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Brett Ratner
Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Philip Baker Hall, Chris Penn, Tom Wilkinson, Ken Leung, Julia Hsu
Writing Credits:
Ross LaManna (and story), Jim Kouf

Two cops team up to get back a kidnapped daughter.

Box Office:
$35 million.
Opening Weekend
$33.001 million on 2638 screens.
Domestic Gross
$141.153 million.

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
German Dolby Digital 5.1
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1
Castilian Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Stereo
Czech Dolby Stereo
Hungarian Dolby Stereo
Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:
Mandarin Chinese
Castilian Spanish

Runtime: 98 min.
Price: $24.98
Release Date: 12/7/2010

• Audio Commentary with Director Brett Ratner
• Isolated Music Track with Commentary by Composer Lalo Schifrin
• Deleted Scenes
• “A Piece of the Action – Behind the Scenes of Rush Hour” Featurette Gallery
Whatever Happened to Mason Reese? Short Film with Optional Commentary
• Music Videos with Optional Commentary
• Trailer


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

Rush Hour [Blu-Ray] (1998)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 23, 2010)

Let's see… We have Jackie Chan, who's kind of a poor man's Bruce Lee. He's teamed up with Chris Tucker, essentially the poor man's Eddie Murphy. What's the end result of this? Rush Hour, a movie aptly referred to as the poor man's 48 Hours.

All this "poor man's this" and "poor man's that" may not seem fair, but I think it fits. Rush Hour amounts to a sporadically entertaining but largely trite film. It's yet another in the successful "mismatched buddies" genre used in movies such as Lethal Weapon and the aforementioned 48 Hours. We've seen it all before, and we've seen it done better.

The story to Rush Hour offers virtually nothing new. It's just a couple guys who initially don't like each other but they earn each other's respect and admiration as they overcome the odds to halt a threat. Geez, how many thousands of films could that describe? Although the pairing of an African-American and an Asian was unique at the time - we usually got the white guy and the black guy - there's little else here that makes the movie stand out from the crowd.

That wouldn't be a problem if the film were better executed. As it stands now, it's a competently made but entirely mediocre piece of work. The jokes are amusing but not terribly funny, and the action adds a little spark, but there's nothing extraordinary. Director Brett Ratner keeps the film moving at a fairly leisurely pace; he does nothing that either adds to or detracts from the experience.

Mainly, the film seems to count on the magnetism of its two stars to interest the audience, and that certainly appeared to work, based on the big box office the movie did. Unfortunately, I can't say that either lead did a lot for me.

I've never really understood the vast global appeal that Chan possesses. Certainly he does some nicely acrobatic fight scenes, and his willingness to risk his hide for his work certainly creates some interest, but he just seems to try too hard to be the audience's buddy. He always has this kind of goofy, sappy aura about him that simply makes it hard for me to take him seriously. I don't think he's a bad actor, and he certainly doesn't harm this film in any way, but his performance largely leaves me flat.

Chris Tucker is a different case. He's become one of those "love him or hate him" performers. I actually like him. Though I certainly understand why his shtick grates on so many people, I think he creates a presence that may not be unique but that certainly sets him apart from other actors. I may be the only person on the planet who feels this way, but I thought his ultra-over-the-top turn in The Fifth Element was the best thing about that film. To stand out as freaky in such a bizarre film was nothing short of amazing, and his performance consistently entertained me.

In Rush Hour, however, Tucker falls back on his Eddie Murphy influences way too much. His opening scene is a complete rip-off of the beginning of Beverly Hills Cop, and much of his work looks like outtakes from that film. Basically, Tucker's James Carter is nothing more than a manic version of Axel Foley, and a less funny one at that. Tucker certainly possesses talent, but Rush Hour does little to showcase that fact.

At only 98 minutes, Rush Hour never overstays its welcome, and its breezy tone makes it a decent piece of entertainment. It just never rises above that level. We find a watchable, sporadically amusing effort that doesn’t turn into anything memorable.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B+/ Bonus B+

Rush Hour appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The transfer showed some minor issues but usually looked fine.

For the most part, sharpness was good. However, exceptions occurred, as some aspects of the flick – mostly wider elements – could be a little mushy and ill-defined. Still, the majority of the film demonstrated positive delineation. I witnessed no jagged edges, shimmering or haloes, and print flaws were minor. I detected a couple of small specks but nothing more than that.

Rush Hour went with a lively palette, and the colors mostly appeared positive. A few shots seemed a little smeared, but the tones usually came across as fairly vivid and dynamic. Blacks were dark and tight, and shadows showed good clarity. This wasn’t a stunning presentation, but it usually fared well.

Most of the time, the DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack seemed quite good. In fact, only inconsistent ambition to the mix’s soundscape left it below “A” level. Not that the soundfield failed to involve the viewer. Music showed very nice stereo imaging, and the effects created a good sense of place. The action sequences opened matters up quite well to form a solid impression. However, these scenes didn’t fill a ton of the movie, so I didn’t think this was a track that could enter “A” territory.

Audio quality satisfied. Speech seemed natural and concise, and I noticed no edginess or other problems. Music was bright and dynamic, while effects usually appeared solid. Those elements came across as clear and clean, and the whole package boasted nice bass response. Some distortion accompanied a few gunshots, though. Overall, nonetheless, I liked a lot about the track and felt it was more than satisfactory.

How did the picture and sound of this Blu-Ray compare with those of the 1999 DVD? Audio was pretty similar; the lossless DTS mix packed a little more punch, but the two seemed fairly similar.

On the other hand, the visuals demonstrated the usual improvements. Even with the mild softness, it came across as tighter and more precise. Colors were more dynamic, and both shadows and blacks seemed more satisfying. The Blu-ray was a good step up in quality.

Almost all of the DVD’s extras reappear here, as we lose only some “cast and crew” tidbits. We begin with an audio commentary from director Brett Ratner. He provides a running, screen-specific chat. Ratner tells us how he came onto the project and how he convinced Jackie Chan to appear in the flick. The director also discusses cast and performances, sets and locations, stunts and action choreography, story and pacing, music, framing and camerawork, and other production elements.

An eager participant, Ratner gives us a nice look at his film. He proves enthusiastic and informative through the commentary. Ratner offers good details about the flick and does so in a rich, involving manner. This means nice insight into the mind of a then-young director, though I do wonder whatever happened to his desired remake of The Killing of a Chinese Bookie.

Another commentary track is available as well. Composer Lalo Schifirin speaks a little about his work during the isolated score. Obviously, this commentary isn't as extensive as the one from Ratner; Schifirin only talks when the music isn't playing, which makes sense. Anyway, it's an interesting look at the thoughts and decision-making of a veteran film composer.

Next come most is a 40-minute, 53-second behind the scenes program called A Piece of the Action. We get notes from Ratner, producer Roger Birnbaum, stunt coordinator Terry Leonard, and actors Chris Tucker, Jackie Chan, and Elizabeth Pena. The program covers casting and convincing Chan to come onboard, working with the actors and Ratner’s style on the set, stunts and shooting the action scenes, and other production elements.

I found this program to be somewhat disappointing. It's basically a disjointed amalgam of interviews and raw footage from the set. It provides some interesting glimpses of the proceedings but it didn't add much to my enjoyment of the film, although it was interesting to see how much work went into choreographing and shooting the action scenes.

One very nice extra is Whatever Happened to Mason Reese?, Ratner’s 13-minute, 12-second student film. He mentions this movie during the audio commentary, and it's fun to actually see it. It's not a great piece of work, though it's interesting in a strange way. As an archival piece, its inclusion is greatly appreciated.

Two of Ratner's music videos appear on this disc. We get Dru Hill's “How Deep Is Your Love” from the Rush Hour soundtrack, and Heavy D's Nuttin' But Love, the latter notable mainly because it features Chris Tucker. Neither is great, but they're interesting, and nice to have.

Both these videos and Whatever Happened to Mason Reese? include additional commentary from Ratner. As usual, he proves chatty and informative. His track for Reese is especially interesting.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we get six Deleted Scenes that run a total of three minutes, three seconds. With such short snippets, you shouldn’t expect much from these. We get some minor additions such as Soo Yung’s first day of school and more obstinate behavior from the feds but not much that stands out as memorable. A clip in which Carter bluffs his way into the film’s ending reception is okay, though.

Rush Hour offers minor pleasures. The movie has some fun moments but doesn’t quite hold up overall. The Blu-ray presents good picture, audio and supplements. While not a memorable flick, the Blu-ray delivers it well.

To rate this film, visit the Platinum Series review of RUSH HOUR

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