(US); 1998; Rated PG-13; 97 Minutes
Jackie Chan: Detective Inspector Lee
Chris Tucker: Detective James Carter
Tom Wilkinson: Thomas Griffin
Elizabeth Pena: Tania Johnson
Philip Baker Hall: Capt. Diel
Produced by Roger
Birnbaum, Leon Dudeudir, Jonathan Glickman, Arthur M. Sarkissian
and Jay Stern; Directed by Brett Ratner; Screenwritten
by Jim Kouf, Ross LaManna and Jeff Nathanson
by DAVID KEYES
Ratner's "Rush Hour" is about as close to perfect as you
can get with a Jackie Chan action picture. The film contains
a great combination of comedy and action stunts, and I must
admit that I became absorbed in the chemistry between the
movie's biggest stars. But even then, hasn't this genre
lost all touch with reality? I mean, the stunts, fighting,
and chase scenes all seem to get more artificial as time
goes by, and in the typical Jackie Chan movie, we see karate
exercised beyond comprehension. Once you see it, you can
repeat it over and over again in your mind without ever
seeing it again. When Mr. Chan fights (he does do it well,
but the way) in "Rush Hour," the movie feels and plays like
a flashback to "Mr. Nice Guy" or "Timecop."
from the construction of the movie, the makers knew that
Jackie Chan's films were clichèd as well. That's probably
where Chris Tucker comes in. Here is a man sometimes so
hilarious and influencing to this movie that it seems hard
to believe that he at one time appeared in rubbish like
"Friday." Teamed up with a brave man like Chan is at first
glance hard to accept, but their chemistry and working relationship
go together as well as Abbot and Costello's did in the 1940s.
Trust me on this one: these two can make any movie together,
and it would be a hit. Chan offers his own sly, sometimes
obvious stunts, and Tucker brings to the genre what it has
desperately needed: the comedy. Your result is this movie,
the best of the recent action pictures, and probably the
best once can be in this day in age.
story (what there is of it) serves the purpose of introducing
the characters and putting them up against the action. The
premise starts out with the kidnapping of a Chinese consul's
daughter in LA after Detective Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan)
breaks up a 'smuggling ring,' and the star players of it
manage to get to the United States. The abduction of Soo
Young, the consul's daughter, is not a very easy one, because
she, like Chan, is fairly experienced in a karate field,
so to speak.
they succeed. The event leads to a citywide investigation,
as China sends in Lee to help the LAPD with the crime. To
keep control of this Chinese man as well as himself, James
Carter (Chris Tucker) is teamed up with him to help with
the investigation. Actually, though, the only reason he
was given the job to watch Lee is because he's a loudmouth
police detective who enjoys driving around in LA's streets
and keeping tabs on all of those gang members, prostitutes,
etc. Giving him something to occupy his life will prevent
the uproar in the streets of Los Angeles.
Chan is considered to be the king of these types of action
flicks, and why not? After all, he does all of his own stunts
and dirty work; he tries so desperately to please his audience
the best he can. Sometimes, it can't be done, because most
of his movies have no reliable scripts. "Rush Hour" is the
best possible way for him to make it big in Hollywood. A
big and loud comedian like Chris Tucker is just what this
these movies still do not come to life. They always lack
a lot of ambition in the script, even though most of the
time the stunt scenes are effective. But we all know that
stunts don't make a movie. The script in "Rush Hour" may
bring these two together well on screen, but the story is
still routine, and still predictable, and still unimportant.
really great Jackie Chan movies remains to be seen. "Rush
Hour" is one of the stronger ones, with the combination
of action and comedy provided by the two main characters.
On a Jackie Chan scale, it gets two-and-a-half stars, the
best possible so far for these types of movies. Maybe one
day we'll have one better.
1998, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
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