[Screen It]


(1998) (Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker) (PG-13)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Moderate Mild Extreme Mild Extreme
Moderate None Mild Minor Moderate
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Minor Minor Mild Minor Extreme

Action/Adventure: A reckless and arrogant American detective reluctantly joins forces with a Hong Kong inspector to find a kidnaped girl.
Detective Inspector Lee (JACKIE CHAN) is one of Hong Kong's leading police officers. With the support of Han (TZI MA), the Chinese consul, Lee has recently helped confiscate millions of dollars worth of weapons, drugs, and priceless Chinese artifacts previously owned by Juntao, one of Hong Kong's most powerful crime lords.

When Han is sent on a diplomatic mission to the U.S., however, things quickly change for Lee. Seeking revenge for losing his personal, but illegal fortune, the still anonymous Juntao has one of his henchmen, Sang (KEN LEUNG), abduct Han's eleven-year-old daughter, Soo Yung (JULIA HSU), for whom Lee has served as a bodyguard, and hold her for a large ransom.

Accordingly, Han immediately summons his old friend Lee to Los Angeles, but FBI supervisor Warren Russ (MARK ROLSTON) and fellow agent Whitney (REX LINN) don't want any outside intrusion to complicate the kidnaping case. Thus, they assign James Carter (CHRIS TUCKER), a fast talking, comically arrogant and decidedly reckless LAPD detective, to keep Lee away from the proceedings.

Upset after learning what he thought was going to be his big break with the Feds is now just a babysitting assignment, Carter sets out to solve the case on his own. Of course he must also deal with Lee, who continually gives his smart-mouthed partner the slip while trying to get into the investigation.

After a series of misunderstandings, Lee and Carter eventually join forces and, with the assistance of Carter's sometime partner and bomb expert-in-training, Tania Johnson (ELIZABETH PEŅA), they get closer to finding the girl. Things get more complicated, however, when the unlikely duo accidently thwarts the planned money for hostage exchange, as well as upon the arrival of Han's old friend, Thomas Griffin (TOM WILKINSON), who has a vested interest in the outcome of the kidnaping.

If they're fans of Tucker ("Money Talks") or Hong Kong martial arts star, Jackie Chan, they probably will. Otherwise, it's not very likely.
For sequences of action/violence and shootings, and for language.
  • JACKIE CHAN plays a Hong Kong detective summoned to the U.S. to find his friend's kidnaped daughter. Along the way, he disposes of (but doesn't kill) many villains and FBI agents who wish to keep him off the case.
  • CHRIS TUCKER plays a rogue LAPD detective, whose fast-talking (including cussing), arrogant, and reckless ways, often get him into trouble when he's not solving cases.
  • KEN LEUNG plays the crime lord's main henchman, a man who kills several people and kidnaps a young girl.
  • ELIZABETH PEŅA has a smaller part as Tucker's sometime partner and bomb diffuser-in- training who's an okay role model for young girls.

    OUR TAKE: 5 out of 10
    I have to admit, I'm a huge Jackie Chan fan. Ever since first setting eyes on this amazingly gifted actor whose physicality is a great mixture of Bruce Lee, Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, I've since wondered if any of his subsequent films might come close to providing him with a decent vehicle in which to star.

    While his pictures have always been goofy fun, their low budget and decidedly less than sophisticated construction has often left Chan having to carry them all by himself. Thus, and upon hearing that he'd be making his first American film in some twelve years, I anxiously wondered if this might be the film he's been so deserving of for much of his career.

    The answer gets a split vote. While "Rush Hour" is easily the slickest looking production in which he's starred, and has a decent semblance of a plot -- when compared to many of his other films -- this isn't a "real" Jackie Chan flick. Sure, the action's there, along with his trademark amazing physical stunts, but in getting the Hollywood treatment, a great deal of the fun stemming from Chan and his "antics" has been lessened.

    Susceptible to the same aging process that the rest of us mere mortals can't escape -- no matter what acrobatics are employed -- and working in a more safety conscious Hollywood than his native Hong Kong, Chan's efforts, while still fun to watch, are decidedly more subdued than in the past.

    Yes, he still has his trademark way of scaling walls and fighting off hordes of bad guys, but the sheer number of such stunts is lower than in the past, and none of them are as eye-popping amazing as before. While those who've never previously seen Chan will probably find his stunts quite astonishing, seasoned fans will enjoy seeing him again, but might just be disappointed in the parred down material.

    Beyond the previously mentioned reasons for that, the most obvious is that the filmmakers needed to make room for hot young comedian, Chris Tucker ("Money Talks," "The Fifth Element") who appears as Chan's partner. As capable with his mouth and comic reactions as Chan is with his hands and feet, Tucker easily holds his own when appearing with his more seasoned costar -- when they're acting, that is.

    Tucker's over the top comedic style (and exaggerated facial expressions) is something of an acquired taste, and while his fans will obviously love this outing, it's questionable whether his performance will convert many others. The remaining characters are all pretty much of the throw away variety, particularly the two-dimensional villains who -- as usual -- don't seem much of a match for our fleet footed friend.

    Despite the somewhat diminished "wow" quotient, it's that Hong Kong star, however, who steals the show whenever he starts moving. Whether gracefully maneuvering from one vehicle to another, or up walls and trees in a manner that not only defies gravity but basic human physiology, or dispatching assailants in a pool hall or art museum for maximum comic effect, there's simply no one like Chan.

    As far as the movie itself goes, it's really just an afterthought meant to fill in the spaces when Chan's body and Tucker's mouth need a rest. As directed by Brett Ratner (who made his feature debut directing Tucker in "Money Talks" after helming a long line of music videos) and written by screenwriters Jim Kouf ("Stakeout," "Gang Related") and Ross Lamanna (making his debut), the movie follows the standard "opposites" duo where the laughs are supposed to develop from the partners' differences.

    Of course, that's when they're not dealing with the standard issue, cardboard villains and their obligatory "evil plan." While the plot works and there are some decent laughs to be found stemming from Chan and Tucker's interaction together, movies like this are never remembered for their direction, writing, or acting. It's physical stunts and goofy comedy that the target audience wants, and this film decently delivers the goods.

    Better than most of Chan's previous movies in an artistic and production sense, but lacking in the sheer brilliance and amazing stunts found in those same films, it's doubtful this picture will fare much better at the box office than Chan's other efforts.

    Occasionally funny and featuring some decent, but not outstanding stunt work, "Rush Hour" leaves me with the ever diminishing hope that one day, someone will give Chan a decent starring role before he's too old to continue amazing us. We give "Rush Hour" a 5 out of 10.

    Here's a quick look at the film's content. As with most any film of this genre, there's plenty of martial arts action where ample amounts of kicks, punches and other moves are used to attack, defend, or flee from various villains and others. Not surprisingly, some of the material may be imitative fodder for young kids who might start kicking and chopping the furniture after seeing this sort of movie for the first time.

    Beyond that, standard lethal violence also occurs, as does the kidnaping of an eleven-year-old girl, and some of the violence is a little bloody. Profanity is abundant, but doesn't rise above many uses of the "s" word (and "G-damn" for those concerned with that) and other such words and phrases. Some references to drugs are made, and one older character briefly smokes what everyone assumes is pot. Two extremely brief and very minor sexual references also occur. If you're still concerned about the film's content, we suggest that you take a closer look at what we've listed.

  • Han, Griffin and others have a champagne toast.
  • Carter comments that his mother is embarrassed that he's on the LAPD, and so tells everyone that her son's a drug dealer instead.
  • An old man in a pool hall claims to be smoking a cigarette, but Carter says it's pot (and it seems to be).
  • Some guys drink in the backroom of a pool hall.
  • Carter, wanting a guard to let him in to see a prisoner, reminds the man that he was the one who looked the other way when the guard had some "weed." The guard, however, reminds him that he was going to split it with him.
  • People have drinks at a reception.
  • Sang seems to have a bloody cut near his eye, while Soo Yung has some blood on her after this man has killed her driver and escort.
  • Carter has a tiny bit of blood on his face after he's been kicked.
  • Several people who are shot have small amounts of blood squirt from their wounds, and others have bloody shirts.
  • Obviously, all of the villains have both, especially for kidnaping Soo Yung and trying to (and occasionally succeeding) kill others.
  • Carter has some of both for not taking along his partner on his latest case. In addition, he throws out some Chinese stereotypes regarding Lee (including "Mr. Rice a Roni," telling him he might see "one of your cousins" while leaving him at Gruman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, etc...).
  • Russ refers to Lee (not in his presence) as a "Chung King cop."
  • Scenes listed under violence, especially those involving the young girl's kidnaping (including briefly having to defuse plastic explosives tied to her chest), as well as the many fight scenes, may be suspenseful to some viewers.
  • Handguns/Machine guns/Plastic explosives: Used to threaten, wound, or kill people. See "Violence" for details.
  • Several scenes in the movie also deal with Lee and Carter "playing" with guns as they take turns quickly removing handguns from the other.
  • Due to crowd noise, the following should be considered a minimum.
  • Phrases: "Moron," "Freakin'," "Screwed" (nonsexual), "Shut up," "Ass whoopin'," "What's up, my nigger?" (said affectionately and for laughs), "Bad ass," "Go screw yourself," "Balls" and "Nuts" (testicles), "Kiss my fat ass," "Screwed it up" and "Punk."
  • Some kids may want to imitate all of the martial arts punches and kicks that are thrown throughout the movie, or any of Lee's amazing acrobatic moves.
  • Likewise, some may wish to try the quick grabbing of a gun from someone else (in the movie, both Lee and Carter quickly take guns from each other, or other people, in the blink of an eye).
  • Carter runs and jumps (and hangs onto) the back of a bus that Lee's already on.
  • None.
  • The film has a mild amount of suspenseful music that's accompanied by some action-oriented themes.
  • One song contains the line, "Do a little dance, Make a little love, Get down tonight..." while another repeatedly uses the phrase "Good God."
  • Due to crowd noise, the following should be considered a minimum.
  • At least 38 "s" words, 1 possible slang term for breasts ("t*ts"), 32 asses (1 used with "hole"), 14 hells, 6 damns, and 14 uses of "G-damn" and at least 3 uses of "Good God" (in a song) as exclamations.
  • Carter apologizes to Johnson about spreading rumors that he and she slept together. As she starts to go after Carter, Lee puts out his hands to stop her, and they end up on her padded vest- covered breasts (and he quickly removes his hands).
  • Talking on the phone, Carter jokingly asks Johnson what color panties she's wearing (and she hangs up on him).
  • Sang smokes several times, while we also see people in a pool hall smoking.
  • Han must contend with his daughter's kidnaping.
  • Carter briefly mentions that his father was killed during a routine traffic stop years before the story begins.
  • Cultural differences among varying peoples, and that making fun of such differences isn't a nice thing to do.
  • Lee fights some villains using martial arts (kicks and punches), while others shoot at him.
  • Soo Yung occasionally punches Lee in the gut.
  • A thug, who doesn't know Carter is a cop, holds a gun on him when two officers pull their guns on him. Carter then hits this man and knocks him to the ground, but moments later the man shoots and wounds the two cops. Carter then shoots at this man as he flees in his car (that has C4 -- plastic explosives) in the trunk. Other cars crash into each other, the thug bails out of his car, and Carter shoots again, this time detonating the explosives that blow up the car.
  • Sang shoots (and presumably kills) two of the Han's drivers and then kidnaps Soo Yung (who repeatedly hits him as he takes her away).
  • Carter slaps a motorcyclist on the head when he commandeers the man's bike.
  • Carter and Lee hold guns on each other, and then Lee's cabby pulls out his own gun (but it's all played for laughs with no menacing elements).
  • Carter hits a man in the backroom of a pool hall and then threatens another man with his gun (all initially aiming their guns at each other), but it's all for show to fool Lee as the guys are really friends.
  • Lee fights several men in a pool hall who grab and punch him, along with trying to hit him with pool cues, but he punches, kicks and hits them back with those cues.
  • Lee strikes and disables two FBI agents, and then does the same to more agents.
  • S.W.A.T. team members enter a building, guns drawn, and finally encounter a ringing phone. We then see a tremendous explosion that blows out the upper floor of a building and presumably kills those men.
  • Sang repeatedly tries to hit Lee with an ax, and later throws that ax at both Lee and Carter.
  • Carter shoots at Sang and blows out the back window of the car in which he escapes.
  • Some restaurant workers put something into Lee's tea, presumably to poison him.
  • Some of Sang's men kick Carter (martial arts).
  • Lee and Carter fight more of Sang's men with martial arts punches and kicks. Finally, one of them shoots at the cops, and Carter shoots back.
  • A gas explosion blows apart a restaurant.
  • Sang holds a machine gun on Lee and later fires it at him (after Carter crashes a van into a museum).
  • Carter kicks a bad guy in the chest and then hits him in the face with a gun.
  • The villains threaten to blow up Soo Yung, and the cops and the villains exchange gunfire.
  • Sang shoots several FBI agents dead, and wounds another.
  • Lee fights with several men who punch and kick him while he tries to prevent Chinese artifacts from hitting the ground and breaking.
  • A villain shoots at Lee and then tries to knock him from the catwalk from which he's hanging.
  • A man falls to his presumed death.

  • Reviewed September 14, 1998

    Other new and recent reviews include:

    [Around the World in 80 Days] [Family Camp] [Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness]

    Privacy Statement and Terms of Use and Disclaimer
    By entering this site you acknowledge to having read and agreed to the above conditions.

    All Rights Reserved,
    ©1996-2022 Screen It, Inc.