Rush Hour (1998) / Action-Comedy

MPAA Rated: PG-13 for violence and language
Running time: 97 min.

Cast: Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Tom Wilkinson, Ken Leung, Elizabeth Pena, Chris Penn, Philip Baker Hall, Tzi Ma, Rex Linn, Mark Rolston, Julia Hsu
Director: Brett Ratner
Screenplay: Jim Kouf, Ross LaManna
Review published August 14, 2007

Consul Han's (Tzi Ma, Chain Reaction) 11-year-old daughter is kidnapped and held for a $50 million ransom. The FBI are on the case, but he flies in an old friend and police inspector named Lee (Chan, Who Am I?) from China to help in the search. The FBI think Lee will only get in the way, so they hire an LAPD officer named James Carter (Tucker, Jackie Brown) to keep Lee out of the FBI's way. Lee proves to be more allusive than Carter hopes and soon they are in the thick of things, jeopardizing the FBI operation at every step.

There's something wrong with a film which has more entertainment value in watching the flubs during the closing credits than in the 90 minutes of the actual story. The charisma of the two leads is about the only thing to recommend with this disappointing albeit watchable action/comedy. The kung fu and stunt action is a definite asset, though far from the usual stellar work we're accustomed to seeing with Jackie. Tucker gets his share of laughs, but those are due to his humorous demeanor rather than the script having any pithy lines of note for him to deliver.

The direction by Brett Ratner (Red Dragon, Money Talks) is serviceable and the look of the film is aided by some nice set designs and quality cinematography.  Alas, the film suffers from the usual buddy movie clichés of having most viewer interest brought about from the interaction of the two leads amid the most threadbare and derivative of plots. Credit Tucker and Chan for whatever entertainment value there is to be had, because had anyone else starred in this film it would have been unbearable.

-- Followed by Rush Hour 2 (2001) and Rush Hour 3 (2007).

Qwipster's rating:

©1999 Vince Leo