Rush Hour (1998 film)
Rush Hour is a 1998 American action comedy film directed by Brett Ratner and written by Jim Kouf and Ross LaManna from a story by LaManna. It stars Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker as mismatched police officers who must rescue the Chinese consul's kidnapped daughter. Tzi Ma, Tom Wilkinson, Ken Leung, Mark Rolston, Elizabeth Peña and Rex Linn play supporting roles. Released on September 18, 1998, the film grossed over $244 million worldwide. The film's success led to two sequels: Rush Hour 2 (2001) and Rush Hour 3 (2007).
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Brett Ratner|
|Story by||Ross LaManna|
|Music by||Lalo Schifrin|
|Edited by||Mark Helfrich|
Roger Birnbaum Productions
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
|Box office||$244.4 million|
On the last day of British rule in Hong Kong late 1997, Detective Inspector Lee of the Hong Kong Police Force leads a raid at a shipping bar wharf, hoping to arrest the mysterious crime lord Juntao. He finds only Sang, Juntao's right-hand man, who manages to escape. However, Lee successfully recovers numerous Chinese cultural treasures stolen by Juntao, which he presents as a farewell victory to his departing superiors: Chinese Consul Solon Han and British Commander Thomas Griffin.
Shortly after Han arrives in the United States to take up his new diplomatic post in Los Angeles, his daughter, Soo Yung, is kidnapped by Sang while on her way to her first day of school. The FBI informs Consul Han about the incident. Han calls in Lee to assist in the case. The FBI, afraid that the injury or death of Lee would result in negative attention internationally, decides to pawn him off on the LAPD just to keep him out of their way. The selfish, stubborn, and maverick Detective James Carter is tricked into doing this but Carter makes a plan to solve the case himself when he finds out that he has been given a boring task as punishment for botching a sting operation.
Carter meets Lee at Los Angeles International Airport and proceeds to take him on a sightseeing tour of LA, simultaneously keeping Lee away from the embassy and contacting several of his underworld informants about the kidnapping. Lee finally escapes and makes his way to the Chinese Consulate, where a nervous Han and a group of FBI agents are awaiting news about his daughter. While arguing with Agent-in-charge Warren Russ, Carter accidentally involves himself in a phone conversation with Sang, where he arranges a ransom drop of $50 million in a couple of hours.
The FBI traces the call to a warehouse and sends in a team of agents only to have them killed by a plastic explosive. Spotting Sang nearby, Lee and Carter give chase, but Sang escapes, dropping the detonator in the process. Carter's colleague, LAPD bomb expert Tania Johnson, helps them trace the detonator to Clive, a man previously arrested by Carter. Clive is guilt-tripped by Lee into revealing his business relationship with Juntao whom he met at a restaurant in Chinatown and this earns Carter's trust in Lee. Carter goes to the restaurant alone where he sees a surveillance video of Juntao carrying Soo-Yung into a van. Lee arrives and saves Carter from being killed by Juntao's syndicate, but the two are taken off the case after the FBI blames them for ruining the ransom drop with Lee being sent back to Hong Kong.
Despite this setback, Carter appeals to Johnson for assistance and sneaks onboard Lee's plane, persuading Lee to help finish the case and stop Juntao. Griffin later involves himself in the case, revealing more about the HKPF's past with Juntao's syndicate and implores Han to pay the money to avoid more blood shedding.
At the opening of a Chinese art exhibition at the Los Angeles Convention Center, which Han and Griffin are overseeing, the now $70 million ransom is being delivered. Carter, Lee and Johnson enter disguised as guests, where Carter distracts the guests into leaving for safety. This angers the FBI, but also blows Griffin's cover, as Lee catches him walking over to a bar and accepting a remote for the detonator from Sang. He and Johnson both conclude that Griffin is Juntao because Carter recognizes him from a surveillance tape in Chinatown. Griffin threatens to detonate a bomb vest attached to Soo Yung and demands the money be paid in full in compensation to the loss of the priceless Chinese artifacts he worked so hard to preserve from Lee's raid. However, Carter manages to sneak out, locate her in the van, drives it into the building and brings her within range of Griffin, knowing that setting it off would kill him as well.
Johnson manages to get the vest off Soo Yung while Griffin heads toward the roof with the bag of money. Lee takes the vest and pursues Griffin while Carter shoots Sang dead in a gunfight. Lee eventually catches up to Griffin, resulting in a brief altercation that culminates in the two dangling from the rafters under the roof. Griffin, holding onto the vest, falls to his death when the vest breaks, but before Lee falls, Carter is able to place a large flag underneath and catch him safely.
Han and Soo Yung are reunited, and Han sends Carter and Lee on vacation to Hong Kong as a reward for their actions. Before Carter leaves, Agents Russ and Whitney offer him a position in the FBI, which he mockingly refuses. Carter boards the airplane with Lee, who starts singing Edwin Starr's "War", annoying Carter.
- Jackie Chan as Detective Inspector Yang Naing Lee
- Chris Tucker as Detective James Carter
- Tom Wilkinson as Thomas Griffin / Juntao
- Tzi Ma as Consul Solon Han
- Ken Leung as Sang
- Elizabeth Peña as Detective Tania Johnson
- Mark Rolston as FBI Special Agent Warren Russ
- Rex Linn as FBI Agent Dan Whitney
- Chris Penn as Clive Cobb
- Philip Baker Hall as Captain William Diel
- Julia Hsu as Soo Yung Han
- John Hawkes as Stucky
- Clifton Powell as Luke
- Barry Shabaka Henley as Bobby
Rush Hour began as a spec script written in 1995 by screenwriter Ross LaManna. The screenplay was sold by LaManna's William Morris agent Alan Gasmer to Hollywood Pictures, a division of the Walt Disney Company, with Arthur Sarkissian attached as producer. After attaching director Ratner and developing the project for more than a year with producers including Sarkissian and Roger Birnbaum, Disney Studios Chief Joe Roth put the project into turnaround, citing concerns about the $34-million budget, and Chan's appeal to American audiences. At the time Martin Lawrence was attached to the project. Several studios were interested in acquiring the project. New Line Cinema was confident in Ratner, having done Money Talks with him, so they made a hard commitment to a budget and start date for Rush Hour.
After the success of Rumble in the Bronx, Brett Ratner wanted to put Jackie Chan in a buddy-cop movie, not as a co-star or sidekick but as on equal footing with an American star. Ratner flew to South Africa where Chan was filming and pitched the film. A few days later Chan agreed to star in the film and not long after flew to Los Angeles and met Chris Tucker. Ratner credited Tucker with getting his first feature film Money Talks and thought Tucker and Chan would make a great team.
Rush Hour opened at No. 1 at the North American box office with a weekend gross of $33 million in September 1998. Rush Hour grossed over $140 million in the US and $103 million in the rest of the world, for a total worldwide gross over $244 million.
On Rotten Tomatoes the film has a score of 60 percent based on 73 reviews and an average rating of 6/10. The website's "Critics Consensus" describes the film as "[A] kick-ass addition to the cop-buddy film genre." On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 60 out of 100 based on 23 reviews. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
Roger Ebert praised both Jackie Chan, for his entertaining action sequences without the use of stunt doubles, and Chris Tucker, for his comical acts in the film, and how they formed an effective comedic duo. Joe Leydon of Variety called it "a frankly formulaic but raucously entertaining action comedy". Leydon is critical of the editing: "the editing works against Chan by breaking up the flow of his frenzied physicality." Charles Taylor of Salon.com is critical of Hollywood misusing Jackie Chan: "Chan is a one-of-a-kind performer: Bruce Lee crossed with Donald O'Connor in the "Make 'em Laugh" number from "Singin' in the Rain." Hollywood needs to stop treating him as if he were one of those fondue sets given as wedding gifts in the '70s: a foreign novelty shoved in a closet due to absolute cluelessness about what to do with it."
Michael O'Sullivan of the Washington Post calls the film "A misbegotten marriage of sweet and sour" and "The problem is it can't make up its mind and, unlike Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, the sharply contrasting flavors of these ingredients only leave a bad taste in the customer's mouth." O'Sullivan says Tucker is miscast, the script "perfunctory and sloppy", and the direction "limp, lethargic". Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a grade "C-" and was critical of the buddy comedy saying "The two characters barely even have a relationship; they're a union of demographics--the "urban" market meets the slapstick-action market."
Chan has expressed dissatisfaction with the film: "I didn’t like the movie. I still don’t like the movie." Chan continued: "I don’t like the way I speak English, and I don’t know what Chris Tucker is saying". Although he respects the box-office success of Rush Hour, Chan said he preferred the films he had done in his native Hong Kong because they delivered more fight scenes: "If you see my Hong Kong movies, you know what happens: Bam bam bam, always Jackie Chan-style, me, 10 minutes of fighting."
Rush Hour was the catalyst for the creation of the review-aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes. Senh Duong, the website's founder and a Jackie Chan fan, was inspired to create the website after collecting all the reviews of Chan's Hong Kong action films as they were being released in the United States. In anticipation for Rush Hour, Chan's first major Hollywood crossover, he coded the website in two weeks and the site went live shortly before the film's release.
A sequel Rush Hour 2, was released in 2001, which was primarily set in Hong Kong. A third film, Rush Hour 3, was released on August 10, 2007, which was primarily set in Paris. Tucker earned $25 million for his role in the third film and Chan received the film's distribution rights in Asia.
In 2007, before the release of Rush Hour 3, Ratner was optimistic about making a fourth film and potentially having it set in Moscow. In 2017 Chan agreed to a potential script for Rush Hour 4 after years of turning down scripts.
The official soundtrack album was also a success, certified platinum on January 21, 1999.
- 1999 ALMA Awards
- Winner: Outstanding Actress in a Feature Film (Elizabeth Peña)
- 1999 BMI Film and TV Awards
- Winner: BMI Film Music Award (Lalo Schifrin)
- 1999 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards
- 1999 Bogey Awards (Germany)
- Winner: Bogey Awards in Silver
- 1999 Golden Screen (Germany)
- Winner: Golden Screen
- 1999 Grammy Awards
- Nomination: Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television (Lalo Schifrin)
- 1999 NAACP Image Awards
- Nomination: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Motion Picture (Chris Tucker)
- 1999 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards (United States)
- Nomination: Favorite Movie Actor (Blimp Award) (Chris Tucker)
- 1999 MTV Movie Awards
|15 June 1999||United States||PG-13||New Line Home Video||NTSC||English||None|||
|18 October 1999||United Kingdom||12||Eiv||PAL||English||None|||
|2 March 1999||United States||PG-13||New Line Home Video||NTSC||1||English||Unknown||English||Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (16:9)|||
|1 October 1999||United Kingdom||12||Eiv||PAL||2||English||Unknown||English||Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1 (16:9)|||
|1 September 2005||United Kingdom||12||Eiv||PAL||2||English||Unknown||English|||
|3 January 2006||United States||PG-13||New Line Home Entertainment||NTSC||1||English||Unknown||English|||
|11 October 2010||United Kingdom||15||Warner Home Video||PAL||Free||English||Unknown||English||Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 (16:9)|||
|7 December 2010||United States||PG-13||New Line Home Video||NTSC||Free||English||Unknown||English||Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 (16:9)|||
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I dislike Rush Hour the most, but ironically it sold really well
- "20 Years Later, Rush Hour Is Still a Buddy-Cop Gem". Rotten Tomatoes. September 18, 2018.
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