Film Reviews


By • Aug 3rd, 2001 •

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The Desert Inn Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas is currently tearing down the Red Dragon façade put up for RUSH HOUR 2. Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas are the picturesque locations for the return of Detective Carter (Chris Tucker) and Detective Lee (Jackie Chan). Directed again by Brett Ratner, RUSH HOUR 2 involves the Chinese Triad, stolen plates for U.S. currency and the U.S. secret service agents. But it’s really the relationship between Carter and Lee that is the film’s hook and its failure. Carter insults Lee relentlessly, belittling not only his (and all Asians) diminutive size but lack of perfect English. Lee, because of political correctness, can not respond in kind. Lee just passively accepts the put-downs. Why? When did Tucker eclipse Chan in popularity and stardom?

Tucker and Chan work the material as best they can (under the circumstance of there being no story) but it’s a laborious feat. Why go from Hong Kong to Los Angeles and then Las Vegas? Did these guys want to make a movie or vacation on the studio’s bankroll? Well, the Triad had to go to Las Vegas to launder phony one hundred-dollar bills (which, I thought, was impossible now). Zhang Ziyi from CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON is featured in her first non-English speaking Hollywood movie. First, computer generated humans, then actors hidden under latex, and now non-speaking actresses. The terrific John Lone, still exhibiting a feline grace and menace, plays Ricky Tan, the head of the Triad.

While I have to admit I laughed at Chris Tucker’s “I’m a Black Man, dude!” character – which I assume he’ll be retiring soon – the direction is sluggish and tired. All the fun has been stripped clean off the original concept. It’s barren filmmaking, but with a big budget. Yes, we want to see these two together and the trailer makes the movie look good, but why can’t Detectives Carter and Lee just get a smart case – one that is way over their heads – and go about solving it? Why can’t we see them do some good police work?

Instead, we can see the hands of the polishing screenwriters adding more characters that muddy the storyline. What side is the mysterious female secret service agent (Molina, played by Roselyn Sanchez) really on? Why is Alan King in the movie? And, to top it all off, the fighting sequences just weren’t that good this time around. They seemed slower and less imaginative.

There will no doubt be a RUSH HOUR 3. Let’s hope Jackie Chan makes some demands in his favor.

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