OK, I love Jackie Chan, and I have yet to be disappointed by Chris Tucker (I definitely prefer him to his casting competition, Martin Lawrence and Will Smith and Chris Rock) – but how will they work as a team? They work great! They have absolutely opposite approaches to comedy and police work, and the combination works to a T. The inexplicably titled Rush Hour is naturally a lot more Hollywood than your traditional Hong Kong Jackie Chan movie, but it is not an American world with one lone bad ass Asian in it either, like Rumble in the Bronx.
The actual plot devices are not huge surprises – even the Jackie Chan virgin with whom I saw the movie recognized a room full of Jackie fight props when she saw one – but the enjoyable parts aren’t the action movie conventions, but the interaction between Tucker and Chan. While they won’t win any screenwriting Oscars, they will get a round of applause from the audience. The Chan virgin says the script sometimes reads like a fortune cookie. But less cryptic and definitely more funny.
You want an additional bit of cool pedigree? Lalo Schifrin composed the music (not the obligatory pop soundtrack, of course, but the extra fun adventuresome score)! Let me tell you – it’s a wacky mix of Deep Rising’s music and Chinese music. If you don’t know what I mean with the Deep Rising stuff, well, you’re missing out. But, you can make it up to me by catching Rush Hour.
I don’t say full price because of the predictability and because there’s just not enough Jackie. Like Nothing to Lose, however, the preview gives a lot of joke lines away, but it’s edited together so the lines are heard and enjoyed as a preview, but they are out of context from the film, so it doesn’t ruin the movie as you watch it. Also, the traditional bloopers at the end during the credits are a big, fat, sweet cherry on the sundae.
What else, what else? Oh, it’s like Chinese food (no, seriously) – immensely satisfying and then it’s gone. We got Chinese food afterward and settled into Rumble in the Bronx, and that showed the contrast between Jackie’s solo films and being partnered with an American. The wanton (ha ha wonton) destruction is split between the two stars, but Jackie’s gift for humor is not mined as completely as it could be. In the dialogue arena, it’s Tucker’s movie, and action is all Jackie. A woman behind me was wowed by stunts I am sure Jackie does on his lunch break, but he didn’t ohmygodholycraplookoutwow like he has in the past. Maybe he was hamstrung by American insurance people or maybe he is starting to show his 43 years of rough and tumble living. Nahhhh!!!!!! It’s us Yanks, just the Man holding him down.
I for one am looking forward to a sequel/franchise, or else just a perma-pairing, like Tracy and Bacall or Douglas and Turner…or Gibson and Glover. But without any lameness – bring me Stanley Tong!!! Catch it. Considering that it’s a Hollywood cop buddy movie and a Jackie Chan vehicle, it has a lot of character development and a lack of lame obvious humor. Maybe it’s the stars’ charm, maybe it’s the script – but who cares!
MPAA Rating PG-13
Release date 9/18/98
Time in minutes 97
Director Brett Ratner
Studio New Line Cinema