"Motor Mouth & Motor Hands"
A seemingly odd mix of contradictions, RUSH HOUR nevertheless provides adequate entertainment. It mixes fast hands with a fast mouth, and includes some Christian content in an otherwise rough movie which raises the bar for the number of obscenities in a PG-13 rated movie. Still thrilling to watch, but showing his age, Jackie Chan pairs up with Chris Tucker in a LETHAL WEAPON-style thriller mixing action, comedy and some subtle race issues.
Chan plays Detective Inspector Lee, the pride of the Royal Hong Kong Police. A tough, dedicated cop, he is also a martial arts genius. He is friends with the Chinese Consul Han (Tzi Ma) and teaches martial arts to the Consul’s 11-year-old daughter Soo Yung (Julia Hsu). Lee is both her bodyguard and best friend.
The Consul moves to America when Hong Kong is taken over by the Chinese government. There, a criminal mastermind named Juantao, played by Tom Wilkinson, kidnaps little Soo Yung. Pretending to be the Consul’s friend, Juantao killed Lee’s partner. The FBI decides to investigate the kidnapping, but Han invites Lee to come over to America to participate. Frustrated by Lee’s presence, the FBI asks LAPD to assign a man to baby-sit Lee and keep him away from the investigation. Therefore, the LAPD assign Officer Carter (Chris Tucker) to the case. Carter is nothing but trouble to the force, and they feel this special assignment will get him out of their hair, at least for a moment.
When Lee meets Carter, they mix like oil and water. Not only can they not understand each other, but Lee keeps escaping so that he can involve himself in the investigation again. Soon, the pair learn to get along. Their combined talents provide a formidable match for Juantao.
Depending on your tastes, Chris Tucker may be one of the funniest men in movies today, or the most irritating. Taking a lot of cues from an early foul-mouthed Eddie Murphy, Tucker talks fast and laces his humor with many obscenities. Surprisingly, the Atlanta-based comedian also includes a few nods to Christianity, perhaps exposing a Christian background. For example, he asks his brother why he wasn’t in church on Sunday. On another occasion, when facing certain physical punishment by some thugs, he says, “Why don’t we pray about this?” Finally, at a point of victory, he gives thanks to Jesus. These Christian elements are brief, however, and hardly make up for the dirty language, which may be the highest count yet for a PG-13 movie.
RUSH HOUR is like many Jackie Chan movies in that the action is based on moral causes, and not on vengeance. For instance, Chan’s main goal is to preserve the Consul’s family. RUSH HOUR also has some of Chan’s trademark comical fight scenes. He performs many expected fast hand chops and leg kicks but no death-defying leaps or jaw-dropping stunts. Chan is aging, in fact he is over 40, and so one wonders how long he can sustain his physical prowess.
RUSH HOUR seems to be a summer movie left over. While not special effects laden, it does have plenty of action and comedy. Since it does resemble LETHAL WEAPON, mixing two heroes of different races and sometimes playing off their differences, it seems reasonable the filmmakers would want to hold off on releasing this movie. Though perhaps not as strong as LETHAL WEAPON, RUSH HOUR positions itself to suggest future sequels. As Chan ages further, it may be a wise career move to let someone else help shoulder the load, but Tucker seems to invest his talent into annoying characters. RUSH HOUR is no classic, nor a big money item, but mainly seems to be a stepping stone for two actors in transition.
(B, C, LLL, VV, A, DD, M) Light moral worldview of taking care of family with a few Christian elements including thanks to Jesus, a call to prayer & a man asks his brother why he wasn't in church; 64 obscenities & 12 profanities including one from a girl who copies an adult; extensive action violence including shooting, explosions, chase scenes, hand-to-hand combat, kicking, & falls; no sex; no nudity; alcohol use; smoking & brief marijuana smoking which is rebuked; and, kidnapping & corruption in the FBI.