Perhaps the best way to describe "Rush Hour" is "too little of a good thing and too much of a bad thing." In other words, this disappointing comedic action-thriller doesn't feature nearly enough Jackie Chan action and has way too much Chris Tucker dialogue.
Frankly, the last couple of Chan movies have gone awry because they didn't have enough of his trademark acrobatic fight scenes. "Rush Hour" compounds the problem by repeating that mistake and then throwing in the ultra-annoying Tucker for good measure.It's clear what the thinking is here - Chan can't carry a movie like this by himself (evidently the producers haven't paid attention to any of his films). Instead, what we get is a lame attempt to duplicate "48HRS."
Unfortunately, Tucker doesn't have even an ounce of Eddie Murphy's charm and the only times the movie really works are those few scenes in which Chan lets his fists and feet do the talking.
Tucker stars as James Carter, an LAPD detective about to be suspended for his reckless actions. At wit's end, his superiors agree to loan Carter out to the FBI for a special mission, the investigation into the kidnapping of the daughter of the Chinese consul.
Though his mission sounds important, it actually requires him to "baby-sit" Detective Inspector Lee (Chan), a Royal Hong Kong Police investigator assigned to find the girl (Julia Hsu), who also happens to be his prize student.
At first, the two men butt heads. But eventually, they join forces in an effort to save the girl, as well as track down the mysterious criminal mastermind responsible for the kidnapping and the slaying of Lee's original partner.
Director Brett Ratner ("Money Talks") spends too much time trying to develop this awful "buddy cop" situation, which simply doesn't work. He also seems to have a hard time keeping up with Chan, at least during the crucial fighting sequences.
(For example, there are a couple of scenes in which Chan's face is captured perfectly, even though the camera should probably be focusing on his footwork instead.)
And as mentioned, Tucker's high-pitched squealing is an irritant. On the other, Chan deserves some credit for putting up with Tucker's shenanigans, as well as making the action sequences somewhat lively.
"Rush Hour" is rated PG-13 for violent martial-arts fighting and gunplay, profanity, use of racial epithets and ethnic slurs, use of vulgar slang, simulated drug use and gore.