banner image

:: Rush Hour 2

It was obvious after 1998’s “Rush Hour” that a sequel would be demanded. That film saw a real breakthrough in Jackie Chan’s Hollywood career and it was very successful at box offices. Again, we see the combination of Chan as Hong Kong detective Inspector Lee and Chris Tucker as Los Angeles detective James Carter. The mismatched pair start out in Hong Kong where the holidaying Carter is visiting Lee. But when a Triad bomb takes out two Secret Service agents at the US embassy, Lee and Carter are back on the case.

The film has a promising start. Carter tries to interrogate a roomful of Triad heavies in a nightclub. His antics lead him to challenging the heavily guarded mob boss Ricky Tan (John Lone) in a health spa. After the good guys take them on, they are eventually stripped naked and dumped on a busy freeway. This is the timeworn plot where Tan was Lee’s father’s partner in the police force before turning to a Triad boss career. And there are the female interests, Zhang Ziyi and Roselyn Sanchez, with their dubious loyalties. The plot involves a Las Vegas casino and a printing press that manufactures money.

The action sequences work well here. You can’t help but admire Chan in one scene where he takes on a small army in barely a towel and with a wastebin. He has, at least, been given the opportunity to do a little more of what he does best. And this film grants him more respect than the first Rush Hour did. Again, Tucker works well with Chan, and even better for being toned down. Thankfully, he doesn’t get on our nerves with his screams, and is less obnoxious as before. The humour is a little stale at times, with some of the funniest moments occurring in the outtakes at the closing credits – traditional for Jackie Chan movies.

One can sense that we are seeing the toning down of Chan’s action repertoire. He is well into his 40s now and it's obviously difficult to maintain the fantastic standard of his great Hong Kong films of the 1980s. One thing that shows up well is the quality of the villains. John Lone, as Ricky Tan, is terrific as a scheming mobster. He is well accompanied by Zhang Ziyi. The attractive actress starred in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”. The sky’s the limit for her acting talent. Don Cheadle even comes in for a cameo role, getting laughs as a Chinese-speaking black restaurant owner.

“Rush Hour” is an enjoyable film. Jackie Chan is always charming and sweet and can still effect good fight choreography, while Chris Tucker is less annoying this time, making for a semi-amusing performance. His best moment is an anti-racist tirade he gives at a craps table at the casino. It’s worth a look.

Screening on general release