Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Plot’s slightly better.
I love rewatching some of those older Jackie Chan movies just because those fights are something else. Heck, Rush Hour 2 even won an award for “Best Fight”…though…it technically was in the Kid’s Choice Awards. Shut up, that counts! For me, Jackie Chan has an astounding ability to deliver so much nostalgia that it is ridiculous. Most of the time, I don’t even really remember the plot to half his stuff, I just like him. Rush Hour 2 is a film I know I saw at one point, but couldn’t remember the plot. Now that I see it, I actually liked the plot more than the original…which wasn’t hard, because rescuing a damsel in distress is getting old. This time around, it had a more concrete plot in my opinion.
In the first film, Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan) was instructed to go to Los Angeles to aid Chris Tucker’s character into finding a kidnapped little girl. This film begins with quite the opposite – Detective Carter (Tucker) is currently on vacation in Hong Kong with Lee when Lee is called in to investigate the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in China. Basically, two agents in the embassy were investigating a smuggling case dealing with a load of counterfeit bills. This case leads them back to Los Angeles for whatever reason, and then to Las Vegas for the finale.
Now, it’s only been three years since the last film, so you can expect everything to feel relatively similar. We still got the same characters sporting the same enthusiasm. Jackie Chan is getting a little older, but not enough to really tell a difference from the first film, and his moves are just as great. The tone itself is on the spot perfect, thanks to Brett Ratner and the awesome chemistry between Chan and Tucker. Everything seems to be in place here, and what they did was they slightly improved on what failed in the first – plot (in my opinion).
The plot in the first film was so simple it was ridiculous. Trust me, I like plots that are simple as much as the next guy, but not plots that are overdone. I think I spoke out loud when I said, “ugh…again?”. It worked for the film, but I wanted something that felt more fitting, more…full. The counterfeit money scandal fit better in my books. It is a plot that, sure, we’ve all seen before…but not as much as the classic damsel in distress conflict. So all around, I did like the movie better…but there was one problem…pacing.
The pacing in the first film is flawless, honestly. I have no qualms about the first, but the second definitely had its issues. There were just…too many locations. First China, then LA, then Las Vegas…and I lost track of why there were so many places. I started to think it all had to do with “just because”. Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker really do have great chemistry, so why not show them in different locations and scenarios? In theory, it’s cool, but in reality, it’s confusing. As far as the plot goes, it all made sense. It took a minute for me to connect the dots, but eventually I did and stopped complaining. They just wanted the film a bit bigger and louder than the first, and they overshot some of the plans to make that happen.
The fight choreography was amazing once more. The one fight scene in bath robes and while climbing the building were incredibly well timed, looked great, and you have a lot of fun watching it. I also easily remembered certain scenes in this film more than the first, which made the film more memorable just in general.
The tone and heart of the first film is still loud and clear the second time around. The fight scenes are more memorable, the plot is more developed, and the film as a whole sticks to your mind much longer than the first was able to do.
The filmmakers overshot their goals when they decided to jumble up the pacing by throwing Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker into three different major cities around the world. This created confusion and deviated from the initial course.
[Carter attempted to speak Chinese to everybody but had no idea what he said]
James Carter: What did I just say?
Lee: You told everyone to take out their Samurai swords and shave your butt.