Rush Hour 2
Genre: Action/Adventure, Comedy and Sequel
Running Time: 1 hr. 30 min.
Release Date: August 3, 2001
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for action violence, language and some sexual material.
Director: Brett Ratner
Actors: Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, John Lone, Ziyi Zhang, Roselyn Sanchez
"The blooper reel that runs through the credits almost justifies watching the movie on its own."
Changing the setting and plot doesn't affect the entertainment value of the classic comedy team of Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in the sequel to 1998’s popular thrill-ride Rush Hour. The mismatched pair retain their amazing on-screen chemistry, and the action and stunts get crazier and more elaborate this time out, which in turn eclipses the storyline once again. The plot still suffers from being largely unoriginal, but in this second outing the villains and supporting characters downgrade to an even more trivialistic state.

Detective Carter (Chris Tucker) is on vacation in China with Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan), who secretly decides to start investigating a case that may have ties to his father's death several years ago. When Carter and Lee become involved in an American Embassy bombing case, as well as the targets of hostility from Triad crime lord Ricky Tan (John Lone), their investigation leads them back to Los Angeles and then Nevada to track down those behind the conspiracy. Along the way they are caught up in a deadly game of deception with the Secret Service.

Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan still make a great on-screen team – Chan’s calmer, cooler demeanor perfectly contrasts Tucker's nonstop yapping. Still equal parts comedy and action, the same fish-out-of-water formula that worked for the first film still works for the sequel (though this time the foreigner is Tucker). New quirks include Tucker's appreciation for the Beach boys, while Chan now favors rap. Recurring jokes about the language barrier and racial quips return, and Tucker's fast-paced dialogue still flows like water. We see laugh-out-loud scenes in a karaoke bar, a massage parlor and some hilarious voyeurism involving the lovely Roselyn Sanchez. While nothing is terribly new the comedy-action blend doesn’t get old, despite the fact that there isn't really enough new material to warrant a sequel, let alone the third in the trilogy due out summer 2007.

Don Cheadle and Jeremy Piven make exceptional cameo appearances, and the majority of bit part characters are quite good. It's a shame that the same cannot be said about the major supporting cast. Roselyn Sanchez as Secret Service Agent Isabella offers little more than eye-candy as the “playing them for fools” temptress whose subplot seems ill-contrived and ultimately unnecessary. A strong supporting female character would have been a wise addition, but Isabella’s character falls flat of providing such a presence. Zhang Ziyi as the evil female Triad assassin fills a role invented simply for its “cool” factor, but unfortunately her over-the-top character serves for a few scenes of intense action but never develops into much more. Likewise, main antagonist Ricky Tan feels overly generic and stereotypical, paralleling the villain in the first film. Adding to the repetition is their nearly identical counterpart roles from the first film, right down to their demises.

Fun, lighthearted, and action-packed, both Rush Hour films are great entertainment, although they feel largely interchangeable. When watching both of them back to back one can quickly forget what happens in which film. Due to their similarities and familiarities, any fan of the original will certainly enjoy the second, though watching them in order is hardly necessary. And as always, the blooper reel that runs through the credits almost justifies watching the movie on its own.

- The Massie Twins


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