Screen Reviews

Rush Hour

dir. by Brett Ratner

starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker

Chan & Tucker – two opposites united for one cause. The ambassador’s daughter is kidnapped, the ambassador brings in Detective Inspector Lee (Chan) from Hong Kong to assist the F.B.I. in the investigation. The problem is, the F.B.I. isn’t too hot on this idea and contacts the L.A.P.D. Chief of Police to assign one of their men to baby-sit Lee and keep him away from the investigation. The Chief assigns problem child James Carter (Tucker) to the case.

Carter is under the impression that his opportunity to assist the F.B.I. is a stepping stone to his joining the bureau. He soon finds out that the F.B.I. firmly intends to keep both Lee and himself far away from their investigation, prompting Carter to embark on his own personal investigation while distracting Lee.

Lee is soon to figure that Carter is keeping him from the investigation, and gives Carter the slip and begins his own investigation with Carter on his heels. In a short period of time, they get together to rescue the girl.

With the concept of a movie showcasing two L.A.P.D. partners wearing a bit thin over the last half century, from TV’s Dragnet to Beverly Hills Cop, someone who was not a diehard fan of Jackie Chan or Chris Tucker might easily overlook the potential entertainment value of this terrific movie, and that would be a mistake!

We already know that no one tops Jackie when it comes to movie stunts, and even at age 44, he is still going as strong as ever with a movie that expands his talents to comedy dialogue and singing. Chris Tucker (who could be described as “Eddie Murphy with dimension”) adds depth and humor to the character to the “black” partner role. The reel plus here is that the product is greater than the sum of its parts. Chan and Tucker are the best comedy team since Laurel and Hardy, using the same genuine situational humor that all ages and generations can appreciate. Hats off to Miami native Brett (Money Talks) Ratner, director, and Jim Kouf (Stakeout), as screenwriter. Director of Photography, Adam Greenberg (Terminator) is responsible for plenty of shots that keep this PG-13 family film moving quickly through L.A.

There are other recognizable faces, including, Elizabeth Peña as Tania Johnson the L.A.P.D. bomb expert in training, and Chris Penn in a cameo. In her acting debut as Soo Yung, the kidnapped daughter, eleven year old Julia Hsu steals the show.

P.S. – Don’t leave your seats when the credits start rolling. The out-takes shown here are worth the price of admission on their own.

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