Movie Review by Kris Griffiths
Starring: Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Chris Penn, Don Cheadle
Director: Brett Ratner
A sequel to 1998’s smash-hit buddy-cop flick RUSH HOUR was always going to be on the cards after it raked in over $250 million at the box office. RUSH HOUR 2 sees Jackie Chan flying all over the place again whilst Chris Tucker stands around being even more annoying. Never promising too much, it is structurally almost identical to the original but with a thinner plot, less fights and more racist jokes. And you’d have probably seen the best gags in the trailer.
As Chan film storylines go this is about as basic as you’re going to get. It picks up exactly where RUSH HOUR ends, with Chief Inspector Lee and LAPD detective Carter going to Hong Kong for a holiday, but upon arrival the American Embassy is blown up by a new lot of Chinese Triads who are also involved in counterfeit money smuggling. The leader is the man who killed Lee’s dad so he takes up the case which they both solve and then both the Hong Kong and American authorities ask themselves “how did they manage to solve the case?” Well, they solve it in exactly the same way they solved their first one together. Lee immediately knows who the suspect is, Carter immediately confronts the suspect in his usual manner and starts a big fight with his gang, then Lee beats them all up in his usual crazy acrobatic style, the suspect gets away and after several more skirmishes with his gang the duo catch up with him at the end of the film and kill him. And then they go on another vacation. I can visualize the RUSH HOUR Trilogy box set already.
Despite the film’s simplicity however, it is still the easy and fun watch it sets out to be. It’s just that there is nothing new about it. John Lone (THE LAST EMPEROR) and Zhang Ziyi (CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON) both add a touch of class as the head villains, but Don Cheadle is wasted in a pointless cameo role identical to Chris Penn’s brief role as an informer in the first film. Chris Tucker’s zany speed-talking starts to grate after a while, whilst his dialogue with Lee soon becomes stale and reduced to ethnicity insults (typical exchange: “I’m gonna kick your ass, Lee” “Well I’m gonna bitch-slap your ass back to Africa, Carter”). With Carter now being the fish-out-of-water in Hong Kong, there are some good laughs to be had, such as the scene where he astounds a packed karaoke bar with a quality Michael Jackson impression. But as is usually the case with Chan films, the funniest scenes arrive with the end credits in the form of out-takes. If you are a Chan fan then you will love this sequel, if not, then I wouldn’t rush out to go and see it.