US Release Date: 08-03-2001
Directed by: Brett Ratner
- Jackie Chan, as
- Chief Inspector Lee
- Chris Tucker, as
- Detective James Carter
- John Lone, as
- Ricky Tan
- Ziyi Zhang, as
- Hu Li
- Roselyn Sanchez, as
- Isabella Molina
- Harris Yulin, as
- Agent Sterling
- Alan King, as
- Steven Reign
- Don Cheadle, as
- Jeremy Piven, as
- Versace Salesman
- Ernie Reyes, Jr., as
- Brad Allan, as
- Red Dragon Security Guard
- Cynthia Pinot as
- High Roller Girl
Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in Rush Hour 2.
The original Rush Hour was not the funniest movie ever made, although it was funny, and it didn't have the greatest action scenes, although it did have some good ones. What the original movie had that made it so good, was the chemistry between it's two leads. Jackie Chan's fish out of water, seriously intense, kung fu master, Hong Kong Detective, matched against Chris Tucker's wisecracking, fast talking, supposedly street smart, LA Cop made for a great buddy movie. It was their chemistry that made you overlook the warmed over plot and the same old clichés. They were Mel Gibson and Danny Glover with a twist.
Now, in Rush Hour 2, while they try to sustain the same chemistry as before, it no longer comes off as fresh. Rather they are like an old married couple. They're still good together, but the spark is gone. They even bicker constantly like an old married couple. And without this vibrant chemistry to fall back upon, we are only left with the warmed over plot, and the same old clichés of Rush Hour. The movie begins in Hong Kong where the vacationing Carter (Chris Tucker) is visiting Lee (Jackie Chan). Of course, Carter gets sucked into a case of Lee's involving counterfeit money, and together they are led back to LA and eventually to the film's climax in Las Vegas. Along the way we are given plot twists and turns, but none of them are very sharp or surprising.
Jackie Chan does his usual bits here, moving, leaping, climbing like a cat pumped up on cat-nip. But there really isn't enough action here for die hard action fans, and even I, who have only seen a few of Jackie's movies, can tell you that he's done better, more exciting stunts.
Chris Tucker once again plays the only character he knows how to, the fast talking, loud mouthed, and very often irritating sidekick. He can be funny at times, but this script has given him little to be funny with.
In the end, Rush Hour 2, suffers the same fate as so many movie sequels. It's just a watered down, weaker version of the original, with half as many laughs, and half as much action.
Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan in Rush Hour 2.
Having yet to see Rush Hour, I have a different perspective than Scott on its sequel, Rush Hour 2. I know, you should always watch the first in a movie series to catch the nuances and character developments, but hey this isn't an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. I kept up very well.
First I disagree with Scott on the chemistry. That is the one and only things that rises this movie above being a B movie karate flick. Their scenes together are the only good ones. Their bickering and banter is what makes this movie. Upon accidentally hitting Lee in a fight with a Chinese gang, Carter says "sorry about that, but you all look alike." Scott wrote that the chemistry was better in the first movie. Maybe the chemistry is simply the same. But to him it was old news and to me it was my first time. It's like the Die Hard series. All of them are good action flicks and your favorite is probably the first one you ever saw.
The one big problem I had with this movie was the utter lack of tension. A good action flick, even a funny one, has to have that scene where all of a sudden it looks as if the bad guys are going to win, and it has to be played up seriously. It was the big flaw in Charlie's Angels and it is completely absent here. Never do you sense there is real danger.
At one point Lee thinks Carter gets blown up in an office only a few feet away from him. Hey Lee, did you bother to even look in there to see if there was a body? I thought the character was a detective! So we have a couple of scenes of Lee looking serious. Even though the audience is fully aware that Carter is alive. Another part has Carter walking around this Chinese city hamming it up with the locals. All of the above scenes reinforce two things. Jackie Chan by himself is boring and Chris Tucker alone is annoying. However, put them together and you have an entertaining pairing that I wouldn't mind seeing starring in several more sequels.
Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan in Rush Hour 2.
I'm more in Eric's camp on this one. I enjoyed this buddy cop action/comedy. Although to be honest it has been a long time since I watched the original Rush Hour, I don't remember it as being better than this first sequel. Actually, as Eric pointed out in his Rush Hour review, the sequel starts right off with the two stars together, whereas the first movie spent a good 20 minutes introducing the characters separately. And since we all agree the best moments in the series are when Chan and Tucker are trading barbs and fighting bad guys together, I therefore side with Eric that Rush Hour 2 is the better movie.
But I do disagree with a couple of things Eric wrote. First the lack of tension didn't bother me. As far as action/comedies go this one leans way out towards the comic side. I knew that going in. The other thing I disagree with is Eric's statement that Chan, by himself, is boring, and that a solo Tucker is annoying. Yes they are better together than apart, but they each have moments in which they shine all by themselves.
Chris Tucker's karaoke Michael Jackson impression is hilarious and spot on. According to director Brett Ratner, Tucker refused to do this while the cameras rolled but he was secretly filmed anyway while he thought he was just entertaining the cast and crew between takes. He has one of the all-time great speaking voices and a most unique way of delivering a quip. Otherwise ordinary lines sound funny coming from him. The way he never shuts up or stands still he's like a tall, modern day Jimmy Durante.
Jackie Chan (and this is something I'm surprised neither of my brothers picked up on) is reminiscent of a silent movie comic. Not since the days of Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd has an actor combined precisely timed sight gags and daredevil tricks like Chan does. He can also be subtle. Check out the scene in the car after he thinks Carter is dead. He listens to Diddy's "I'll Be Missing You" and slowly begins moving his head from side to side to the music in imitation of Tucker from the first Rush Hour. As the song plays his expression slowly changes from sad to happy and his head movements become bigger and more rhythmic. Like the great silent movie comics his art transcends spoken language and he is a joy to watch. In this day and age of CGI I found it enormously refreshing watching such an oldfangled artist at work.
I'm not suggesting that as a whole Rush Hour 2 is a great movie. It is far too derivative and formulaic for that. But it does feature two immensely talented stars who combine to create not only one of the all time great buddy cop duos but one of the greatest comedy teams ever.
Photos © Copyright New Line Cinema (2001)