Eye For Film >> Movies >> Rush Hour (1998) Film Review
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
The kick'n'mix plot is of negative import. What matters is Jackie and Chris. The double act. Ever since Cain and Abel, Samson and Delilah, Laurel and the little fellow, twosomes have been hot property. Chan and Tucker make a precocious bid for Gibson and Glover's crown as top cop duo. If Lethal Weapon 4 was a chunk of stale nougat, Rush Hour is a slice of fresh sushi.
The reason it works so well is that these guys were born to be apart. Chan plays a dedicated, hands-on, foot-in-face Hong Kong detective. Tucker plays a stand-up, idiot-on-wheels, bigmouth LAPD cop. Chan doesn't talk much. His English can't take the strain. Tucker is all rap jive and jibbery doodah. He uses language as a skateboard. Chan has martial arts sorted and is physically more adept than a squirrel in a nuthouse. Tucker is tall, bendy and waaaay chill with the jungle moves.
When Chan's boss' 11-year-old daughter is kidnapped in Los Angeles, Jackie is sent over to help solve the case, except the FBI want nothing to do with him, because he's foreign and bound to get in the way. They ask the LAPD for a baby-sitter to keep him off the lawn. "Take him to the zoo," they suggest. The LAPD would normally refuse such a request, since there is no love lost between them and the Feds, but, as it happens, they have an annoying rookie, who is causing grief, due to overzealous self-regard and an unconventional attitude to police work.
Naturally, Tucker (for it is he) considers baby-sitting Chinese un-acc-ept-able and Chan would rather dangle head first over a tank of shark-infested custard than take a guide tour of the city. After mischievous adventures, in which Chan attempts to escape and Tucker attempts to keep up, they join forces to find the girl. Tucker is an original. A blend between Will Smith and Jim Carrey, he has the elasticated frame of a limbo dancer and eyes that talk too fast. Chan is a superstar in Asia. His trademark is stunts (his own) and a dislike of special effects. Earlier attempts at breaking into Hollywood failed, due to trashy scripts and cardboard thespmanship. Now he's more confident as an actor, has a young, enthusiastic director, Brett Ratner, and screenwriters (Jim Kouf, Ross LaManna) who treat him with respect.
This is not Naked Gun farce. The humour emanates from excellent rapport between Chan and Tucker. Essentially a Claude Van Damme second string filler, with typical waste-of-talent support roles (hello Tom Wilkinson) and only one blazing car, the film leaps that straight-to-vid barrier by daring to be fun. The good news is Rush Hour 2 is clogging the pipeline.Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001