This is the film for anyone who eagerly snapped up the invariably awful quality videos of Jackie Chan during the 80s, and cheered when Channel 4 decided to show some of his movies on late night TV in the early 90s. "Rush Hour" is a vindication of what some of us have always known: that Jackie is a screen legend.
Yet while this is a cracking Hollywood action comedy thriller, seasoned JC fans will not be too impressed. Sure, it's worth seeing him conquer US cinemas, but this is no true showcase of his talents. Where are the laughter-crippling slapstick antics of "Project A", the frightening stunts of "Police Story", or the awesome set-pieces of "Armour of God"? For seasoned Chan fans, "Rush Hour" only glimpses into what the man can do.
Director Brett Ratner knows this, but he would also argue quite rightly that none of those films ever broke Jackie to an international audience, their set-pieces were sometimes too protracted, and their humour a bit tiresome. What Ratner has done is strike an ideal balance by creating a film that trades on Chan's genuine screen charm and allows him to showcase a few tricks, revolving around a single joke of culture shock.
The shock is Chris Tucker. He has a great performance in him yet to give, but for "Rush Hour" he's the motor-mouth stream of verbal humour that provides the perfect foil for Jackie's physical comedy. Plot? Oh yeah, little girl kidnapped in Hong Kong, Jackie goes to the US to save her, and is mismatched with LA cop Tucker. That's it, and between the two of them, Tucker and Chan deliver a movie enjoyable enough to make you want to see the sequel.
Read a review of the sequel.
Read a review of the Region 1 "Rush Hour" DVD.