Rush Hour (Blu-ray)
A couple of weeks ago, I was wondering where Chris Tucker had disappeared to. The last time he appeared on the big screen was for the third installment of this franchise, RUSH HOUR. Tucker just sort of took off with no reason why and would pop back up for charity functions. When you watch this film, it reminds you of Tucker’s place in the film industry whether he was a one-note actor or not. I’ll be the first one to say that I miss Tucker and was glad to hear that he might be starring in a new Warner Bros. film called THE RABBIT. All that aside, let’s look back to 1998’s team-up between Tucker and Jackie Chan.
When the film begins we are introduced to Inspector Lee (Chan) who is two seconds away from recovering precious stolen artifacts in his home of Hong Kong. He’s also about 10 ft away from capturing Sang (Ken Leung), a criminal he’s been after for awhile. Unfortunately Sang flees, but the artifacts are retrieved. Okay, the end, you can go home now. Not so fast, this story is just beginning.
In Los Angeles, Chinese Diplomat Consul Han (Tzi Ma) is settling in from his move to America with his daughter, Soo Yun (Julia Hsu). The morning starts off normal with Han sending Soo off to school. Soo doesn’t get too far and is kidnapped by Sang. When Han finds out the news he sends for his close friend Inspector Lee. With the FBI already on the case, they aren’t too happy with the overseas help. So instead of making Han made by saying no, they come up with a plan to send out an L.A.P.D. cop to keep Lee away from the investigation.
Cue Detective James Carter (Tucker) who is a bit of a joke amongst his fellow officers. Carter basically treats LA like it’s the Wild West. He does things on his own terms with his mouth moving ninety miles a minute. Carter is seen as a liability to the force. In an early scene between Carter and a career criminal named Clive (Chris Penn), a car is blown up without any regard for bystanders or other passing vehicles. Due to these never ending shenanigans, Carter is sent by his superior to babysit Inspector Lee for the FBI. This is where the fun starts. Lee meets Carter when he is picked up at the airport. Carter assumes that Lee doesn’t speak any English after several attempts at shouting in his face. After driving all around LA, Lee makes several attempts to escape since it’s obvious that Carter is keeping him away from Consul Han. You can guess where things go from here. Lee and Carter finally bond at one point and team-up for the greater good. Despite the constant amount of warnings from the FBI, Lee and Carter end up solving the case fairly quick.
I might get some flack for saying this but RUSH HOUR is one of the better attempts at a buddy cop film. If this were made in the 80’s, it would have been golden. It would have been good competition for LETHAL WEAPON even if it does have more of a 48 HOURS feel to it. In 1998, this film did quite well at the box-office. However, I think it was made now in 2010 it may not have been received as well. Adam McKay’s THE OTHER GUYS only under performed because audiences don’t seem as interested in those types of films anymore. They want gritty, realistic crime or just straight out lowbrow humor. I think that RUSH HOUR would get less flack if a.) Brett Ratner wasn’t the director b.) people weren’t annoyed by Chris Tucker and c.) if they wouldn’t have run the franchise into the ground.
So the film is a little goofy but as I said it’s one of the better buddy cop movies. So what if Tucker and Chan seem to be known for one style of acting, it’s what they do best. The action in the film keeps you on your toes and is nicely balanced out with the banter between the two leads. If you already have it on DVD it’s just one of those that you watch because you are a fan. If you don’t already own it, it’s something that you watch on a slow Sunday afternoon. For the fans, the Blu-ray might be worth the upgrade if you are converting your collection. Overall the film is great mindless entertainment that ranks a little higher than average.
Video: The quality here is surprisingly average. I took notice of the richness of the reds and dark tones but was never wowed by anything. It should feel like a Blu-ray right? (2.40:1 Widescreen).
Audio: Every little bit of sound is nice and clear here. The audio quality is much better than most of the Blu-rays I review. If you have a good surround sound set-up, I think you’ll really enjoy this one. (ex: 5.1 DTS-HD).
Commentary with Brett Ratner: Whether you are a fan of Ratner or not, he actually throws together a pretty decent commentary. He really gets into a lot of the details here. There’s also info on the stunts in the film, which I find quite interesting. If you’re a fan, I’d check it out.
Isolated Score with commentary by Composer Lalo Schifrin: This was another surprise included on the Blu-ray. Schifrin goes over the music and why it fits well with the scene it compliments. Good stuff.
Additional Scenes (3:00): A few short scenes that were obvious choices to cut out of the film. I’d skip it.
A Piece of Action: Behind the Scenes of Rush Hour featurette (41:00): This is the best part of the special features. It’s a little better than average behind the scenes look at the film. Worth the time if you are interested.
Ratner’s short film Whatever Happened to Mason Reese? (13:00): This short film of Ratner’s focuses on former child actor, Mason Reese. I feel like this does Reese more harm that good. Why Ratner took this approach I have no idea.
Music Videos: Dru Hill’s “How Deep Is Your Love?” and Heavy D & the Boyz “Nuttin’ but Love” (8:00): Ratner shows off two music videos that he directed. Yeah dude, we get it. I’m not really into this genre of music, but if you are you might enjoy it.