THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan


I once saw an interview with Rush Hour director Brett Ratner in which he offered his opinion on why the pairing of Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan works so well: "Neither of them has any idea what the hell the other is saying." I couldn't have put it better myself. The combination is so odd and unexpected that it achieves a weird kind of comic perfection. After the phenomenal success of Rush Hour, it only stood to reason that a sequel would eventually find its way to theaters.

Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan build a case from the ground up in Rush Hour 2
Rush Hour 2 begins with cops Carter (Tucker) and Lee (Chan) in Hong Kong. Carter is supposedly there on a vacation, but when an American embassy is bombed, he soon gets roped into helping Lee investigate. Their search takes them to Ricky Tan (John Lone), a leader of one of Hong Kong's infamous Triads. He denies being responsible for the bombing. The cops aren't sure they believe him, especially after several run-ins with a beautiful and deadly assassin (Zhang Ziyi from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) who seems to be in his employ.

Also hovering around the case are an American tycoon (Alan King) and his sexy girlfriend (Roselyn Sanchez). When Carter and Lee corner her, she claims to be an undercover agent, although her credibility is questionable. The investigation takes them back to Los Angeles, and then to Las Vegas, where the case is solved in a flurry of action.

Rush Hour 2 features all the requisite stunts you'd expect from a Jackie Chan movie. There are plenty of bone-crunching fights and martial arts sequences. My favorite takes place in a casino where Chan uses poker chips and cabinet doors as weapons against his opponents. Part of what makes the action scenes work is that Tucker and Ziyi also have martial arts training; they look credible going toe-to-toe with Chan.

There really isn't a whole lot to say about Rush Hour 2 because it's pretty much on par with the original. The winning formula has not been tampered with. Chan and Tucker are funny not understanding what the hell the other is saying, and the action scenes are exciting. It's rare for a sequel to match the original. Usually the filmmakers try to go bigger and louder. This one keeps everything exactly the same. The only real downside is that, because we've seen this before, it no longer feels new. But it does give viewers exactly what they expect, and for a sequel, that's what really counts.

( out of four)

Rush Hour 2 is rated PG-13 for action violence, language and some sexual material. The running time is 1 hour and 28 minutes.
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