I have a lot of fond memories as a kid watching Jackie Chan movies. His martial arts skills were (and still are) unmatched in terms of form, creativity, and translating it all to film. On top of that, Jackie has incredible comedic timing, adding to his fight scenes and making his movies much more well-rounded. I spent so many days quoting Shanghai Noon or Rush Hour with my friends as a kid.
That’s why I was shocked and dismayed to see that Rush Hour 2, which I consider to be superior to the original, has a 52% approval rating on Rottentomatoes! How can this be!?
Rush Hour 2 doesn’t feel as fresh or funny as the first, and the stunts lack some of the intricacy normally seen in Chan’s films.
“Doesn’t feel as fresh or funny as the first”? Did I understand the words coming out of your mouth? Rush Hour 2 is hilarious, with tons of new and hilarious gags. They completely flip the dynamic from the original by putting Carter in the role of “stranger in the strange land” and it makes for far better comedy than Jackie Chan in the first movie. From his misunderstandings about the Triad club to the massage parlor, the gags in RH2 are so far above those in RH.
And “the stunts lack some intricacy”? I’m sorry, did you not see Jackie fight a guy in a room full of reclining chairs or on a bamboo scaffolding? Because both of those were stellarly choreographed fights with the right amount of comedy interjected. Get outta here with that shit.
Now we have to admit
- The plot is basically recycled from the original. It’s just the odd duo, buddy-cop movie of a black guy and an Asian guy. One’s in his element, one’s a fish out of water.
- As with most movies from the 2000s, there are a lot of jokes that would not fly in 2019. I mean, I’m still gonna laugh, but I feel guilty as I do.
- The plot is overly convoluted. I mean, the main villain fakes his own death, we’re introduced to another main villain, but it’s all a fake-out because the original villain was still alive the whole time. None of it makes sense or is necessary.
But come on now…
- There’s something to be said for a movie that takes gags from the first movie and builds on them. From Detective You to all the lost in translation bits, Rush Hour 2 does it as good, if not better, than the original.
- The bamboo scaffolding scene, as Jackie is fighting guys off while Tucker takes the stairs is just too much fun. And when the old lady tells Chris “move aside Kobe,” I die laughing every time.
- Chris Tucker singing “Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough” is maybe the greatest cover of all time.
- The end credit bloopers are the pinnacle of comedy. Chris is calling Jackie by the wrong name all the time, seeing how many times Jackie fails a stunt to make it work, to the classic “damn, he ain’t gonna be in Rush Hour 3,” those moments just stand out above even the jokes in the movie.