Rush Hour is a prime example of how a mediocre script is made fun by the addition of great actors and a good director.
Jackie Chan is a guy that I like. He’s an atypical action hero actor. He’s charming, funny, and he does all his own stunts. Chan just feels personable; when he’s having fun onscreen, so are we. Chris Tucker, billed on Rush Hour movie posters as the biggest mouth of the West, truly lives up to the billing. He is hilarious with his bug-eyes and his non-stop mouth.
A Chinese consul’s daughter is kidnapped and the FBI is on the case. The consul, though, trusts only one person, and that is Inspector Lee (Chan) from Hong Kong. Lee is flown in to help with the investigation, but the FBI doesn’t want his help. The FBI decides to call the LAPD for some “assistance.” They get the loud and renegade Detective Carter (Tucker) whom they promptly assign to baby sit Lee while the investigation is going on. The script is your basic odd-couple police partner story.
Both Lee and Carter are not happy with the situation that they are in. Carter desperately wants to be an FBI agent and sees this as a prime opportunity lost. Lee just wants to find the daughter of the consul. And as the mediocre script would have it, it’s Carter and Lee who get all the leads and the action, not the FBI.
Rush Hour was written by Jim Kouf and Ross LaManna. It is a serviceable script that dips into mediocrity. The saving grace for the film is the two actors and a director who knows how to pace the film. There are some laughs, and there is a good mix of action and comedy in this script.
Brett Ratner (Money Talks) directs Rush Hour with a steady hand. He knows what he’s doing and it shows on screen. He never lets the action stop and masterfully mixes in the comedy. He keeps Tucker in check also. Tucker, who sometimes gets out of hand with his personality, is held back a bit in Rush Hour, which is definitely a benefit for the movie. Having seen Tucker in both Money Talks and The Fifth Element, it’s good that Ratner had Tucker restrain his outrageousness for Rush Hour.
Jackie Chan is what Rush Hour is all about, though, and we get a lot of Chan. He and stunt coordinator Terry Leonard put together some exciting action sequences. There are also some nail-biting fight scenes, the kind of fight scenes that we’ve known to come from Chan, with excitement, fun, and laughs all mixed together. Watch for the sequence that starts Chan off on a double-decker bus and ends up in a taxi. This was a spectacular sequences showing his graceful moves. There are scenes in a Jackie Chan film that just stick with you. The one that is memorable is the scene where Chan’s character is in a pool hall.
Worth mentioning is Julia Hsu as the daughter of the consulate. She is not only cute but her part in Rush Hour allows her to be more than just the pawn for the bad guys to take. When they kidnap her, she puts up a hell of a fight. Also worth mentioning is the score by Lalo Schifrin. The music fits the movie like a glove.
Don’t Miss Rush Hour. After failing to break into Hollywood with an American made film for the longest time, Rush Hour will be Chan’s big hit. His Hong Kong to Hollywood films (Rumble in the Bronx, SuperCop, First Strike, and Operation Condor) were good, but limiting in the audience that they could reach. Rush Hour changes that. Rush Hour has a wide audience appeal and it proves to be a great vehicle for Chan to make it big in Hollywood.
Edited by Cher Johnson.