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"Rush Hour 2"

Directed by Brett Ratner.
Written by Jeff Nathanson. 
Starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.
Release Year:  2001 
Review Date:  8/3/01 

Folks--

The first "Rush Hour" was funny, the trailer for the second "Rush Hour" was funny...and, thank God almighty, the sequel was hilarious!!

In this, the worst summer for movies in my 20-year moviewatching history, "Rush Hour 2" is the movie to see.  Granted, it--and, no other movie for that matter--is not perfect, but it IS the summer movie season, and this movie has all the ingredients you could ever ask for in a film.

-->Laughs.

This is probably the best job I have seen any director do of giving us just the right amount of motormouth Chris Tucker, so credit must go to Brett Ratner for delivering a film that has just the right amount of Tucker's mile-a-minute dialogue.  And, Tucker is hilarious in "Rush Hour 2."  I am sure that some of this is improvisation, but whatever isn't made up on the spot is pretty well written and takes many small punches at Asian culture and black stereotypes throughout the film.  My favorite?  That would be tough...but, I will say that the massage parlor scene when Tucker (as LAPD detective Carter) is shown a collection of women from which to choose had my entire theater rolling.  Note that many of this film's laughs come at the expense of racism, which is fine by me but might take the occasional uptight person offguard.  I was impressed at how many funny scenes were NOT shown in the trailer, which is all too rare, friends.

-->Action & adventure.

Hey, if you are going to see "Rush Hour 2", part of why you are going is to see Jackie Chan--reprising his role as the ingeniously-named Inspector Lee--whoop somebody's ass.  And, while the action in this film is nothing earth-shattering, it is still cool to see an actor do his own stunts.  Chan does the standard-issue run-up-the-wall move and it still impresses the hell out of me.  And, Tucker does a little more fighting in this movie and--because all of the fighting is played for fun; this IS PG-13--the fight scenes are both impressive and comical.

-->Cameos.

Zhang Ziyi (Jen from "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon") doesn't speak any English in "Rush Hour 2" but her subtitled lines looked tough enough for me.  Plus, she pulls off a couple of badass axe kicks.  Don Cheadle (recently, "Swordfish" and "Traffic") shows up in one scene as an old friend of Carter's in Los Angeles, and while his scene is pretty funny, his outtake at the end had my audience in the aisles.

-->An energetic, sold-out audience.

Gordon, Nancy Nelson and I went over to the multiplex at 10:30 on Friday night (opening weekend), and the show was sold out and every color of the ethnic rainbow was in attendance for the film.  We had a shoving match to get into the theater, a near-fight that featured loud, unadulterated profanity and some of the hottest new cell phone rings around.  Man, I sure do wish I could get a phone that had a cool ring, like some of the high schoolers did tonight.  Plus, my phone antenna doesn't blink bright blue when it rings...I need something like that, too.  Regardless, the audience was as entertaining as the film, and because the movie was funny, there was lots of roaring laughter during some sequences.

-->Hot people.

Okay, for me, it was the women...and, Ziyi's beauty is kind of hard to explain, but I know that I like it!  Roselyn Sanchez (as a US Secret Service agent named Isabella) has lips that almost came out of the movie screen, they were so huge.  But, she was easy on the eyes and hopefully, she will turn up in work that continues to require her to walk around in her Victoria's Secret underwear, which Carter notes at one point in a great line.  For the men and women that like men (hey, I gotta be PC here), there isn't too much beefcake walking around, and unless Chan and Tucker do it for you, you will be hard-pressed to look elsewhere.  I am surprised there was not more eye candy for the male flesh lovers out there, but that didn't factor into my viewing experience!

-->Some semblance of a plot to keep things moving.

Hey, this story wasn't original--Carter and Lee move around the world looking to solve a case involving dead US Customs agents and counterfeit $100-bills--but, it is easy on the mind and provides ample opportunities for the heroes to get into trouble.

-->A great ending.

Trust me, you'll like it...and, you will love the standard-issue Chan outtakes as well.  It must cost millions to insure this guy--he must get hurt every single day.

-->Chemistry.

This might be the most important one, and this is what the original "Rush Hour" did so well--you really like watching these two cops hang out together.  As partners, these are two of the most watchable in recent memory...it kind of evokes the Mel Gibson/Danny Glover partnership of the first two "Lethal Weapon" films, before things started to go south.  Chan plays off the talkative Tucker well, and by the time he threatens to "bitch-slap [Carter] back to Africa", you are laughing and loving it all at once.  Bring on another sequel!!

Rating:  Opening Weekend

 

Comments?  Drop me a line at justin@bellviewmovies.com.

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09