seemingly aimed at - should love it. Adults get a bit of a raw deal though as the film's not as witty as it thinks it is and could have had much better one-liners. Still, as a nod to the original Niven film, director Coraci has peppered his own movie with cameos and it's diverting trying to spot them. Chan fans can have extra fun looking out for the members of Jackie's own stunt team and one or two cameos from Hong Kong stars old and new. There are also some grating performances - including an unaccountably dreadful Jim Broadbent and a manic, gurning turn from hapless copper, Ewen Bremner. Yet both are somehow in keeping with this unashamedly silly film.
Around the World in 80 Days does what it sets out to do - provide exaggerated, colourful, harmless entertainment. Without Chan and Cecile de France it wouldn't have succeeded half so well but it does succeed.