As a kid, you watch Star Wars and probably have no clue what it’s really about. You know its film universe is amazing and you really wish lightsabers were real. Everything just looks cool while it’s happening. Rush Hour 2 is the comedy version of that. Laugh-out-loud humor and killer action sequences with a premise that doesn’t matter to us as kids. As an adult, I now see the difference between Star Wars and Rush Hour. Because I’m still not sure what Rush Hour 2 is about.
I mean, I get that Detective Lee (Jackie Chan) and Detective Carter (Chris Tucker) are together in Hong Kong and that they have to track down a criminal mastermind who keeps killing people. After Google got involved, I now know that they are trying to find out who killed two customs agents at the US Embassy. There’s a gang leader, Ricky Tan, who they suspect is behind it, but they’re unsure. We’re also unsure. But it doesn’t matter. It’s all really funny.
In this one, Detective Carter isn’t in the driver’s seat. They’re not in LA, but in Hong Kong, where Carter now has to abide to Lee and his set of rules. The premise utilizes the fish-out-of-water trope to propel most of its humor early on.
Rush Hour 2 uses the same basic formula as the first movie, except it cuts out the introductions of the characters in the beginning. This time it tries to give us a more intricate story within those confines when we don’t want or need one. We’re given a slower execution for a shorter movie.
The filmmakers try fishing for depth when there doesn’t need to be any. Contriving unnecessary drama between Carter and Lee, which seems completely out of place. They’re always teasing each other when the other one screws up, so making them actually upset at one another feels unrealistic. This is a farce. We’re not that invested in the characters’ depth.
Tucker isn’t given as long of a leash here, which is odd because his freedom is what worked so well in this film’s predecessor. Instead, Rush Hour 2 relies on inside jokes from Rush Hour 1.
Even still, the jokes work. If you just watched Rush Hour 2 by itself, you would think it’s hilarious. And to a degree, it is. But viewing the movie immediately after watching the first one, you might think the comedy is a little forced.
With a step down from the first movie, Rush Hour 2 still holds up well. And just like Star Wars, I liked this movie before I cared what it was about. So why not still enjoy it now?