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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Rush Hour (1998)



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Jackie Chan's rising popularity in the United States led to Rush Hour, the first American film Chan has made in many years. Hollywood seldom knows how to deal with foreign movie stars, and the resulting movies are often so Americanized, they strip away the type of arena in which such stars shine. Rush Hour is hurt by that. The producers make the insipid mistake of limiting Chan's awe-inspiring martial arts to just a couple of scenes. Worse, the movie didn't turn out all that bad, and it was a commercial success.

The reason is due to the non-obvious casting of Chris Tucker as Jackie Chan's partner. Tucker's frustration with everything around him leads to some funny situations. It's hard not to be amused by him, unless, that is, his voice proves too irritating, which it may for some. Chan and Tucker are a little awkward together sometimes, comfortable at other times; the pairing ultimately works, and it saves the movie from its clumsy story. But it's not a Jackie Chan film, and those expecting unrelenting doses of his unique brand of physical antics and humor may be disappointed.

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