Let’s jump back in.
Rush Hour 2 follows detectives Lee (Jackie Chan) and Carter (Chris Tucker) immediately after the events of Rush Hour. Carter is vacationing in Hong Kong while Lee still seems to be dragging them from case to case.
Lee gets word that Ricky Tan (John Lone) is suspected in an embassy bombing and Lee becomes fixated on tracking the man down. Tan killed Lee’s father years before, so the case is personal. Our odd couple is once again embroiled in an international criminal investigation and they must use their fists and their smarts to stay one step ahead of the villains and the FBI, who does not want their help.
Did you like Rush Hour? Well, Rush Hour 2 is definitely more Rushing Hours (I’m not a funny person). The sequel does not have as high of a critical following as the first entry, but it is still a lot of fun. We have some solid improvements with some missteps in this one.
The biggest problem of the film is that we end up with an overly convoluted story that does not need to be. Lee is tracking Tan, but Tan says that he is in danger. One of Tran’s enforcers Hu Li (Ziyi Zhang) seems to take over, but we aren’t given enough time with her (which is a shame as she is a badass). We also have a maybe ally maybe enemy Customs Agent Isabella Molina (Roselyn Sanchez) who is working with Steven Reign (Alan King), a hotel tycoon who seems connected to shady stuff.
We also have an issue of locale. We start in Hong Kong, cool. However, we quickly end up back in L.A. and then Las Vegas. Why did we bother with so much scenery changing? With each movement we’re introduced to new characters, most of whom are one-time visits, and the plot never really thickens. The first installment had a tighter story as the premise simply worked better.
Perhaps the biggest flaw of the plot is that we end up with another theft story. However, the criminals are originally framed as terrorists. Our criminals are masking theft with terrorism, which is dumb. I love the first Die Hard, but this is a major problem in that story as well. Why in the world would you (as a criminal) want international focus on your organization?? We tend to take terrorism more seriously than theft. I have never fully agreed with the plot of this one for this reason.
However, I find the action of this film to be on par or above the first installment. We get more acrobatic fighting from both Tucker and Chan. The end set-piece (in a large casino) is awesome from start to finish. Earlier fights in bars or parlors are equally entertaining.
The best part of this movie is how nicely is works with the first entry. You can truly watch the first two installments as one long movie. We do have some changes (more fists less guns), but the films work together. If you liked the first entry, you’ll like this one. I don’t think this one will convert anyone who did not enjoy the original.
For fans of Chan and Tucker, this one is a fun night out.