Rush Hour 2 (2001)    1 Stars

“Get Ready For A Second Rush!”

Rush Hour 2 (2001)
Rush Hour 2 (2001)


Director: Brett Ratner

Cast: Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, John Lone

Synopsis: Carter and Lee head to Hong Kong for vacation, but become embroiled in a counterfeit money scam.

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The rules of filmmaking demand that any successful movie must spawn at least one sequel, and so it was that, three years after the release of Rush Hour, loud-mouthed Chris Tucker (Silver Linings Playbook) and loose-limbed Jackie Chan (Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow, New Police Story) reprised their roles as Detectives Carter and Lee.   In the time-honoured tradition of sequel-making, their roles are now reversed (in the first half of the movie, at least), with Carter playing the fish out of water by travelling to Hong Kong for a holiday with his new best mate.   He’s keen to practice his excruciatingly bad pick-up lines on Chinese ladies (“you invited them to get naked and sacrifice a small goat,” Lee informs him after Carter’s mangling of the Chinese language meets with abject failure), but his plans are spoiled when Lee receives word that two people have died in a bomb blast at the US embassy.

In defiance of express instructions to stay away from the subsequent investigation, the duo’s noisy and destructive enquiries lead them to the empire of Ricky Tan (John Lone), a Triad boss who was the partner of Lee’s cop father when he died in service.   Lee has always suspected Tan of being involved in his father’s untimely death, and Tan’s drastic career change has only strengthened his suspicions, so he’s keen to tie him in with both the bombing of the US embassy and a multi-million dollar counterfeit ring.   Unfortunately, with the buffoonish Carter as his partner, he’s just as likely to end up as another of Tan’s many victims.

It’s a fact of life that second helpings never taste as good as the original serving, and such is the case with Rush Hour 2.   All the same ingredients are there, but they never blend together as successfully as they did in the first movie.   Within its first five minutes, Rush Hour 2 references its predecessor at least twice, as if desperate to associate itself with the original movie’s superior quality, but the ploy simply highlights the sequel’s lack of fresh ideas.   The dynamic between Carter and Lee that worked so well in the first has also shifted from the mutual antagonism to a weird kind of father-son vibe built around Lee’s mildly exasperated responses to Carter’s antics.   There’s still the odd funny line, to be sure, and Chan’s acrobatic fight sequences are always impressive, but as a stand-alone film it would struggle to distinguish itself from the mass of action movies released in the same year, so as the sequel to an unexpectedly enjoyable success it proves to be a major disappointment.   Perhaps most damning of all is the fact that Rush Hour 2’s funniest moments are to be found in the out-takes shown over the final credits – a clear sign that the movie simply doesn’t cut it.

(Reviewed 28th March 2016)

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