Dietrich Banning (Ritchie Coster) is the owner of a bottled water company. By infecting a swarm of water strider insects with a strain of bacteria that causes water to dehydrate rather than rehydrate the drinker and letting them loose, he plans to render all the water in the world undrinkable except his own, thus increasing its value.
Jimmy Tong (Jackie Chan) is a New York taxi driver. After escorting a mysterious woman to her destination at breakneck speed, she recruits him to be the chauffeur of James Bond Expy Clark Devlin (Jason Isaacs), who is hot on Banning's trail. After an attempt on Devlin's life lands him in a hospital, he tells Jimmy to take his tuxedo and stand-in for him. Jimmy promptly finds that Devlin's tuxedo is a $2 billion dollar power suit that allows the wearer to do kung-fu, walk on walls and ceilings, and dance really well (among other things). He and CSA agent Del Blaine (Jennifer Love Hewitt), who presumes him to be Devlin and is thus more than a little confused at his ineptitude, team up to bring Banning down.
Alas, what this means is that this movie, instead of showcasing Chan's personal skills and stuntwork, showcases a whole lot of more-or-less unimpressive special effects pertaining to the suit's abilities. On the rare occasions that some actual stuntwork is done, it's performed not by Chan but by as many as 7 stand-ins. Whereas in other Chan films the Hilarious Outtakes during the end credits showed failed stunts, the ones in this film show mucked-up dialogue.
- All Asians Know Martial Arts: Subverted after Jimmy nearly gets beat up by a bike messenger after accidentally opening his taxi door into him.Jimmy's friend: Hey, I thought all you Chinese people knew karate.
Jimmy: (tiredly) Not everyone Chinese is Bruce Lee.
- Artistic License Biology: Del describes the species of water strider, Gerris marginatus, as a native of Southeast Asia and an insect native to the Southern Hemisphere. In actuality Gerris marginatus is native to not only both hemispheres but is actually native to the Americas. Also no water strider species has a queen social hierarchy.
- As Himself: James Brown!
- Badass Driver: Jimmy.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Jimmy and Del.
- Big Bad: Banning.
- Big Damn Heroes: Parodied.Del: This is the part where 50 CSA agents come storming in to haul you, your pretentious accent and those jackass sideburns to prison, where they only serve HIGHLY! CHLORINATED! TAPWATER!!
(instead, Banning's thugs drag Jimmy in after his rescue failed)
- Black Comedy Rape: The scene where Banning's girlfriend tries to get into Jimmy's pants.
- Brick Joke: The shoulder-grab-reversal gimmick is closer to this than Chekhov's Gun.
- Bullet-Proof Fashion Plate: Parodied. The Tuxedo always comes out unmarred despite all the stunts befalling Jimmy.
- Casual Danger Dialog: when Jimmy's taxi screams across the city with Steena (Debi Mazar) in the back seat, still able to apply her makeup.
- The Cavalry Arrives Late: The reinforcements arrive after Jimmy just defeated the Big Bad.
- Ceiling Cling: Another ability granted by the Tuxedo.
- Chekhov's Gun: Among other things, the tuxedo automatically lights other people's cigarettes. Jimmy activates this function when Banning wears the tuxedo to keep himself from getting strangled to death.
- Clothes Make the Superman: The whole point of the Tuxedo.
- Comically Small Bribe: Jimmy attempts to get himself and Del into a club with seven bucks.
- Cool, Clear Water: Parodied. Opens with a shot of a pure mountain stream, and then shows a deer urinating in it - and follows the water as it is bottled by Banning Springs.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Banning.
- Embarrassing Password: The rendezvous code phrase Del provides to Jimmy, thinking he's Devlin, is "Nice rack." The return phrase is "I forgot my bra." Apparently somebody in Del's agency had a leave of common sense and common decency, and Hilarity Ensues.
- Expy: Devlin, a badass white hero, and Jimmy, his Asian chauffeur, are somewhat reminiscent of The Green Hornet and Kato.
- Fanservice: From Jennifer Love Hewitt, with Debi Mazar thrown in for good measure.
- IKEA Weaponry: Has a sequence where Jimmy must assemble a rifle used to plant a listening device at long distance. Arguably justifies the "use right away" scope due to the nature of his high-tech tuxedo. Also the fact that the scope itself seems to be high-tech as well, since it appears to have something like an auto-targeting system intended for fatal hits (when planting bugs, it takes down a Mook with a headshot).
- Interchangeable Asian Cultures: The less-obvious Lampshade Hanging here is that karate is a Japanese art, not Chinese.Jimmy's friend: Hey, I thought all you Chinese people knew karate.
- Kung-Shui: When he first tries the tux on, he activates "demolition mode" and destroys Devlin's mansion.
- Neck Lift: Banning, wearing the Tuxedo, lifts both Jimmy Tong and Del Blaine, one in each hand, and start strangling them.
- No Delays for the Wicked: After Del hands Banning the suit as a ploy to get into his good graces, he immediately becomes proficient in its use and has none of the Power Incontinence issues that Jimmy had for most of the movie. Even when Jimmy arrives with another suit, he gets his ass handed to him by Banning who has been using it for all of 5 minutes. Could be justified by the fact that Devlin's suit was made for a super-spy, while Jimmy's was likely a "sidekick" version.
- Red Herring: The deer peeing at the beginning has no importance to the plot, despite considerable focus on the water making its way from the stream to the bottling plant during the opening credits.
- Simpleton Voice: Lampshaded. Hewitt does a perfect impression of Banning's bimbo girlfriend's voice.
- Theme Naming: Just as "Chon Wang" in Shanghai Noon was intended to sound like John Wayne, "Jimmy Tong" was apparently just to give Jackie the line "Tong... James Tong."
- Third-Person Person: Lampshaded. When Jimmy sees a case of insects, he inadvertently remarks "Mr. Devlin liked insects too", and tries to remedy this slip by claiming that "I like to refer to myself in the third person". Del counters thus: "Del Blaine thinks you're a freak."
- Thrown from the Zeppelin: Banning calls in an underling who criticizes his scheme and feeds him some of the dehydrating water, causing him to shrivel up and turn to dust. Also counts as Nightmare Fuel and Body Horror. Although, Banning admitted that it wasn't so much the criticizing but the guy's ridiculous haircut. And the criticism was valid for anyone but a megalomaniac seeking to poison everyone's drinking water. Specifically, Banning's quarterly projections assumed that everybody in the world would be drinking his water and nothing else.
- Tuxedo and Martini: Obviously.
- Wall Crawl: Interestingly, after Jimmy discovers this ability when trying on the tux for the first time, he hardly uses them afterwards.
- Water Source Tampering: Banning's plan.
- With My Hands Tied:
- At one point, Jimmy ends up wearing only the pants of the tux and activates "pants-only combat".
- Later, he fights off a bunch of mooks from all directions while keeping the queen water strider from escaping by keeping it in a glass that's pressed up against Del's face.