Urban Cinefile
"So they looked at me: d'you wanna kill....? yeah, I'll kill 'em, doesn't worry me."  -Temuera Morrison on his role in The Island of Dr Moreau
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Friday May 22, 2020 

Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE



Detective Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan) is one of Hong Kong's leading police officers. With the support of Han (Tzi Ma), the Chinese consul, Lee has helped confiscate millions of dollars worth of weapons, drugs, and priceless Chinese artefacts previously owned by Juntao, one of Hong Kong's most powerful crime lords. When Han is sent on a diplomatic mission to the U.S., however, things quickly change for Lee. Seeking revenge for losing his personal, but illegal fortune, the still anonymous Juntao has one of his henchmen, Sang (Ken Leung), abduct Han's eleven-year-old daughter, Soo Yung (Julia Hsu), for whom Lee has served as a bodyguard, and hold her for a large ransom. Han sends for his old friend Lee, but the FBI doesn't want any outside intrusion to complicate the kidnapping case, so they assign James Carter (Chris Tucker), a fast talking, arrogant and reckless LAPD detective, to babysit Lee, keeping him away from the proceedings. Big mistake . . .

"Rush Hour is a real rush: energetic, funny, involving and effortlessly entertaining, it’s a credit to the specific genre that includes Eddie Murphy’s funny buddy cop movies, where the black gerkhin of a cop is at once a foil for the comedy and a motivator for so much of the action. Tucker, if anything, outdoes Murphy at Murphy-ism, and Jackie Chan makes a spectacularly successful entrance to Hollywood in this vehicle. He shows why he has amassed such a following: he is entirely cool, endearingly charming, funny, and physically brilliant. Rush Hour throws down the gauntlet for similar action flicks to show fight sequences in such wide shots (not used when stunts are performed by body doubles), thanks to Chan’s athletics. His own stunt work defies belief. But the film also has lots of charm, which makes it more than palatable for the grown up movie lover. The characters in the story are more or less predictable, but that is rescued by the effective ‘business’ introduced through the script and the characters. Escapism plus."
Andrew L. Urban

"It would be fair to say that we've seen this movie dozens of times before. Hope and Crosby, Martin and Lewis, Chan and Tucker? Maybe so. Rush Hour begins like any conventional action movie, with Hong Kong as backdrop, on its last day as a British colony. An interesting twist. With the irreverent Tucker and the agile Chan as a mismatched duo, the film comes surprisingly alive. The verbal jousting between the two, and the cultural differences, makes for a smart, hip film, a rollercoaster ride of entertainment that is a pleasure to watch and listen to. For the most part, this is a hilarious film, crisply and energetically directed, a reminder of the original Beverly Hills Cop. Tucker is a comic powerhouse, whose talents are tested here. From his body language to verbal inflections, Tucker breezes through this role with comic force, providing a brilliant foil to the more bemused Jackie. He's no slouch either, moving with a symmetrical grace rarely seen by martial arts performers. He's an extraordinary physical performer, and many of his fight sequences are as perfectly choreographed as a ballet. Rush Hour is little more than an old fashioned buddy cop film, but this time round, the two central performers are having so much fun, that it rubs off on an unsuspecting audience. In short, it's a hoot of a film, an unpretentious crowd pleaser that doesn't pretend to be more than it is."
Paul Fischer

"The high-kicking, butt-whipping Jackie Chan is back in action in his comfortable-as-an-old-shoe role as a Hong Kong detective. On this occasion, he's transplanted in America and teamed with the motor-mouthed Chris Tucker. While the martial arts action is often sensational and there are some funny lines, Rush Hour certainly doesn't break any new ground. The plot is strictly by the numbers - the only real surprise being the lack of more explosions (there are two). The only really taxing thing about the storyline is counting up all the holes in it. Chan is as charming and as balletic as we've come to expect. Although he's showing his age, in terms of pure acting ability, he runs rings around most other martial arts actors. Tucker gets most of the good lines in the film, and his wise-cracking delivery and bad-ass attitude are a plus. But his on-screen persona soon becomes annoying. And more fundamentally, despite the script calling for him to "grow" as the movie progresses, he plays Carter throughout at the same frenetic pitch. Tom Wilkinson doesn't really have much to do, but it's good to see he's breaking out of his "Brit film" mould; and Tzi Ma is suitably stoic as the suffering father of the kidnapped girl. Rush Hour is a formulaic action vehicle for Chan and Tucker; but given its box-office success in the US (likely to be repeated here), expect to see a franchise - a la Lethal Weapon - developed for this duo."
David Edwards

Email this article


Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

See our FEATURE on the making of Rush Hour



CAST: Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Elizabeth Pena, Tom Wilkinson, Philip Baker Hall, Mark Rolston, Tzi Ma, Rex Linn, Ken Leung, Chris Penn

DIRECTOR: Brett Ratner

PRODUCER: Roger Birnbaum, Arthur Sarkissian

SCRIPT:Jim Kouf and Ross Lamanna


EDITOR: Mark Hefrich ACE

MUSIC: Lalo Schifrin


RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 14, 1999




VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Entertainment

© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2020