RUSH HOUR 2
Review by Michael Jacobson
Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, John Lone, Alan King, Roselyn Sanchez, Harris
Yulin, Zhang Ziyi
Director: Brett Ratner
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Studio: New Line Cinema
Features: See Review
Length: 91 Minutes
Release Date: December
speaks in Cantonese to a large crowd.)
did I just say?”
asked them to pull out their samurai swords and shave your butt.”
Hour 2 is
that rarest of cinematic rarities…a sequel that lives up to, if not surpasses,
Asian action superstar Jackie Chan with American smart aleck comic Chris Tucker
was a stroke of genius in the first movie…the quiet, reserved, fast moving
Chan and the loud, brash BS artist Tucker were perfect foils for one another,
and made for one of the best, funniest, and most entertaining buddy movies in
was also successful…in fact, it made for Jackie Chan’s biggest American box
office numbers in his entire career. So
successful, in fact, that the only thing to do was to do it again.
we last left Hong Kong Inspector Lee (Chan) and LAPD Detective Carter (Tucker),
they were on their way to the Far East for a little R&R.
That vacation, however, gets cut short when a bomb explodes at the
American Embassy in Hong Kong. The blame is laid squarely at the feet of Triad gang leader
(and Lee’s old nemesis) Ricky Tan (Lone).
But the plot is not so cut and dried.
Lee and Carter get themselves into one mishap after another trying to break the
case, they also have to deal with two beautiful but dangerous women…Isabella
(Sanchez), who may or may not be who she says she is, and Hu Li (Ziyi, the
amazing young star of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), who is a quick and
turns out the CIA is on the trail of some counterfeit “superbills”…bills
printed with an actual US Mint printing press, and almost indistinguishable from
the real thing. Carter suspects
hotel magnate Steven Reign (King), because in cases like that, you “always
follow the rich white guy.”
and Tucker proved to be the right combination for delivering action and laughs
in the first film. Here, they do it
even more so. The fight sequences
are peppered throughout, and Chan, now in his late 40s, shows no sign of slowing
down as he wages an amazingly acrobatic brawl on a tall bamboo scaffolding, uses
everything around him as a weapon in a massage parlor.
As is always the case in a Chan movie, he shows us at least one stunt
we’ve never seen before. This time, he squeezes through the tiny slot of a pay window
at a casino like he was jumping through a wide open door.
Tucker is even more fast and furious in the sequel…his best scenes involve
selecting his masseuses at the parlor, or playing big time craps with $1,000
chips at a ritzy casino table. For
those not used to his sometimes shrill and motormouth stylings, it may take some
adjusting…for those of us who have followed Tucker’s career, this is one of
its shining moments.
finale, which I won’t give away, is a tremendous triumph for the stars and for
director Ratner…one amazing, hilarious topper after another which will have
you laughing in amazement.
chemistry between Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker was the most crucial element of
the first movie. It worked then,
and it works even more so now. The
quiet Jackie seems less like a straight man here, and more than capable of
holding his own with Chris’ wild bantering.
Likewise, Tucker isn’t all talk in this film…he handles a couple of
fight scenes with improving skill (including a memorable one near the end with
Ziyi, who is, of course, too much for him).
Like the best co-stars, it seems that Jackie and Chris have been teaching
and learning from one another.
know some critics dismissed this picture…frankly, I don’t think they gave it
a fair shot. I went in with no
preconceived notions, and found it to be one of the most fun times I’ve had at
the movies this year. Jackie
Chan’s fast hands and Chris Tucker’s fast words combine in cinematic alchemy
to make movie gold.
Hour 3 is
tentatively scheduled for 2004. I
say…bring it on!
TRIVIA: Look for an
uncredited Don Cheadle, holding his own in a very funny sequence!
come to expect nothing but the best from New Line on DVD, and the best is always
what they deliver. More than just
another action/comedy, Rush Hour 2 has an incredible visual look to it,
from the beautiful streets of Hong Kong to the night lights of Vegas.
Ratner and his cinematographer Matthew F. Leonetti both have keen eyes
for the visually dramatic, and this anamorphic transfer captures them
flawlessly. Colors are bright,
vivid, and plentiful, and they play against each other with perfect contrast,
with no bleeding or distortions. Images
are sharp and crisp down to the minutest detail, and lights and darks cooperate
terrifically throughout, whether it’s bits of light reflecting on glass
(notice the streetlife against Lee’s windshield in an early nighttime drive)
or the gauche designs of a luxury casino. This
is a reference quality DVD that delivers. One complaint: the disc
features one of the WORST layer switch placements I've ever seen.
impressive is the Dolby Digital 5.1 track (DTS also included), which is good and
loud, with plenty of dynamic range! The
action sequences call all corners of your sound system into play, with good
balance and smooth crossovers throughout. The .1 channel adds extra kick to the music and some of the
more intense scenes. Dialogue is
always cleanly rendered, which definitely helps with Tucker’s fast talking and
Jackie’s struggles with English. A
first rate knockout!
Line’s Infinifilm DVDs continue to raise the bar, and this is another top
notch release. The disc begins with
a running commentary from director Ratner and screenwriter Jeff Nathanson, which
is an informative and pleasant listen. There
are also two other ways to enjoy the feature with extras…use the Fast Track
for extra bits of trivia and info printed across the bottom of the screen while
you watch, or activate the Infinifilm to get pop up screens throughout that
allow you to see extras like Jackie Chan’s stunt team in action, or deleted
scenes, or Ratner directing, and so on. (Note:
I don’t know if it was just MY disc or not, but the Infinifilm
selection defaults to the wrong subtitle setting.
I had to manually change it from 1 to 3 with my remote…then, every time
an Infinifilm selection returned me to the movies, the subtitles were back at 1
again, and I had to keep resetting them in order to use the feature!)
are nine deleted scenes and an additional outtake reel (different from the one
at the end of the film), with optional Ratner commentary.
There are several short featurettes that combine to make up a good
overall behind-the-scenes look at the film:
“Jackie Chan’s Hong Kong Introduction” (kind of a tourist plug for
his homeland), “Culture Clash” (a look at how basic filmmaking procedures
differ in Hong Kong and America), plus “Language Barrier”, “Attaining
International Stardom”, “Kung Fu Choreography”, “Making Magic Out of
Mire” (a look at Ratner’s working style), “Evolution of a Scene”,
“Fashion of Rush Hour 2”, and a multi-angle special effects
deconstruction of the explosion at the Embassy scene, which goes by almost too
fast to really use the four angles!
out the disc are two teasers and a full trailer, an early Brett Ratner student
film Lady Luck, filmographies, and some DVD ROM extras, including links
and a script-to-screen feature. An