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Laramie Movie Scope:
Rush Hour 2

Rush Hour franchise running out of gas

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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August 4, 2001 -- The first "Rush Hour" movie, released three years ago, was a good comedy-adventure. The sequel is, like most sequels, a watered down version of the first. It has good stunts and some laughs, but it the characterizations are thin, forced, and very inconsistent. This franchise has already worn out.

Jackie Chan (Detective Inspector Lee) movies are usually thin on plot, but Jackie's character is usually consistent. In this film, both he and Chris Tucker (Detective James Carter, LAPD) are wildly inconsistent. Chemistry is important in a mismatched partner cop film and the chemistry is off this time. The two are either angry and insulting each other, or joking around and having a good time. There doesn't seem to be anything in between those two extremes of behavior. None of this behavior seems believable. Instead of believable characters in a comedy-action films we have a kind of horror film in which actors are caught inside a bad script and cannot escape. What little plot there is has to do with solving a Hong Kong triad plot to kill two U.S. Secret Service agents. The film takes place both in Hong Kong and in L.A.

Joining Chan and Tucker for this installment are John Lone of "The Shadow" as the mysterious criminal Ricky Tan, Ziyi Zhang of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" as assassin Hu Li and Alan King of "Casino" as American businessman/hood, Steven Reign. Fans of Zhang will be disappointed to see she does not get to do much acting in this film. Her face seems frozen in a single, sour expression. She does show off some good martial arts moves, however, as does Chan, of course. There is one funny scene where Zhang and another woman kick each other and their high-heeled shoes get tangled up.

There is one showy fight scene in which Chan and Tucker do an acrobatic, coordinated rumble with a bunch of thugs. Another highlight has Jackie fighting with a bunch of guys on a bamboo scaffold. Chan is a top-notch fighter, but he's getting too old to do the kinds of acrobatic stunts he once did. One of Chan's trademarks is that he does his own stunts. I wouldn't want to be his insurance carrier. Tucker does a pretty good Michael Jackson type of dancing and singing impression at a karaoke bar and he's got some funny lines, but a little of that shrieking goes a long way. Chan's low-key humor is a lot easier on the nerves, but he's the straight man in this movie. Easy on the eyes is co-star Roselyn Sanchez, who plays the lovely Isabella Molina.

The whole movie is uneven. At times, it achieves the good-natured humor of the old Hope-Crosby "Road" movies. At other times, it is deadly serious. The dramatic and comedic elements mix like oil and water. One of the best lines in the movie was an outtake put into the closing credits (a Chan film tradition). It sort of sums up the kind of humor the rest of the film is missing. Tucker turns to Chan as a bad guy goes sailing out the window to his death and ad-libs, "I guess he won't be in Rush Hour 3." With any luck, there won't be a Rush Hour three. It is sometimes a bad sign when an actor can ad-lib a line better than anything the screenwriters can come up with. This film rates a C.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2001 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)