Rush Hour (1998)

(In theaters, September 1998) One of the best buddy-cop movies you have already not yet seen. The standard formula (reluctant partners battling crime and developing respect for each other… yadda-yadda) is faithfully respected, but enhanced by the charisma of both leads Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan. The racist jokes are (mostly) defused by various factors, not the less being Tucker’s character’s complete social ineptitude. Chan isn’t as good here as his other movies, but still shine. Various clichés here and there (bomb defusing-by-cutting-wires… sigh) but still a lot of fun. Don’t miss it.

(Second viewing, On DVD, September 1999) Use boilerplate buddy-cop movie template. Insert Chris Tucker. Insert Jackie Chan. Stir as necessary. The result isn’t great, but it is certainly enjoyable, even on a second viewing. Chan remains impressive despite being restrained by American insurance concerns. Tucker isn’t as annoying as in his previous films. The DVD has a few interesting options, like a great commentary track by director Brett Ratner (though he pretty much destroys the illusion of a carefully-planned movie by pointing out all the last-minute ad-libs) and a documentary which features an extended long take where you can see Jackie Chan planning one of his bravura fight sequences. There are also more goodies like some of Ratner’s previous work, and a few deleted scenes (one of which, the visit to Peña’s apartment, should have been kept in the film.)

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