Rush Hour (1998)

Directed by Brett Ratner
Written by Jim Kouf, based on a story by Ross LaManna
Starring Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Tom Wilkinson, Elizabeth Peņa, Tzi Ma

My Advice: Matinee.

The Chinese Consul Han (Ma) has come to the United States after serving with the police force in Hong Kong.  Shortly after arriving, his past comes back to haunt him as Hong Kong crimelord Juntao has his daughter (Julia Hsu) kidnapped.  The consul calls in his best man from the homeland, Detective Inspector Lee (Chan), who gets saddled with loose mouth and loose cannon Detective Carter (Tucker) in an effort to keep him out of the FBI's way.

Surprisingly enough, the trailer's funny--and the movie's even funnier.  Enjoyable and action-packed, too.  What a concept.  They've basically taken the old standby story template of "Pair two cops together that wouldn't work together under normal circumstances if their respective lives depended on it."  Here's the twist though: both the cops involved are at major, major extremes.  Tucker plays his character like Axel Foley on speed.  Chan plays his character like, well, Jackie Chan, whose comic timing is about as sharp as his combat timing.  Hearing him sing "War" is worth the price of admission.  They also have worthy villains in the guise of Juntao and also his right-hand henchperson, Sang (Ken Leung). 

Granted, some of the buddy-buddy stuff almost slips into trite territory, whenever it slides toward the serious.  Luckily, it's usually a short-lived occurrence and a setup for another humorous exchange.  For example, when the two begin swapping stories of their fathers, who served as their inspiration for becoming cops, it deteriorates into a laughable "My dad can beat up your dad" contest.  So it drags its heels in some places, but for the most part is an enjoyable ride with plenty of laughs.  Go catch a matinee and tell 'em I sent you.  They won't know who I am, but do it anyway.

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