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RUSH HOUR
Blu-ray Edition

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars: Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker
Director: Brett Ratner
Audio: DTS HD 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1
Studio: New Line Cinema
Features: See Review
Length: 97 Minutes
Release Date: December 7, 2010

"This is the LAPD. We're the most hated cops in all the free world. My own mama's ashamed of me. She tells everybody I'm a drug dealer."

Film ***1/2

Rush Hour will probably forever hold a special place in my heart, for being the first movie with Jackie Chan to reach the blockbuster status of over $100 million at the box office here in America (he's the world's biggest movie star everywhere else). Okay, enough sentiment aside, on with the review.

Director Brett Ratner should probably be given credit for realizing the perfect American vehicle for Chan, by taking this script to him and suggesting that combining his quiet, polite manner and superb sense of physical action and comedy with the loud, brash, verbal comedy of Chris Tucker in an old fashioned buddy movie could be the ticket to the success in the States that always seemed to just elude him. He was right.

When a Chinese consul's daughter gets kidnapped and held for ransom by an Asian gang in the United States, the FBI is on the job. But the consul sends for the only man he trusts, Detective Li (Chan), a top Asian cop and long time friend. The FBI wants no interference, so they select a cop from the L.A.P.D., James Carter (Tucker), to keep Li away from the case. Carter is a good cop, but with the same penchant for trouble we've seen in the likes of Axel Foley and Murtaugh and Riggs.

Well, it's not exactly a match made in Heaven. Li is soft spoken, while Carter never shuts up. And Li turns out to be more than a handful for Carter, who can't seem to keep the honorable Asian cop from doing his duty.

Although this is standard buddy movie stuff, it works like a charm here for several reasons. One is the script, which is fast moving and funny, yet loose enough to let the two stars do what they do best. Tucker is a funny comic, and his barbs and one liners keep the story light and upbeat, and Chan does his amazing fighting and stuntwork to perfection, though a few extra nets and wires were used as precautions. After all, unlike Hong Kong, Hollywood studios can't afford to let their stars take the kind of unbridled risks Chan is used to, for fear of having to close down production for any length of time.

And second is the really terrific chemistry that develops between Chan and Tucker. These two guys, who at first glance seem to have nothing in common, are transformed into a terrific team by their desire to save the little girl. But beyond the story, there seems to be a natural magnetism between the two, in the "opposites attract" theory.

Video ****

New Line scores with a solid, crisp and beautifully detailed high definition transfer.  The action will give your Blu-ray system a workout, and the disc doesn't fail on any front, keeping all the colors well-contained and natural looking with no bleeding or distortions anywhere.

Audio ****

You get more bang for your buck now that this soundtrack has gotten a DTS HD 7.1 treatment.  Dialogue is well balanced against the terrific music beds, but it's really the action that brings everything up to a dynamic boil and keeps you firmly centered while the mayhem erupts from all sides.  Excellent work!

Features ****

There's a trailer, a director's commentary track, a couple of music videos, cast and crew info, a 45 minute documentary, a music only track, deleted scenes, and a short film by Ratner. The documentary was a real treat, as at one point, you get to see Chan at work in length, turning a simple problem of how to get a gun through a window into a delightful and memorable action packed fight seen. The man really is a genius.

Rounding out is an early short film from Ratner about a one-time world famous child star called "Whatever Happened to Mason Reece?".

Summary:

Rush Hour proved to America what the rest of the world has known for twenty years or so: nobody does action like Jackie Chan. This is a funny, exciting, charming formula movie that rests on the strengths of two leads who are more than capable.

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