From director Brett Ratner comes this amusing romp that showcases both Jackie Chan’s physical and Chris Tucker’s verbal skills. Rush Hour is a light, entertaining action comedy that plays to its strengths and is all the better for it.
After his daughter is kidnapped, Chinese Consul Han (Tzi Ma) enlists the help of the FBI and Hong Kong Detective Lee (Jackie Chan), a close family friend, to investigate. With the FBI reluctant to let any third party into their investigation, they pair Lee up with nuisance LAPD Detective Carter (Chris Tucker) in order to keep them both out of the way.
The mismatched pair, not being content with sitting out the investigation, grudgingly work together to find the missing girl, Soo Yung (Julia Hsu). They invariably make things worse by struggling to work as a team and bumbling from one situation to the next, with consistently amusing results.
Pairing together a quiet, self-effacing martial arts expert with a loud, obnoxious motor mouth will always conjure up amusing scenarios. Add to that the obvious culture clash of East meets West, then you’ve got comedy gold. While it doesn’t mine this comedy resource to depletion, Rush Hour explores it enough to keep everything light-hearted and fun.
Aside from being a stunt maestro, Jackie Chan has a knack for portraying cheeky, amiable characters like Lee. Chan plays him as a quiet, humble man, essentially the polar opposite of Chris Tucker’s Carter. Carter is rambunctious, with a big mouth but also a big heart which makes him almost endearing. The interactions between the two are funny and are a welcome accompaniment to the incredible stunts that Chan is known for.
While it isn’t built around a plot that is particularly original or engaging, Rush Hour is still a fun action comedy. The comedy elements are good, the action is excellent and it all equates to an inoffensive, enjoyable caper that’ll keep you smiling throughout.