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Rush Hour - Blu-ray Review

Synopsis: The wildly popular power-packed duo of Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker come together on Blu-Ray with the explosive first film that launches the successful Rush Hour franchise. Jackie Chan (Rumble In The Bronx) and Chris Tucker (Friday) star in this blockbuster action/comedy about a Hong Kong cop and LAPD maverick teaming up to rescue a Chinese consul's kidnapped daughter.
2 stars


Rush Hour Blu-ray Review

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Jackie Chan. Jackie Chan. Jackie Chan. He’s really the only reason this buddy cop movie (and series) works.  It’s his lighter-than-air feet work; his quiet touch; his timing and his genuine likeability as Detective Inspector Lee. For three movies he carried this series, yet here in Rush Hour – back when it was originally released in 1998 – we were introduced to the duo of Chan and Chris Tucker.

This is basically the story of when East meets West over the whereabouts of a kidnapped girl (Julia Hsu). Mind you, she’s not just any girl.  She’s the daughter of a much respected Chinese consul named Solon Han (Tzi Ma). Kidnapped in America, the FBI quickly become involved, but Han wants someone he knows and trusts on the case, which is how Inspector Lee (Chan) gets involved.  Frustrated by the publicity and not wanting the extra help on the case, the FBI send a loudmouth LAPD officer, James Carter (Chris Tucker), to go “babysit” Lee and make sure he doesn’t get to the house in time to help with the case.  Of course that backfires.  Of course Lee outsmarts and rescues Carter.  And, of course the two discover – once partnering up instead of trading jabs at each other – who kidnapped the girl.

Rush Hour isn’t a great film, but it’s perfectly harmless as far as action fluffs go. There are some pretty wild fight scenes that Chan choreographed, but, as is the case with most of his American films, nothing in the whole of the movie compares to what Chan did in Hong Kong with Rumble in the Bronx or First Strike. Entertaining and sincere, Chan’s acrobatic feats are the film’s only selling point. Tucker is loud, grossly unfunny, and shrill, shrill, shrill.  Simply okay in small doses, Tucker is not a leading man, nor should he continue to be cast as such. He can spar with Chan, but it’s Chan’s performance that gives the film its heart.

Retner infuses his direction with a smattering of oil slick gloss and over-the-top baddies and produces a generic paint-by-numbers picture that doesn’t grossly offend its audience, but certainly doesn’t break the mold of the standard Buddy Cop genre either. The problem with his direction is that it becomes too standard and too boring all too quickly. The film starts strong, but after a kow-tow in a pool hall it quickly drops in energy. Ultimately, Rush Hour is a chore to sit through. An absolute chore. Even before the final action set piece is revealed, the film loses steam. There are no more thrills; no more surprises; and, certainly, the implausibility of the whole thing comes crashing down into a grating mess. There’s no excitement behind the camera. None. The big finish is simply a ho-hum type of endeavor.

Rush Hour is supposed to be dumb fun. I get that. The problem is that by the end of the movie all of the fun is gone. And what does that leave you with?

A handfull of dumb.


Component Grades
Movie
Blu-ray Disc
2 stars
2 stars
Blu-ray Experience
2 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - December 7, 2010
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, Spanish, German SDH, Italian SDH, Portuguese, Arabic, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Korean, Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Slovenian, Swedish, Thai, Turkish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; German: Dolby Digital 5.1; Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1; Czech: Dolby Digital 2.0; Hungarian: Dolby Digital 2.0; Thai: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)

Ruch Hour - Blu-ray Review

It might be presented in 1080p, with a VC-1 encode, but don’t be fooled. This is the same master as the initial DVD release. The transfer is inconsistent and the shadows do smear the visuals from time to time. The colors are strong and the detail is good, but this is certainly an inferior blu-ray release. Surprisingly, the audio is the only thing on this release that gets an upgrade. The 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is welcomed addition to the disc, making the lossless sound – in every speaker - just about the only thing worth this film’s HD transfer.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Ratner provides the first commentary. He tells you everything you might possibly want to know about the film but were afraid to ask. It’s a very standard track.
  • Composer Lalo Schifrin provides the second. Both are interesting, but Schifrin’s is the more interesting of the two considering his place in Hollywood as the film scoring guru that he is.

Special Features:

Another weakness with this release is that there are no new supplemental materials here. Everything has simply been ported over from the DVD release. The continued inclusion of The Making Of documentary is nice, but this is just a weak supplemental release. The special features (in SD only) are as follows:

  • A Piece of the Action: Behind the Scenes of ‘Rush Hour’ (41 min)
  • 'Whatever Happened to Mason Reese?' – a short film by Ratner (13 min)

Deleted Scenes (3 min)

  • ‘How Deep Is Your Love?’ – Dru Hill music video (4 min)
  • ‘Nuttin' But the Love’ – Heavy D. & The Boyz music video (4 min)

Music Videos (SD, 9 minutes):

  • "Nuttin' but Love" by Heavy D & The Boyz
  • "How Deep is Your Love" by Dru Hill, each with optional director's commentary.

Theatrical Trailer


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