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Rush Hour 2

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All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Rush Hour 2

Starring: Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker
Director: Brett Ratner
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 120 Minutes
Release Date: August 2001
Genres: Action, Comedy


*Also starring: Harris Yulin, Zhang Ziyi, Don Cheadle, Alan King, John Lone, Roselyn Sanchez



Review by Harvey Karten
No Rating Supplied

Given the relative absence of real laughs and total absence of wit in this "Rush Hour" sequel, the all-important factor is the chemistry between the two principals. Fortunately, it's there in abundance, several times more so than the rapport between Antonio Banderas and Angelina Jolie in "Original Sin"--which is not saying a whole lot. Jackie Chan, of course, plays the guy with most of the physical action: he turns in some mind boggling stunts best of which involves not his pummeling the criminals but his slithering under the barred window that protects the earnings of a Las Vegas night club and his dangling on a bamboo pole about 15 stories from the ground. Chris Tucker, still the motormouth, still the guy whose role is considered "obnoxious but not so much as in the original" as so many critics have stated, provides the racial banter, the wide-eyed surprises, the ineffective womanizing.

"Rush Hour 2" cooks up no real plot, which is OK since nobody goes to this sort of movie expecting the slightest taste of originality. But Matthew F. Leonetti's lensing under the direction of Brett Ratner gives us armchair travelers a solid view of Hong Kong, particularly its gorgeous harbor showing the regular ferry connecting the two islands with the shots of the boldly lit advertisements the greatest paean to capitalism east of Las Vegas.

When Detective Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan) and L.A.P.D. Detective James Carter (Chris Tucker) turn up in Hong Kong, they're expecting a nice vacation filled with Tsingtao, women and song, Carter carrying a Cantonese-American dictionary that gets him into trouble every time--as when he hollers across to the women in the next car, "I want to see you naked and to sacrifice a goat." When Lee is called in by his commanding officer and assigned the job of tracking down the Triad gang and its deadly leader, Ricky Tan (John Lone), Carter sounds more than annoyed but we can see deep down that he's probably more excited about the action that awaits than he would be even in the massage parlor where he has chosen a quintet of women to relax his muscles.

The inevitable fight scenes that pit the two buddies against the sinister, unsmiling gang members are happily not over-edited but compared to what Jet Li faced in "Kiss of the Dragon," pitting Li against a veritable army of black belts, Jackie's skirmishes are a walk in the park.

The story by Jeff Nathanson and Ross LaManna moves along swiftly, from Hong Kong to L.A. to Vegas with nary of moment of zen-like meditation to accomplish any character-building. The humor, such as it is, is based on physical action except for one great racially tinged gag about an entertainer's color. The coolest stunt in the picture featured Jackie Chan with a grenade taped securely to his mouth while Hu Li (Zhang Ziyi), who is in cahoots with the Triad gang, is trying to get her finger on the button that will blow his 32 teeth into his brain--as the malignant star of "Crouching Tiger" puts it. Roselyn Sanchez and Zhang Ziyi could easily make the cut for the next Bond movie ("Bond 20") if the producers were scouting the field and Ms. Zhang in particular is absolutely gorgeous. A shame that Mr. Ratner could not have afforded more time for the woman who made "Crouching Tiger" such a vital and engaging movie.

Copyright 2001 Harvey Karten

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