Monday, April 6, 2015

Rush Hour film series

The Rush Hour film series is a series of Hong Kong-American martial arts/action- comedy films starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, directed by Brett Ratner, and distributed by New Line Cinema. The main plot centers on a pair of police detectives: a Hong Kong Police Force inspector and an American LAPD detective (portrayed by Chan and Tucker) who go on a series of misadventures often involving corrupt crime figures. All three films achieved commercial success and incorporate elements of martial arts and the buddy cop sub-genre. 

Rush Hour was released on September 18, 1998 grossing $244,386,864 worldwide.  Martin Lawrence and Dave Chappelle were originally considered for the role of James Carter, but Chris Tucker was finally chosen for the part. Director Brett Ratner, a big fan of Jackie Chan's Hong Kong movies, felt that American audiences would not be familiar with the jokes in Jackie's other movies, and deliberately re-used some of his gags. For example, the scene where Inspector Lee accidentally grabs Detective Johnson's (Elizabeth Peña) breasts is a reference to Jackie Chan's film Mr. Nice Guy (1997).  Jackie Chan, fortunately, did win over the hearts of the audience.  Many people found him hilarious, and a great actor. 

Rush Hour 2 was released on August 3, 2001. The film grossed $347,325,802 worldwide, making it the most successful film in the Rush Hour series. In an interview, director Brett Ratner admitted that the first part of the karaoke scene with Chris Tucker was not supposed to be filmed. Tucker refused to act like Michael Jackson with the cameras running. During takes, he went up as entertainment for everyone. Secretly, Ratner told the cameramen to film it but to not let Tucker notice them. On an episode of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Tucker said that while he was filming this movie in Hong Kong, many locals mistook him for NBA star Kobe Bryant. In the film, while Tucker's character is running up the stairs, the old woman shouts, "Move out of the way, Kobe" to him. This film obviously had a very strong cast and crew connection, which is key for a well-made film to be produced.  It also creates the feel-good emotion that comes with great films. The mural on the wall of the Heaven on Earth Massage Parlor was copied from one in Scarface, which Harris Yulin and Ratner appeared in. It is funny to see a parody take place in such a popular film.  The scene where Jackie Chan and Tucker are running down the street naked in Hong Kong was an actual take; production could not block the street off for the shoot. The scene where Chan and Tucker run in the streets was inspired by a scene in The Accidental Spy (2001) which Chan made before this movie. Ratner saw the film and decided to include a similar scene in Rush Hour 2 (2001).  Although this film incorporates a lot from past films, it was very well put together, and obviously, the public reacted positively to it.  

Rush Hour 3 was officially announced on May 7, 2006, and filming began on July 4, 2006. The film, set in Paris and Los Angeles, was first released on August 10, 2007, and grossed $258,022,233 worldwide. Academy Award-winning film director Roman Polanski co-stars as a French police official involved in Lee and Carter (Chan and Tucker's characters) case.  This movie, said by most audiences, did not live up to the expectations of the last two movies in the series.  Rush Hour 3 was literally, rushed, and not as well made, I believe.  The story and plot could have been executed better. All in all though, it was a good third movie to a big series.  

Because of the films' collective box-office success, director Brett Ratner and writer Jeff Nathanson were considering the production of a fourth installment. In the DVD audio commentary for Rush Hour 3, Brett Ratner joked that the fourth Rush Hour film could be released in 2012. Ratner and Nathanson are exploring many concepts, including the use of the motion capture technique for the possible sequel and various different film projects with Chan and Tucker. It has been reported that the fourth film may be set in Moscow.  Although I think that this series has had its run, and maybe they should just leave the legacy of the great movies alone, I don't think I would mind seeing a Rush Hour 4.  I would not like to see actors that are not Chan and Tucker.  To conclude, I think they should just leave it as is and count their blessings.  

This series was hilarious and is a must see for everyone who loves comedies!  Chan's stunts are impeccable and fun to watch.  Tucker's humor ties it all together in a fun, feel good, action-comedy. 

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