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 5.1 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.
The Rush Hour disc includes many video supplements. Foremost is the 40-minute and 48-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 11-minute and nine-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.
I also really enjoyed the fact that two of Ratner's music videos appear on this DVD. 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 Tucker. Neither is great, but they're interesting, and nice to have.
Also, both these videos and Whatever Happened to Mason Reese? include additional commentaries 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 run a total of two minutes, 56 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