Yesterday’s Matinee: Rush Hour

8 08 2007

by maddness

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Brett Ratner might be the smartest man in Hollywood, or at least he knows something a lot do not. How is it that the director could have made millions of dollars on the pairing of two actors; a typical “odd couple”? Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker first teamed in 1998 in Ratner’s Rush Hour, an Action/Comedy hybrid, follows the fast talking, sarcastic LAPD Detective Carter (Tucker) and a combat ready Detective from China (Chan) through the streets of Los Angeles on the trail of dirty politicians, kidnappers, and a lot of jokes the audience can see coming. Tucker might as well be on the porch with Ice Cube in this film, as this time he appears to be his famed “Smokey” character from Friday with a badge and a different best friend. Yet Ratner made millions, as the movie flirted with the #1 slot for many weeks after its release in ’98. What is the secret? Why didn’t the combinations of Tim Robbins & Martin Lawrence, Bernie Mac & Ashton Kutcher, or Chris Rock & Anthony Hopkins make a load at the box office?

The truth is that Rush Hour gives us the perfect dose of Chris Tucker. One liners and humorous dance moves in between Chan’s displays of brilliant martial arts techniques are what Chris Tucker is good at; and he knows that. He knows his voice is one wave away from not only scratching the chalkboard, but putting your head through it. These reasons are why Tucker lays low in between films, only picking ones where there is a director who knows how to use him, and Ratner is that man. The plot may be easy and Tucker or Chan may not be able to act their way out of a wet paper bag, but you will be repeating “Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?” the day after watching Rush Hour. You cannot get too bored in this film either, as there is a decent mix in of action sequences, highlighted by the finale in a museum of precious Chinese artifacts.

Failed buddy comedies usually don’t succeed because the film tries to do too much. It either tries to hard at the humor, or makes the mistake of having a stand-up comedian try to carry a dramatic scene. Where Ratner succeeds is simplicity. He knows Chan is good for his on-screen fighting and doing his own tremendous stunts, so he lets him do it. Ratner knows Tucker is good for the lines you hear when people are quoting movie lines among friends, so with the help of writers Ross LaManna and Jim Kouf, he makes that happen too in Rush Hour. Bottom line: if you desire to think during a movie, do not sit through Rush Hour. If you want a few decent lines to repeat and see a few good fights, then check it out. Rush Hour is at least a space filler in the slot Beverly Hills Cop opened in the 80s. It serves its purpose, and while critics will say it is too easy and mindless, they probably will be quoting Lee and Carter, waiting in line for Rush Hour 2.

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One response

31 10 2010
Magnesium Ascorbate :

just the mere look of Chris Rock would give you laughs already _

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