Rush Hour 2 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Parts of the movie looked very good but the end product was a little erratic.
Sharpness became an occasional issue. Though much of the film boasted nice delineation, interiors tended to seem a bit soft. Overall definition remained positive but not as consistent as I’d like.
I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmering. In addition, the movie lacked any specks, marks or other print defects.
Colors appeared pretty strong throughout Hour 2. Considering that Hong Kong and Las Vegas - two of our three locations - offer copious amounts of bright neon, the film popped with vivid and distinctive hues. In addition to all those lights, clothes and other elements added vibrant and attractive colors, and they always looked clear and bold.
Black levels worked fine, as they seemed deep and tight. Low-light shots could be slightly dense, though, so those lacked the clarity I’d like. All of this resulted in an acceptable transfer that lacked consistency.
Though Rush Hour 2 offered an action-comedy, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 sound designers appeared to take their cues mostly from the standard “comedy” soundtrack, as much of the movie’s audio remained focused in the front spectrum. From the forward area I heard nice atmosphere during the entire movie, as the front speakers offered good general ambience.
Lots of little elements popped up from the sides, and the score also provided very solid stereo imaging. Sounds blended together neatly and they moved across the spectrum cleanly.
As for the surrounds, they reinforced the music particularly well, as lots of Lalo Schifrin’s score emanated from the rear speakers. Effects information tended to fall into the category of general support for the most part, though some of the louder scenes came to life fairly nicely.
Explosions spread most effectively across all five channels, and some other aspects perked up the surround speakers. However, the track stayed largely oriented toward the front.
Audio quality consistently seemed strong. Dialogue was natural and warm, as I detected no signs of edginess or problems related to intelligibility.
Effects came across as accurate and distinct, and they showed good dynamics. Again, explosions worked best of all, as they demonstrated fine depth and impact, but other elements also seemed clean and vivid.
The score also provided some solid sound. The music was reproduced with good clarity and fidelity, and it offered positive bass and bright highs. Ultimately, the soundfield seemed a little restrained for this kind of flick, but the audio of Rush Hour 2 still was good enough to merit a “B”.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the original 2001 DVD? Audio showed a bit better warmth and range, while visuals were cleaner and more accurate. Even with its minor drawbacks, the Blu-ray provided a superior presentation.
The Blu-ray repeats most of the DVD’s extras, and we find an audio commentary from director Brett Ratner and writer Jeff Nathanson. Both men were recorded together for this running, screen-specific piece. Overall, I find this to be a very interesting and useful little track.
Not surprisingly, Ratner dominates the piece, and he provides a lot of solid information. He matured a lot since his commentary for the first Rush Hour movie, and he seems less concerned with second-guessing the audience; in that track, he often appeared strongly influenced by his perceptions of the fans’ desires. Ratner shows much less of that tendency here, as he indicates more what he thought was best.
Ratner also avoids the pseudo-intellectual trappings that mildly marred his commentary for The Family Man. Not once does he use the word “organic” during Hour 2, which feeks like a minor miracle after the Family Man piece.
Nathanson adds a fair amount of nice data as well, though he mainly points out the ways the film varied from his original script. The two maintain a reasonably honest and frank attitude throughout the commentary.
Though the track definitely features a fair amount of praise, it doesn’t get buried in those elements, and the participants include moderate amounts of criticism. I also like the fact that Ratner happily acknowledges all of his influences. As I note in the body of my movie review, Hour 2 stole from many flicks, and Ratner openly relates all of these. He may not be a great filmmaker, but at least he’s honest, and I rather enjoyed this audio commentary.
Under the Focus Points category we found six different short video programs. “Jackie Chan’s Hong Kong Introduction” essentially acted as a promo piece for the city. As we watched shots of Hong Kong - provided by the town’s tourist board - Chan told us how terrific the place is. During the one-minute, 58-second clip, we learn that we must visit Hong Kong, and when we do, we’ll return repeatedly.
Next we get Culture Clash: West Meets East, a four-minute, 53-second piece that looks at the issues related to filming in Hong Kong. We hear from director Brett Ratner, executive producer Andrew Z. Davis, producer Jay Stern, and actors Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, and Roselyn Sanchez.
Overall, the piece includes some fluffy comments, as the participants make generic remarks about the challenges and pleasures of working in Hong Kong. I like the information about complaints from the crew, but most of the rest of the material seems somewhat bland.
On the other hand, the behind the scenes shots seem excellent, as we see lots of raw footage. This makes the program entertaining and useful despite the mediocre comments.
Language Barrier runs for four minutes, 17 seconds and greatly resembles the prior piece. It offers more excellent behind the scenes material along with interview bits from Ratner, Sanchez, Chan, Tucker, editor Mark Helfrich, and second unit director/stunt coordinator Conrad Palmisano.
Again, the comments remain a bit light, though they add some decent information about the challenges of dealing with language differences and how Ratner dealt with the actors. The footage from the set becomes more compelling, so we get a generally interesting piece.
During Attaining International Stardom, we find a seven-minute, three-second program that essentially tells us how great Jackie Chan is. It features Ratner, producer Arthur Sarkissian, Chan, executive producer Davis, Stern, Tucker, and actor Zhang Ziyi.
While the behind the scenes material seems decent, that footage isn’t as good as seen during the prior pieces. The comments are exceedingly superficial, as they tell us little more than how amazing Chan is and how much fun the set was.
Kung Fu Choreography presents a bit more depth. The piece lasts nine minutes, 32 seconds and features Ratner, Helfrich, Chan, Sanchez, Stern, and Palmisano.
Much of the focus still sticks with how terrific Chan is and how great a piece of work the movie was, but we find some decent notes about the creation of the fight scenes, and the behind the scenes shots add a nice layer of depth to the package.
A very different piece, Lady Luck shows a short student film Ratner shot while at New York University film school. The two-minute, 39-second piece provided a black and white silent mini-thriller, and Ratner adds commentary on top of this.
The movie seems mildly interesting but not great, while Ratner contributed some good remarks about his early work. It merits interest as a curiosity.
Nine Deleted Scenes run a total of eight minutes, four seconds. None of these seem terrific, but a few become fairly interesting. In particular, I like the one in which Phillip Baker Hall reprises his role from the first film.
The remaining scenes feel less compelling. One in which Tucker interacts with Alan King comes across as another Beverly Hills Cop outtake, while the “Onto the Red Dragon” provides Tucker’s take on a Jamaican accent. Don’t look for Chris to win Oscars for roles in different nationalities, for his Jamaican lilt sounded more British to me.
All of the “Deleted Scenes” can be viewed with or without commentary from Ratner. As always, he provides useful notes about the clips. He succinctly tells us why he excised the segments, and he even relates his displeasure with some of them.
An Outtakes reel goes for five minutes, seven seconds. Many of them echo the same kinds of goof-ups seen during that movie’s end credits, so they feel redundant.
More material appears under “Vintage Featurettes”. Making Magic Out of Mire lasts eight minutes, 57 seconds as it looks at Ratner’s directorial style. We find interviews with Ratner, Stern, Tucker, Helfrich, Sanchez, Palmisano, and composer Lalo Schifrin.
Although the comments largely tell us how wonderful Ratner is, the material from the set adds some good stuff. Most compelling is the clip in which Ratner badgers Tucker to refer to Ziyi’s character as a bitch, but the rest of the elements also become very interesting.
Evolution of a Scene splits into three different segments: “Chicken Chop” (5:05), “The Bomb” (9:24), and “Slide For Life” (5:51). These are some of the best aspects of the disc, as they provide closer looks at the creation of these scenes.
While a fair amount of narration discusses the snippets, the behind the scenes shots become the focus, and they provide excellent material. We see the location scout for “Chicken”, storyboards for “Slide”, outtakes and working through the content for “Bomb” as well as a lot of other interesting shots. Overall, I really enjoy the “Evolution” segments.
Another short video program, Fashion of Rush Hour 2 runs three minutes, 54 seconds as it gives us a brief look at the outfits worn in the film. This piece combines some images of the clothes and accessories along with a particular focus on the flamboyant character played by one of the movie’s cameo actors. We see fun outtakes from his work as well as the period in which he “got into character”. The segment is short but pretty entertaining.
A Visual Effects Deconstruction begins with a 32-second “Introduction By Visual Effects Supervisor Kevin Lingenfelser” that sets up the embassy explosion scene, the sequence about which we’ll soon learn more.
From there, you can examine that 17-second segment via four different angles: “Backplate”, “Miniature - with Window Treatment”, “Miniature - Fixed Perspective”, and “Final”. While I barely see a difference between angles two and three, this is still a good little look at some effects work.
Lastly, the Trailers area adds two teasers plus the standard theatrical trailer.
Crowds ate up Rush Hour 2 and made it one of 2001’s biggest hits. Frankly, I don’t get it, as the film offers mild entertainment with little more than some tired culture clash gags and a few good stunts. The Blu-ray brings us fairly positive picture and audio along with a wide array of bonus materials. Rush Hour 2 gives us a mediocre action/comedy.
Note that as of November 2016, the Rush Hour 2 can be found only as part of a four-disc “Rush Hour Trilogy” package. This also includes Rush Hour, Rush Hour 3 and a disc with a bonus featurette.
To rate this film visit the original review of RUSH HOUR 2