Thursday, May 18, 2017

Movie Review: Rush Hour 2

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Comedy and action as driven by the stars
Cons: Stars and their strengths overshadow other elements of film
The Bottom Line:
Comedy, action
Combine again in sequel
Mindless yet still fun

Action and Comedy Go Global

While I know I saw the original Rush Hour in theaters back in the day, I know I have never seen the sequels.  Thanks to TV, I’ve been able to fix that by watching Rush Hour 2.  While not the original, it is a fun movie.

This film picks up not too long after the original as Los Angeles detective Carter (Chris Rock) is in Hong Kong visiting his new friend Hong Kong detective Lee (Jackie Chan).  Carter is on vacation, but Lee is back to work, or at least trying to work.  Carter’s insistence on being a tourist is making it hard to focus on anything.

Then two American translators are killed when a bomb is delivered to the American embassy.  That sets Lee off on a trail that leads him to an old foe.  Meanwhile, he is dragging Carter around on the investigation without Carter knowing they are working a case.  Will the two solve this case?  Where will it lead them?

Honestly, we’re watching these movies to see Jackie Chan’s impressive martial arts skills and hear Chris Rock’s funny lines, and that’s a good thing since the plot is little more than an excuse for the two to shine.  Yes, the plot gets better as it goes along, but if you are looking for action and laughs, you’ll get plenty.  At times both overwhelm the story, but in the end the story does make sense and pulls you in.

Since the movie is really a star vehicle, the success of the movie really rests on Chris Rock and Jackie Chan.  Fortunately, they do a good job with the material.  I did find that Chris Rock started to annoy me a time or two, but then something would happen to propel the story forward and I’d be enjoying the movie again.  And Jackie Chan’s fights are so impressive and fun.  I would watch the movie for that alone.  The rest of the cast is good, but they are basically there to make the stars look good, and they do that well.

The result is a movie filled with action and comedy.  And action comedy.  After all, Jackie Chan’s movies are filled with action sequences that make you laugh with their creativity and unexpected bits.  Think of it as mostly martial arts with a dash of slapstick.  Honestly, it’s why his movies are so popular – he’s just plain fun.

Rush Hour 2 isn’t great cinema, but it is entertaining.  Since that’s all it set out to do, it succeeds.  Turn it on when you want to watch a mindless action film, and you’ll enjoy.

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