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"Rush Hour" {Blu-ray}
Wayne Klein
Studio: New Line
Release Date:
Special Features:

Commentary by director Brett Radner; isolated music scorer; "A Piece of the Action" featurettes; deleted scenes; "Whatever Happened to Mason Reese" short film; trailer; music videos Rating: R


I suppose Chris Tucker must be an acquired taste and, I have to honest here, I've never acquired a taste for him or his hyperkinetic helium sounding performances. He's one of the few things that I hate about the silly film "The Fifth Element" and he's one of the things that I hate about "Rush Hour" as well. Luckily, he's balanced out by Jackie Chan. Chan saves "Rush Hour" with his physical stunts and comedic timing. Personally, I find Chan to be a funnier performer than Tucker any day of the week (although Chan DOES have questionable taste when it comes to many of his projects). If you throw in hack director Brett Radner ("X-Men: The Last Stand") who is only as good as the written material he is given (and particularly when he doesn't mess with it too much) and his performers and "Rush Hour" became an inexplicable success. ***

James Carter (Tucker) finds himself in hot water more often than not as a detective in the LAPD. For his troubles he's assigned the thankless task of keeping tabs on Special Forces Agent Lee (Chan) from China as he tries to track down the kidnapped daughter of a friend. Lee finds out that a weapons smuggler may have taken as insurance to help keep himself in business and Lee and Carter suddenly find themselves under attack. ***

Most of the humor in "Rush Hour" derives from the differences between Lee and Carter like most buddy comedies and the few delightful moments in the film result from each character introducing the other to something "foreign" and outside of their experience such as Lee learning Edwin Starr's classic song "War" as Lee tries to turn it into his own version of a soul tune. The story itself and the characters are cliches but that's not expected in the genre and luckily everyone involved plays with these cliches making "Rush Hour" diverting if not exactly a great comedy. ---

Image & Sound:

"Rush Hour" arrives with a nice high def transfer using the VC-1 encoding. Colors pop throughout and detail varies from looking extremely good sometimes within seconds of each other. There are some noticeable compression artifacts that occasionally pop some and I also noted some aliasing in some scenes as well as issues with blockiness particularly during some of the action sequences. ***

This isn't what I would call a demo quality Blu-ray but it doesn't look horrible either. I'd rate the video presentation as mediocre at best. ***

The audio sounds quite nice with a lossless presentation which benefits the bass heavy music used throughout the film. Dialogue remains the most important element during nonaction sequences and comes across with nice clarity throughout.

Special Features:

We get a commentary track from director Brett Radner that has been ported over from the previous edition of the film and is an entertaining storyteller throughout giving us nice bits of trivia, joking around and technical specs. ***

"A Piece of the Action" runs under 50 minutes and is a series of featurettes that run back-to-back. It's not much beyond the standard "making of" fluff pieces that are on most Blu-rays and DVDs. It is presented in standard definition. ***

Also ported over from the previous edition are deleted scenes, music videos and a short film that Radner directed. We also get an isolated movie score and the original theatrical trailer.

Final Words:

"Rush Hour" doesn't bring anything new to the table to the buddy comedy genre but it is diverting. I personally didn't find the film to be all that much of an imaginative comedy and Tucker, well, if you can tolerate him as a performer, you will enjoy the movie much more. Chan demonstrates impressive comedic chops aside from his martial arts chops.


Copyright @ Teakwood Productions 2000
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