A couple of years ago, Jackie Chan, the "Master of Smash" made his Hollywood debut with Rush Hour, a funny movie costarring Chris Tucker. Rush Hour became a big hit, even if it did lack a lot of the amazing stunts that have made Chan famous.
It is 2001 and Rush Hour 2 is in theaters, marking Chan's third Hollywood film (the second being Shanghai, boasting the same ups and downs as his other movies). Tucker is back as well, but this time they are in Hong Kong investigating the murder of two American Embassy employees.
Rush Hour 2 follows the typical formula for the sequel of a popcorn movie, basically trying to be funnier, more explosive, and overall more entertaining. While most sequels fail all around, Rush Hour 2 manages to do the rare opposite; it is funnier (or at least just as funny), it has more action, and because of the action, it is more entertaining.
The great thing about Rush Hour 2 is that it is able to use many forms of comedy all at once. It has Chris Tucker's loudmouth humor, where he bitterly attacks everything that is going on, Jackie Chan's innocent confusion to Tucker's persona, and the more physical comedy, mainly Chan's trademark prop kung fu fighting style. Tucker manages to keep the audience laughing the entire time, although I must admit I found his character more annoying this time than in the first movie. He acts a little too foolishly for most to believe, starting many situations that should not have been started in the first place, and then rudely blaming it all on Chan afterwards. Chan should just knock him out. Chan got paid less than Tucker for the film but I really think Chan is the drawing power in the film; his comedy, whether he is talking or fighting, is just pleasing to watch.
I have really complained about the lack of action in Chan's recent movies, and have thus been fairly disappointed at first glance with all of his Hollywood productions. After letting them sit for a while, though, I've come to respect Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon for what they are; action comedies leading more towards comedy that are aimed at an American audience. I still want more action though. Rush Hour 2 has more action than its predecessors, with many more fight sequences that actually integrate Tucker a little bit. Chan does a few cool things here and there and shows that he still has it in him, but it is obvious that Hollywood is holding back in letting him do anything really dangerous, like jumping onto moving hovercrafts (as in Rumble in the Bronx, which I consider the high point of Chan's career). The fight sequences are also pretty short, although I must admit that the ending has a pretty long bout of sporadic conflicts.
The only thing I am really disappointed with is the lack of conflict between Jackie Chan and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star Zhang Ziyi. They don't fight once. I was expecting a big, fast, action-packed climax between the two, but instead Tucker gets the honor of taking care of her (and she is taken care of in a pretty stupid way). It would have been really cool to see just a five minute bout between the two fighting masters. Also, both the main bad guys are taken care of pretty quickly; the ending seems rather inconclusive.
Rush Hour 2 is funny, relatively action-packed, and has a decent plot that is just a tad bit darker than its predecessor. This is one of the better movies to come out this summer, and this year.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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