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Rush Hour
1998
Get it on DVD from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.fr, Amazon.de, Amazon Canada.
Directed by Brett Ratner
Detective Inspector Lee: Jackie Chan
James Carter: Chris Tucker
Thomas Griffin: Tom Wilkinson
Tania Johnson: Elizabeth Pena
Consul Han: Tzi Ma
Soo Yung: Julia Hsu

Article updated on May 3, 2003

Rush Hour
was another (successful) step by Jackie Chan to win the American market. He was born on April 7, 1954 under the name of Chan Kwong Sang. His poor parents had fled China for a better life in Hong Kong where they worked as cook and servant at the Australian embassy. Jackie Chan studied for ten years at the Chinese Opera Research Institute. He began his career as a stuntman and he still does all the stunts himself - they are the highlight of his films, Rush Hour included. From the age of seven to ten, Jackie Chan went to the Chinese Opera Research School in Hong Kong. There, he learned discipline, acting, singing, dancing, acrobatics and martial arts. Later he became a stuntman and, two years later, he was promoted stunt coordinator. His first role as an adult actor was in Little Tiger from Canton in 1971. He soon realized that he was no action star like Bruce Lee. Therefore, he created a new genre: the Kung Fu comedy. In 1978, he shot the first films in that style: Snake in the Eagle's Shadow and Drunken Master.
 
1980 marked his debut as a director in The Young Master, in collaboration with his longstanding producer Raymond Chow. Then came his first guest appearance in an American film, The Canonball Run with Burt Reynolds and Roger Moore. But it took him a long time to break through in the USA. The turning point came with Rumble in the Bronx (1994), shot in Canada and produced in Hong Kong. Rush Hour (1998) was his first American big budget movie.
 
Chris Tucker was part of the 1997-comedy Money Talks, together with Charlie Sheen. In Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown he played a small criminal and in Luc Besson's Fith Element he shone as Ruby Rhod. In Rush Hour, he is one of the two stars but has only a few great lines, such as: "Johnson, this is the LAPD. We're th most hated cops in the free world. My own mama is ashamed of me. She tells everybody I'm a drug dealer."
 
Rush Hour is about the Hong Kong detective inspector Lee, Jackie Chan, who is a man of integrity and principles. Circumstances force him to work together with the African American cop James Carter (Chris Tucker), an Eddie Murphy-like character. The two mismatched cops - who also have to fight with cultural differences - have to solve a crime in Los Angeles. The daughter of Hong Kong's Consul Han (Tzi Ma) has been kidnapped in Los Angeles. The kidnapper wants a $50 million ransom. He is Chinese and a man, inspector Lee was not able to arrest in Hong Kong. Behind him is another man named Juntao. He dominated crime in Southeast Asia for 15 years and killed Jackie's partner. But nobody knows how he looks like. His identity is one of the suprises of the film.
 
The characters, the plot and even the actor's performances are all but breathtaking. Despite these facts, Rush Hour made over $120 million at the box office. It is a film for simple pleasures and one that may entertain teenagers. Jackie Chan still cannot act but he remains a great stuntman.


Added on August 6, 2002: Get Rush Hour 2 on DVD from Amazon.com, Amazon Canada, Amazon.ca, Amazon.fr, Directmedia Schweiz. Better stunts than in the first Rush Hour movie (especially by Jackie Chan), but only dumb jokes by Chris Tucker.
 

 

www.cosmopolis.ch
No. 5, April 2000
current edition & archives
Art  Film  Music  History  Politics  Archives
Links  Advertise  Feedback  German edition  Travel

Copyright 2000  www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.