Carter and Lee head to Hong Kong for vacation, but become embroiled in a counterfeit money scam.
Set initially in Hong Kong, the second Rush Hour movie is packed with the normal impressive fight/stunt scenes expected of any Jackie Chan film, with comedy and slapstick galore. To be perfectly frank I thought WAR was a better movie, but writing this film review gave me the opportunity to look at it in more detail, with some elements surprising me which I hadn’t noticed before.
It’s so apparent how well these two actors work together, Agents Carter (Tucker) and Lee (Chan). They are so opposite that they complement each other so well, from brotherly banter and their obvious loyalty to each other. It’s so well done; I think this is one of the best cop buddy relationships outside Lethal Weapon. This film gave us a new fact, that their connection runs deeper even though they are worlds apart, both fathers succumbed to wrongful deaths.
Something I have to admit, Agent Carter, he has always irritated me slightly. I’ve never been a fan of cheesy dialogue in fight scenes and I know I am probably in the minority stating this (some actors have built their career on this method!). Watching this film just now, I wish the ‘one liners’ and obvious leering at the female characters could be watered down, it feels very ‘blokey’, maybe that’s why it doesn’t resonate with me very well. I also got a little tired of the constant references to cultural and racial differences throughout. At times though you could see Tucker was as good a cop as Lee, it was just executed differently. Maybe I saw too much of myself in Tucker, with his poor attempts at Cantonese – who knows! But it was interesting to see these two agents, and both actors with their own unique comedic style, play opposite each other.
Jackie Chan I have always had the utmost respect for. He could’ve so easily tried to imitate Bruce Lee’s style back when he was starting out, but he cultivated something different and equally as engaging. I have seen an interview with another martial artist where they were mocking his style, saying it wasn’t proper ‘fighting’ just effects, but how could anyone doubt his talent, dedication and spectacular stunts which are so incredible they have entertained audiences for many years. On a side note, it was such a pleasure to watch Jackie in ‘the Foreigner’ – the naturalistic fight scenes won it for me and a chance to see Jackie acting to a level I hadn’t seen before. I hope we can see more of this type of film from him; I can’t wait to see it again!
Anyway – back to this movie. It’s suspected that the triads are behind the bombing of the American Embassy at the start, with Lee on the case of suspected triad boss, Ricky Tan (Lone), as ordering the hit. This brings me to a great scene in a karaoke club where Tucker disgusted at someone destroying Michael Jackson’s ‘Can’t stop till you get enough’ takes over and shows the crowd how it’s done. Lee’s discomfort is apparent as he wanted to stay inconspicuous; he utters the hilarious line ‘this is Hong Kong, I am Michael Jackson, you are Toto’ – Tucker responds ‘Toto? That’s what we eat last night for dinner’ … awesome! Another great line of dialogue delivered by Tucker from the massage parlour as the door slides back to reveal their choice of beauties – Tucker ‘you don’t jump in front of a black man in a buffet line’.
It’s also the setting we first encounter Lone’s character, Tan, he slides into the scene dressed in a bathrobe and takes a seat and cue Tuckers best line ‘that’s not Ricky Tan, that’s a midget in a bathrobe’. Ouch. Actually, it was Ricky Tan, and the great fight scene afterward is my favourite in the whole film.
The boat party we are introduced to two more characters – LA tycoon Reign and undercover cop Molina. I was less interested in her character as I was Reign’s (Alan King), Molina’s best scene being the knife in the apple in the back of the car. As for Alan King, I really like this actor and was sorry to see that he had passed away in 2004. I loved his quote on IMDb ‘Women live longer than men. The reason for it is they’re not married to women’. I would’ve liked to have seen more scenes with his and Tan’s character, the one where he gets stuck in the guts while trying to steal the counterfeit plates by Tan ‘I hate that fortune cookie shit’ was great. You could really feel the tension between them.
At the boat party, Tan is speaking in Mandarin to one of the hench-ladies (Hu Li) – this surprised me, surely a triad based in HK would speak Cantonese rather, I wonder why this was decided? I have seen some western films where Chinese characters speak in Mandarin and replying in Cantonese, do they think all western audiences wouldn’t notice? Some of us do!
Tan had a history with Lee’s father, previously both policemen, Lee’s old man rumbled Tan was working for the triads. Tan, throughout the film, provokes Lee about his father, being ‘weak and afraid at the moment of death’, obviously to wind him up. At this part of the movie we suspect it’s the end for Tan too as he flies off the back of the boat taking a bullet from Hu Li.
It’s also where we sadly leave HK and head over to LA. This I found a little disappointing – why not base this next part in Macau? Too obvious? Or ideally stay in HK. I think taking it back to the US didn’t really make much sense (apart from the Reign link) – the corrupt Red Dragon casino could easily have fit into Macau perfectly.
However, we were treated to more comedic scenes (the camp salesperson with his eyes on Tucker was FAB), plus some brilliant fight scenes especially between Tucker and Hu Li. The handling of this fight scene between a man and woman was very well choreographed – and she dies quite tragically because of an accident. The Red Dragon Casino closed the loop on many questions and ends many of the characters – ultimately Tan’s exit through a window and sadly no return for this villain in this series.
I’m very interested to see that Tucker and Chan will be teaming up again for Rush Hour 4 – but I will be looking for something more in Tucker and I hope I find it.