We’ve met Jack Hunter before in Stephen Jared’s hilariously entertaining Jack and the Jungle Lion. Jack’s a movie star. Or at least he was in Jungle Lion. In The Elephants of Shanghai, he’s an ex-movie star hanging out in Chicago, wanting to do something to help his country’s war effort. As intrepid, sincere, and bumbling as ever, even without a Hollywood script, Jack manages to get involved in an underworld plot connected with a crooked senator’s efforts to make money off the imminent combat.
The action takes him to Shanghai, where in the search for some valuable jewels, he ends up in the middle of a battle between some Japanese Imperial predators and some Chinese good guys, and the chase is on. Just like in the old time movies that Jared reveres and understands so well, our heroes and their enemies, traveling by land, air, and sea, cover impossible distances with meager resources, fire impossible numbers of bullets at one another, place their trust in perfidious people even though we, the audience, see clearly how evil they are and are yelling, “no, no, he/she’s out to get you.” The flip-flops of the action are dizzying. And through it all, Jack’s derring-do and brings everyone through in the most improbably way.
Jared has another winner in Shanghai, and I hope he’s able to take enough time out from his acting gigs to give us a third Jack Hunter soon.