Discs Are Rated
Click above to purchase "Rush Hour: New Line Platinum
Series" at amazon.com
review by Ren C.
New Line Platinum Series
Studio: New Line
Running Time: 97 minutes
Starring Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker
Written by Rosa LaManna and Jim Kouf
Directed by Brett Ratner
Retail Price: $19.98
Features: Commentaries, Deleted Scenes, Music Videos,
Making-of Featurette, Brett Ratner Short Film, Theatrical
Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby
Digital, English 2.0 Dolby Digital, English Subtitles,
The buddy comedy is one of those genres that seems like
it has been around since the very beginning of film. As
such, it gets harder and harder to put a new twist on a
genre that counts among its predecessors "48 Hrs." and the
"Lethal Weapon" movies. However, this is something that
"Rush Hour" manages to pull off very well, pairing what has
been termed as the "fastest hands in the East" with the
"fastest mouth in the West". I legitimately think that this
is one of those movies that could not have been pulled off
with other actors in the roles, just because of the unique
gifts that both actors bring to the part.
The movie begins right in the middle of the action, set
one day before Hong Kong is to be returned to Chinese rule.
Detective Lee (Chan) reclaims millions of dollars of assets
from a group of thugs. Lee returns to the embassy a hero to
everyone but the consul's daughter Soo Yung. She is upset
that Lee is not going to America with them, to which Lee
reassures her that "America is full of friendly people."
From here, we immediately cut to downtown Los Angeles and
James Carter (Tucker) screeching his way through traffic. We
think that Carter is making a deal to buy explosives, but
quickly learn that he is an undercover officer with the
LAPD. This becomes important; as in the next scene, Soo Yung
is kidnapped by the same man that Lee failed to catch in
The FBI is immediately brought on to the case, and so, to
their dismay, is Lee. They decide to have an officer
baby-sit him so as to keep him out of trouble, but they
decide if they have to have anyone do such a demeaning job,
"why not humiliate the LAPD?" The LAPD is all too happy to
get rid of Carter who thinks he is going to the FBI on a
very important assignment.
The usual buddy comedy conflict ensues when Lee and
Carter first meet, but soon after they decide to team up and
solve the case themselves. Going into this movie, I expected
nothing more than a typical clichéd buddy comedy, and
I found myself pleasantly surprised. As I stated, with
anyone other than Chan and Tucker, I don't think this could
have been pulled off, as Chan combines his incredible
martial arts skill with Tucker's great comic timing.
I would also be remiss if I didn't mention the great
ensemble cast. While this is basically a two-man venture,
the rest of the cast ably fills their roles and brings a
depth to the movie that it wouldn't have had otherwise.
Brett Ratner, directing only his second feature, helms the
movie in such a way that makes the viewer think that he has
been doing this for years. This movie was a surprise hit for
New Line when it was released in theaters a few years ago,
and with good reason. This is definitely a "word-of-mouth"
comedy, where friends are telling friends to go see it. In
this case, definitely take that advice, it's well worth it.
The more recent a film is, the more I tend to expect from
it, and this disc definitely lives up to my expectations.
For the most part, the transfer is pristine, although there
were a few points where I noticed that the color was
slightly oversaturated. However, the rest of the movie is
crisp and clear, with no artifacts or edge effect to be
I was thoroughly impressed with the audio here. Every
sound in this movie came through loud and clear, to the
point where I could hear birds chirping in the background in
some of the quieter scenes. While this is a comedy, it is an
action-comedy, so there are explosions and fight scenes
galore, and these all come through with a lot of punch and
kick, pardon the pun.
This is part of New Line's "Platinum Series", so that
always virtually guarantees a feature-packed disc. This is
certainly no exception. The feature list starts off with an
audio commentary by director Brett Ratner. I've listened to
quite a few commentaries, and I think that Ratner might be
one of the most enthusiastic participants that I've ever
heard. He eagerly goes into detail on the making of the
movie, who he cast, how he cast them, where he shot, and
virtually everything else that a person would want to know
about the making of Rush Hour. He literally does not let up
for more than a few seconds, which is something I always
enjoy about a commentary.
Next is an isolated score track with commentary by
composer Lalo Schifrin. The score for this movie was really
good, which actually was not something I noticed until I
listened to this track, because it tended to be subtle in
the actual movie. I enjoyed listening to the music but
Schifrin's comments tended to be limited to the nature of
the piece and how he composed it. A nice touch is that
whenever there is no music or comments, the dialogue is
brought back up.
Also included is a featurette on the making of the movie,
although I'm hard pressed to call it a featurette
considering it runs about forty minutes. This is a very
entertaining combination of cast and crew interviews, and
behind-the-scenes footage, that has literally no promotional
feel to it. I think that this was exclusive to this disc,
and made me appreciate the movie all the more. Especially
enjoyable is the interplay amongst the cast and crew on the
set that showed that they truly had a good time making this
A set of six deleted scenes is included, running a little
under three minutes. All of these scenes are of the nature
where they could have been included in the movie without
sacrificing any quality, and, by the same token, could have
been left out of the movie and had the same effect. None are
particularly earth-shattering, just adding and developing
some plot points.
I really enjoyed the next feature, Brett Ratner's student
film from NYU, "Whatever Happened to Mason Reese?" For a
student film, this is very accomplished, and an optional
commentary with Ratner details some of the methods he used
to make it. Two interesting notes: First, the film was
partially financed by Steven Spielberg's Amblin
Entertainment, and second, the film features the first ever
acting appearance of Rebecca Gayheart.
Ratner mentions a couple times in the featurette that he
met Chris Tucker while directing a music video, and
coincidentally enough, that video is included here. The
video is by Heavy D for the song "Nuttin' But Love." While
the video isn't exactly groundbreaking it is entertaining,
especially with Ratner's optional commentary. Another video
is included here, this one from the "Rush Hour" soundtrack
for Dru Hill's "How Deep Is Your Love". I'd like to take
this opportunity to mention that if you weren't looking that
closely, you could easily mistake Sisqo for Chris Tucker and
vice versa. Ratner provides a director's commentary for this
video as well, and I'm beginning to think that there is no
limit to the things that Ratner can talk about.
We wrap up the disc with the two prerequisites, namely
the cast and crew biographies and the theatrical trailer. If
you're planning on reading the bios, you may want to bring a
magnifying glass as they are printed in tiny text.
This was a surprisingly entertaining movie, and it is
loaded with features that are entertaining and informative.
The transfer is top-notch, and I definitely think that this
is a movie that contains a lot of replay value. As such, I
feel that I can safely give it my highest recommendation.
(3.5/5, NOT included in
(4.5/5, NOT an average)