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Rated 3.05 stars
by 1355 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
by Betty Jo Tucker

If W.C. Fields were alive today, he would revise his famous advice to actors as follows, "Never appear in a movie with animals, children, or Jackie Chan." Even a boisterous clown like Chris Tucker fails to steal a scene or two from the Kung Fu comedy master in Rush Hour 2. As usual, my attention focused primarily on Chan and his fantastic stunts. Iím always amazed at the way this popular international star moves with a style and grace reminiscent of Gene Kelly. And I donít think itís a coincidence Chanís fight scenes are so expertly choreographed. Iím sure heís studied all those great Hollywood musicals.

Playing two detectives from very different backgrounds again, Chan and Tucker are back on a case together in Rush Hour 2. But this time Tucker starts out as the fish-out-of-water. Heís in Hong Kong on vacation, trying to persuade his friend to loosen up and have some fun too. Instead, Tucker gets drawn into Chanís search for a terrorist bomber --- a trail that ends in an explosive visit to Las Vegas.

While I enjoyed the stunning visuals of Hong Kongís glittering skyline, the first part of this action comedy dragged a bit, so I welcomed a change of scenery. Only one sequence kept my interest alive in the early scenes. It involved the co-stars dangling over a busy street on "strong bamboo" in the middle of a fight. "Thatís more like it," I whispered to my husband.

But as soon as our heroes get to Las Vegas, they make up for lost time. While creating a diversion for Chan, Tuckerís comic barbs against racism had me in stitches. He spellbinds a casino crowd by winning continuously and yelling out every injustice against blacks he can think of. "This oneís for Mandela," he shouts with a roll of the dice. And Chan must struggle with a tiny bomb in his mouth while trying to capture Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), who displays some deadly martial arts moves of her own.

Itís obvious Chan worked closely with Zhang, who studied dance in China, to help coordinate their fight sequences. "She only used a stunt double twice during filming," Chan says in admiration for the 21-year oldís spunk and courage. "I tell her to trust me and then she does the stunt," he explains.

Another actress in this cast impressed me almost as much as Ziyi. Puerto Rico-born Roselyn Sancez (from televisionís Fame L.A.) makes a stunning movie debut as the double agent Chan falls for. Sanchez and Ziyi go "leg to leg" in an exciting fight with Chan at the opulent Red Dragon Casino (created inside the recently closed Desert Inn Hotel in Las Vegas). My husband said "Wow" out loud during that bout. And I had to agree with him.

Regrettably, Iím disappointed at the miscasting of comedian Alan King (Just Tell Me What You Want) as one of the villains here and by John Loneís (The Last Emperor) lack of charisma in the role of his partner in crime. Playing a wealthy American involved in money laundering, King just seems to be reading his lines, and Lone simply sneers at everyone in most of his scenes. Maybe thatís how all Asian crime lords act, but it didnít work for me.

What did work again were those very funny outtakes. I look forward to them at the end of every Chan movie. However, these Rush Hour 2 outtakes also made me a little sad. Watching Chan get hurt for real, as he does often while doing his own stunts, I couldnít help wondering how much longer he can keep this up. After all, heís no youngster anymore. And I donít see anyone on the movie horizon who can take his place. Jet Li (Romeo Must Die), you say? I donít think so. As expert as Li is in martial arts, that wonderful self-deprecating humor doesnít come through in his work.

Guess Iíll have to be satisfied with my Jackie Chan video library.

(Released by New Line Cinema and rated "PG-13" for action, violence, language and some sexual material.)

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