Rush Hour 2 (2001)
Directed by Brett Ratner

Artistic & Entertainment Value
* * *

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While Detective James Carter (Chris Tucker) is on vacation in Hong Kong visiting his friend, Chief Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan), he and Lee become embroiled in and begin an investigation of a conspiracy to smuggle counterfeit money into the United States involving the man responsible for Lee's father's death and a mysterious and deadly woman (Zhang Ziyi).

Brett Ratner's Rush Hour 2 is a fun but extremely uneven film. The various fights, stunts, and chases are consistently entertaining, and Jackie Chan is as likeable as he always is, but the almost painfully annoying presence of Chris Tucker greatly detracts from the movie's enjoyableness.

The film's action sequences, which include a brawl in a massage parlor, a chase up a bamboo scaffold, and a riotous fight in a casino, in which Chan's hands are bound and a bomb is taped into his mouth, are heavily indebted to a number of such scenes from Chan's earlier movies and are both exciting and frequently humorous. The film is absolutely filled with such sequences and, consequently, moves so quickly that there is barely a dull moment to reflect on it faults.

When the action does stop, however, the film's flaws can annoy. The quality of the acting ranges from mediocre to poor and the characters are either forgettable or grating. Chan, although enjoyable to watch, does not seem to have been inspired by the material presented him. The beautiful and talented Zhang Ziyi is completely wasted. While she does provide the heroes with a sexy and deadly opponent, she contributes little else to the movie. Chris Tucker does, however, greatly affect the quality of the film. Unfortunately, he is invariably irritating. His character is loud, bragging, and obnoxious, and he detracts from the appeal of every scene in which he appears.

Even without the actor's contributions, the various scenarios and situations presented in the film are either so forced and arbitrary or so hackneyed and predictable that there is little good that can be said about them. Many are frankly ridiculous. Admittedly, however, as the plot of Rush Hour 2 essentially exists only to provide excuses either for the movie's frequent action sequences or for Tucker's unfunny antics and often racist tirades, its weaknesses will probably not be much of an impediment to the moviegoer's appreciation of the film.

Whatever its faults, Rush Hour 2 is an exciting action movie. If the viewer can tolerate listening to Chris Tucker, he may even find the film enjoyable.

Review by Keith Allen

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