by Greg Muskewitz
Chugging right along, we find ourselves faced with another one of 2001’s sequels. And truth be told, it isn’t too bad. As a matter of fact, I like “Rush Hour 2” as opposed to its predecessor.Carter (Chris Tucker) is on vacation in Hong Kong visiting Lee (Jackie Chan). Carter is dragged from case to case unsuspectingly until he is too far involved, he can’t get out. They travel from Hong Kong to Los Angeles and Las Vegas battling members of the triad gang, who are trying to regulate large sums of counterfeit money. Otherwise, they pick up where they left off, with a little less bickering and a lot more action. (The other recognizable connection is in the relevance of Lee’s dead father in the plot.) At first, it was building up to be a deathly rechauffé, cruelly basing the blunt of the jokes in a racist fashion against the Chinese (“I’ll bitchslap you to Bangkok”). It was the most unforgivable act of the first, despite its slow start and wayward pairing of the duo. The waywardness is still here, in a positive manner, but their relationship is established, set in stone, incorrigible. We know what to expect, and it goes a little further. Brett Ratner returns to the directorial duties, and scores a higher mark than “Rush Hour” and “Money Talks” combined, by making the action more exciting, more elaborate, more visually impressive, etc. Jeff Nathanson’s script is funnier and more well-rounded — the pieces of the plot are more cohesive — than in Ross La Manna’s first outing. Chan, as the world champion of stunts, delivers an impressive package with little disappointment, and his concentration and dexterity is practically impossible to look over. Tucker’s on-screen personality is a thing of acquirement, something that takes some time to get used to (tip: don’t indulge in too much at once), but once you pass that initial vexation, he is far more easy to put up with, even enjoy. The same cannot be said for Tucker’s non-dopplegänger, fellow comedian, Chris Rock, who, with time has proved terribly annoying and talentless. (See him — or don’t — in “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” or listen to him in “Osmosis Jones” for more of the same.) “Rush Hour 2” also marks the premiere American production to feature Chinese ingenue Zhang Ziyi; save for maybe four words, she speaks no English (still learning, I hear), and at that, her phonetics (“Want an apple”) are seriously rusted and under-worked. She’s a long way to go before she matches the level Antonio Banderas’ English productions or John Malkovich’s international projects, etc. But still, her looks do do her justice, and her moves revel in their own form of awe.
"Some things can actually get better during a break."
With John Lone and Roselyn Sanchez.Final Verdict: B.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=4712&reviewer=172
originally posted: 08/04/01 17:47:35