Rush Hour 2 Review
(3 stars/5 stars)

            Hong Kong: “Pearl of the Orient,” Asia’s international city and home of Jackie Chan. Amidst the backdrop of straining Sino-American foreign relations, at least we can still sit together and laugh.

            That’s the feeling I got coming out of “Rush Hour 2.” The movie starts in Hong Kong, where Jackie Chan became famous with his no-plot, action-filled Chinese flicks that usually featured him doing non-stop off-the-wall stunts.

            Nowadays, older and no longer as durable, Chan stars in American movies, where he can rely on the comedic abilities of the likes of Chris Tucker — his co-star in “Rush Hour 2” — to fill up movie time so that Chan can do less stunts.

            The plot starts where the first “Rush Hour” left off, with Tucker’s character — Los Angeles police detective James Carter — travelling to Hong Kong with Chan’s character — Hong Kong Detective-Inspector Lee, to unwind after solving an international kidnapping case. Instead, the two become embroiled in another international money-laundering conspiracy perpetrated by Hong Kong triads and wealthy American crime figures.

            Suffice to say, the plot is, as expected, unremarkable and simply provides motivation for Chan and Tucker’s comedy and action sequences. The action sequences are decent, with the normal fistfights and Jackie Chan acrobatics, including one scene where Chan and Tucker are hanging off a thin bamboo pole about to snap off on top of a Hong Kong high-rise.

            The movie also features Zhang Ziyi, of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” fame, as a member of the Hong Kong triad trying to do Chan’s and Tucker’s characters in. She does have some action sequences in the movie, but they mostly involve Tucker’s character. In fact, Chan does not have one single villain who he fistfights with in prolonged action sequences in this movie, which is a bit disappointing. However, Chan’s character does has a love interest in the movie, which generates comic relief.

            Much like the first “Rush Hour,” the culture clash between the serious and thoroughly Chinese detective Lee and the shoot-off-your-mouth Carter makes for many amusing situations. In the opening scenes in Hong Kong, Lee and Carter keep misreading each other and creating hilarious cultural mishaps that bring forth many politically incorrect and oft cliched stereotypes that Chinese and Americans have of each other.

            This paradigm worked well during the first movie, and it is this same combination of Tucker’s comedic energy and Chan’s trademark martial arts sequences that makes this movie appealing.

            On the down side, the jokes seem to flow so often that any attempts to take the plot or the characters seriously are thwarted. Also, Tucker’s non-stop wisecracks throughout the movie does make it somewhat annoying at times.

            Was this movie better than its predecessor? Not quite. The first movie had more plot and better fights. But overall, if you’re just looking for a good time and enjoy Jackie Chan films, then you’ll enjoy this movie.

            As for the Sino-American foreign relations, the movie’s sure to score well both in Hong Kong and America because of the film’s heavy promotion. So maybe George W. Bush should share some of those Chris Tucker jokes with Chinese President Jiang Zemin when Bush visits China later this year.