Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Rush Hour (1998) Review:

Buddy cop films are major attention grabbers for audiences who love odd pairings of individuals. For every movie that relies on this type of comedy, the two that star in this film require a trait that's totally different from the other. The other trait that these characters have is that they are both extremely good at their career. Once they recognize that they have that in common, character development occurs. Director Brett Ratner has this in the film, but it makes a point of being different from the usual.

Chris Tucker & Jackie Chan
Rush Hour is the story of when two cops, from two different areas of the world, come together to solve a big case. Chinese officer, Lee (Jackie Chan), has been chasing down a crime lord until the man he works for has his child kidnapped by the villain and taken to America. American officer, Carter (Chris Tucker), has been nothing but trouble to L.A. police department. His last case almost got him suspended until he gets a call from the F.B.I. to do a special job for them. The job is the same as Lee's job, and that's how these two characters end up working together.

Tucker is great as a self-centered, obnoxious, loud-mouthed jerk. Amazing enough is that his character is quite alluring for the amount of trash talk that he uses. So much of the talk is stereotypical statements:

"Don't ever touch a black man's radio!".

Sure that's funny. But replacing the word "a black man's" with the word "my", or "Carter's" is just as comical. There should be no reason to generalize statements. And Carter says more than just that. How is someone like that even hired into a police department? Police departments have moral codes for their officers. It even questions the standards of the L.A.P.D.

The kidnapper of the little girl
Chan is always fun to watch. His fighting techniques are well developed and they're even funnier when he has to improvise on the spot. To come up with such ways of getting his way around, it's impressive. And although Chan is known for being the master of action, Tucker has his moments too. He may not have a fighting style but it's gratifying to see that screenwriter, Jim Kouf, allowed the characters of Lee and Carter to evolve in a mutual relationship. Carter even learned some new moves and he reciprocates them and even impresses his partner.

Much of these exchanges are funny. Carter's mouth couldn't be any louder and Lee's hands couldn't be any faster. But audiences may still be lost in that their exchanges are not as hysterical as they should be. I had my chuckles and small laughs, but I never burst out laughing. I wanted to but the power of these two actors just couldn't bring enough laughs to the screen and it was disappointing. Lalo Schifrin composed the film score and it slightly reminisces the theme from The Mean Season (1985) with its trumpet in the background.

It is another buddy cop movie, but its marginal use of stereotypical comments gives its audiences a different experience. However, it may not generate as many laughs as expected.

Points Earned --> 8:10

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