We were very pleased to find ourselves back in the theatre this weekend enjoying "Rush Hour" starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.
These actors are two of my low-budget favorites. Jackie Chan has been making martial arts films in Hong Kong for decades and only recently importing them to America for release on the big screen. Operation Condor (Armor Of God II), Supercop, and Mr. Nice Guy are a few of his most recent releases in the U.S. that have been dubbed into english. Mr. Chan performs all of his stunts himself and as a consequence has at one time or another broken just about every bone in his body. This is not his first film produced by an American movie studio, The Big Brawl (which I believe was an MGM release in the late seventies) highlighted a younger Jackie Chan who was painfully uncomfortable with english in a film that was weak in writing, premise and direction. (In my opinion, if they could have found a better way to get him to the Brawl it would have been all right, but you'd have to see the film to see what I mean. Look for it if you want, Blockbuster usually carries it.)
Chris Tucker is a young up-and-comer trying to define himself in a time when Chris Rock is receiving previously unknown acclaim for his comic form of hypocricy defying candor, and Eddie Murphy is enjoying a resurgence of popularity with his own open-faced style of reaction comedy. Tucker had a supporting role opposite Ice Cube in the movie "Friday" which is the african-amercan version of "clerks" in which he plays a loud-mouthed, squeaky-voiced slacker who complicates the life of his friend (Ice Cube) who is just trying to get through the day. From this role Tucker moved on to "The Fith Element" opposite Bruce Willis where he played an over-the-top trans-galactic disc jockey who was not cut out for the demmands of an epic space opera. Still loud and proud, Tucker landed a staring role opposite Charlie Sheen in "Money Talks" which was a more toned-down role for him, but well received enough for him to be marketable as a leading man.
In "Rush Hour", Tucker plays a "bad boy" L.A. cop assigned as the escort for Chan's character, a detective from Hong Kong come to America to assist in the investigation of his best friend's daughter's kidnapping. Niether Chan nor Tucker's assistance is wanted by the FBI so they are forced to team up to solve the case and save the girl together.
I have never had the opportunity to describe an action film as "charming" until now. Just as the action would die down, or the investigation would come to a seeming dead-end, a new thrill or a new joke would spring out of nowhere and hurl the audience right along. It is not the greatest cop movie out there. "Clockers", or even Eddie Murphy's "Metro" had a lot more actual police work and suspense engrained into the solution of the crime. However, Chan's and Tucker's on-screen inter-play, the development of the individual characters and their mutual relationship succeeds adequately in one film what could have been done extremely well in to; which is meant as a compliment, if you think about it. Really, their individual antics give way to a believable rivalry that fosters mutual respect and cross-cultural admiration. The individual comic talents of the actors mesh extremely well in the manner of Snipe&Harrolson or Hope&Crosby.
It is good to see Jackie Chan, Hong Kong's latest cinematic refugee give Hollywood a fair try. Neither party failed the other in the making of this film. And as for Tucker, he has risen to the occasion admirably and has placed himself in good stead for future work of quality and extreme violence.
If you are a fan of CHRIS TUCKER or JACKIE CHAN, MARTIAL ARTS FILMS, or BUDDY-COP MOVIES like "the Rookie" or "48 Hours" the YOU MUST SEE THIS FILM AS SOON AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE. It's a good ride and should be checked out by anyone who'd like to have a new experience or a good laugh when the movie hits second run. For all we know this may be the last Jackie Chan film made in America so we should take advantage of the big screen while we can.