The Birthday Series – Rush Hour 2 (2001)
What’s the deal with Chris Tucker? After appearing in seven films between 1995 and 1997, including ‘Friday’, ‘Money Talks’ and ‘The Fifth Element’, he has only made three films, all of them ‘Rush Hour’. Why has he withdrawn from Hollywood? What does he do with his time, apart from sit there counting all his cash? It’s strange.
The first ‘Rush Hour’ film saw Detective Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan) follow a kidnapping case from Hong Kong to Los Angeles, where he teamed up with Detective Carter (Chris Tucker). The sequel sees Carter visiting Lee in Hong Kong. A bomb explodes at the US Embassy, killing two americans. Carter and Lee get involved in the case, which involves counterfeit money, Chinese triads, a mystery surrounding the death of Lee’s father, Las Vegas casino’s, the secret service, mu shu and lots and lots of jokes about the diminutive stature of Chinese people.
I wasn’t much of a fan of the first ‘Rush Hour’ film. But since it made over $250 million at the box office, a sequel was inevitable. ‘Rush Hour 2’ is a minor improvement. It’s mercifully short, and while it’s never involving or terribly funny, it does make for a mildly entertaining diversion. There’s simply not too much to get upset about.
Both Tucker and Chan are pleasant, likeable screen presences. They are not really playing characters, just a variation on their screen persona. They work well together. They’ll never rank up there with the greatest comedy duo’s but what they do, they do well enough. Chan has a few decent stunts, but it’s a shade of what we have come to expect from his thirty-plus years in the film industry. Tucker has some funny lines, but when the biggest laugh I got is from an old woman passing Tucker on a stairwell and saying in Chinese “Move aside, Kobe!”, you know it’s not terrific comedy.
The direction by Brett Ratner is efficient without ever nearing creative (as if Ratner has ever been accused of being creative!). He’s simply a shooter. Someone who puts the camera in a good enough position to cover the action. There’s no innovation there. No individual style. His films could’ve been directed by anyone. He has simply lucked out by making a few hits. It’s the only explanation I can give as to why he’s not directing episodes of Law and Order.
The screenplay written by Jeff Nathanson does it’s job in a simple manner. There are one or two good lines, but nothing memorable. According to the ever reliable Wikipedia, he’s currently working on a Milli Vanilli biopic. If ever there was a biopic that’s screaming out to be made, it’s that one.
This is a shorter review than normal, because quite honestly, there’s not a lot to talk about. Maybe I should have gone with my alternate option, which was the Angelina Jolie/Antonio Banderas turd ‘Original Sin’. But despite the promise of boobs, I couldn’t face watching that one again. ‘Rush Hour 2’ is what it is. A mildly entertaining kung fu action comedy. And that’s all there is to it.
Yay! It’s my 2001 birthday! Remember to take a slice of cake home with you.
For Droids a jolly good fellow!