|The so-called "buddy movie" has long been a staple of summer blockbuster fare and Rush Hour 2 is no exception. In this second installment of a series which can now be considered a franchise (because another one is surely on the way, no doubt), the action is just as extreme and the locations are more glamorous, and as is common with most sequels: There's more money, more locations, and larger explosions. Of course, this didn't stop the screenwriters from making sure that the plot really has no bearing on what happens in the film.|
And plot of the movie is easy enough. After the U.S. embassy in Hong Kong is bombed, Chris and Jackie's characters find out one of the leaders of a Hong Kong triad is distributing "superbills," a superior type of counterfeit 100 dollar bills. And so the action begins as they try to find who's responsible for all this mayhem. This light and uninvolved plot serves only as a device to propel Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker to the next scene where lots of bootie kickin' will surely commence.
And this is fine, because the multiple one-liners from both main characters create a fun atmosphere for two actors who have good onscreen chemistry.
Unlike some films whose casting agents must have been drunk during their casting sessions (just see Wild Wild West, Chill Factor, need I go on), Rush has a good cast. There are even a few kick-butting women in this one that make the film not seem like such a testosterone fest. Ziyi Zhang plays a women tied to the Hong Kong triads and Roselyn Sanchez is a mystery woman also connected to the crimes.
And although neither woman was in the lead role, both had strong performances and were anything but wimpy. It was refreshing to see this movie free of damsels in distress. But that doesn't mean that this film wasn't filled to brim with action sequences and explosions and car chases and . . . you get the idea. You know what you're going to get in a Jackie Chan movie. And this is pretty standard Jackie Chan. Each sequence is filled with his trademark gravity-defying moves and is backed up with Chris Tucker's unique style of comedy. I say unique only because sometimes Tucker gets a little bizarre with his jokes and with his voice.
That whiny tin-like voice whose pitch seems to rise and fall exponentially with the amount of danger in the situation pops in every once in a while. But in this flick, Tucker was a little more toned down that he usually is. (anyone remember The Fifth Element?) Tucker's mile-a-minute mouth is a good contrast to Jackie Chan's sloppy English, which is sometimes even more funny than the jokes themselves. The comedy between the two leads works very well. Most of the dialogue is one-liners and slapstick, and Chan and Tucker really know how to deliver their lines.
Don't expect anything literary or profound in the film, but do expect to root for the heroes and care about what happens to them. So often in films today, the characters who deserve sympathy from the audience are really just lack-luster. I mean, did you care what happened to Arnold Schwarzenegger in End of Days? Chan and Tucker on the other hand portray likeable characters whose plight (though not serious) the audience can sympathize with. Add to that the fact that both actors look as if they had had great time filming this movie.
At the end of the film there are jackie's trademark bloopers that show the entire cast laughing and goofing off during the filming. When I saw this movie in the theater, nobody got up from their seats when the end credits began to roll because everyone knew the bloopers were coming. It's interesting, but I don't have any big things to complain about in this movie. Chan has been making these action film for a couple of decades now and he has the formula down. And Tucker, although sometimes annoying, has a good sense of comic timing and is a good partner to Chan's usually serious character.
The ensemble cast was also enjoyable, though there were no characters that stood out largely in the film. The pace of the movie was agreeable and it wasn't too long. Now why did i give this seemingly simple summer action flick three stars? Because I went to this film with very high expectations (given that I really enjoyed the first one) and this flick met every one of them. I was wary of the sequel genre to begin with. Just look at another "buddy movie" franchise: Lethal Weapon. Did any of the sequels match the original? It's hard to top a great film with an even better or as good sequel.
Perhaps the only film I can think of is the second Godfather. And that's the exception to the rule. Okay, okay, I like The Mummy sequel too. But Rush Hour 2 is a welcome rush of brain inactivity that's fun to watch. You won't find any deep thoughts or profound wisdom in this movie, but you will have a fun time watching two great comedians on the screen.
Review by Kelsey Wyatt.