Rush Hour (film series)

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Rush Hour film series
RushHourDVDTrilogy.jpg
Rush Hour trilogy on DVD
Directed by Brett Ratner
Produced by Roger Birnbaum
Jonathan Glickman
Arthur M. Sarkissian
Jay Stern
Robert Birnbaum
Michael Poryes
Screenplay by Jim Kouf
Jeff Nathanson
Based on Characters created 
by Ross LaManna
Starring Jackie Chan
Chris Tucker
Music by Lalo Schifrin
Mark Mothersbaugh
Ira Hearshen
Nile Rodgers
Edited by Mark Helfrich
Robert K. Lambert
Mark Possy
Billy Weber
Don Zimmerman
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release date(s) 1998–2007
Running time 279 minutes
Country Hong Kong
United States
Language Cantonese
Mandarin
English
Budget $263 million
Box office $849,734,899

The Rush Hour film series is a series of Hong Kong-American martial arts/action-comedy films starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, directed by Brett Ratner, and distributed by New Line Cinema. The main plot centers around a pair of police detectives: a Hong Kong Police Force inspector and an American LAPD detective (portrayed by Chan and Tucker) who go on a series of misadventures often involving corrupt crime figures. All three films received commercial success and incorporate elements of martial arts, and the buddy cop sub-genre.

Development[edit]

Production for Rush Hour[edit]

Rush Hour was released on September 18, 1998, grossing over $244 million worldwide.[1] Martin Lawrence and Dave Chappelle were originally considered for the role of James Carter, but Chris Tucker was finally chosen for the part. Director Brett Ratner, a big fan of Jackie Chan's Hong Kong movies, felt that American audiences would not be familiar with the jokes in Jackie's other movies, and deliberately re-used some of his gags. For example, the scene where Inspector Lee accidentally grabs Detective Johnson's (Elizabeth Peña) breasts is a reference to Jackie Chan's film Mr. Nice Guy (1997).[citation needed]

Production for Rush Hour 2[edit]

Rush Hour 2 was released on August 3, 2001. The film grossed $347,325,802 worldwide, making it the most successful film in the Rush Hour series. In an interview, director Brett Ratner admitted that the first part of the karaoke scene with Chris Tucker was not supposed to be filmed. Tucker refused to act like Michael Jackson with the cameras running. During takes, he went up as entertainment for everyone. Secretly, Ratner told the cameramen to film it but to not let Tucker notice them. On an episode of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Tucker said that while he was filming this movie in Hong Kong, many locals mistook him for NBA star Kobe Bryant. In the film, while Tucker's character is running up the stairs, the old woman shouts, "Move out of the way, Kobe" to him. However, in the DVD audio commentary, Ratner states that main writer Jeff Nathanson came up with that line shortly before the filming of that scene. The mural on the wall of the Heaven on Earth Massage Parlor was copied from one in Scarface, which Harris Yulin and Ratner appeared in. The scene where Jackie Chan and Tucker are running down the street naked in Hong Kong was an actual take; production could not block the street off for the shoot. The scene where Chan and Tucker run in the streets was inspired by a scene in The Accidental Spy (2001) which Chan made before this movie. Ratner saw the film and decided to include a similar scene in Rush Hour 2 (2001).

The girl-picking scene came from the Bruce Lee film Enter the Dragon (1973), which Chan appeared in. During the boat party that Ricky Tan holds, the song "Tian Mi Mi" can be heard playing in the background. The same song was used in Year of the Dragon (1985), a film which also co-starred John Lone. Seasickness helped Roselyn Sanchez feign a lack of enthusiasm for Tucker's advances in the yacht sequence. When Tucker is saying that Asians always panic and points out Godzilla films as a reference, he shouts "Hayaku! Hayaku!" This is Japanese, and it means "Quickly! Quickly!" The scene where Carter gets the kosher meal was originally scripted to have Carter ask if Lee "want some of my gefilte fish?" after the stewardess left. But Tucker could not pronounce "gefilte", so the scene never made the final cut (outtakes of this scene are in the end credits). Don Cheadle only agreed to appear in this movie under two circumstances: he gets to speak Chinese and pick a fight with Chan. In the scene where Chan and Tucker went inside the business suite, Ernie Reyes, Jr. appeared in a cameo as the worker who was chased by Chan and Tucker.

Jeremy Piven made a cameo appearance in Rush Hour 2 as an over-enthusiastic gay Versace salesman. Like Cheadle, he was from The Family Man (2000), a movie that was also directed by Ratner. The Red Dragon Casino in Las Vegas owned by Ricky Tan (John Lone) and Steven Reign (Alan King) was actually the Desert Inn hotel and casino. There were red lights shined at the hotel to make it a scarlet color. Following the closure of the 50 year old Las Vegas Strip property in August 2000 by new owner Steve Wynn, the Rush Hour 2 production moved in and redesigned parts of the property as a Chinese themed casino/hotel for the movie. Shortly after the movie wrapped production in Las Vegas, the Desert Inn was demolished on October 23, 2001 make way for the new $2.7 billion Wynn Las Vegas resort. Red Dragon is also the name of a movie that Ratner directed months after Rush Hour 2, as well as the name of a real casino in Mountlake Terrace, Washington, USA.[2] The fake cash used in the movie said "In Dog We Trust". Even so, some of it "escaped" from the set and eventually ended up in a few casinos in Las Vegas. Chan's favorite number is 32. The gangster's car has a license plate of 32 and when Lee spits the grenade onto the roulette table it lands on 32 when it explodes.

Tucker ad-libbed many different versions of his short speech to Hu Li at the end of their fight. Ratner felt the speech was not working and told Tucker to call her a "bitch". Tucker refused to say the word and it took hours of convincing by Ratner before Tucker finally agreed. During the filming of the stunt where Lee and Carter jump from the top window of the Red Dragon hotel then slide down the wires of Chinese Lanterns, a real (i.e. not part of the movie) car chase took place on/through the set. Apparently, a carload of drunken tourists (the set was in Las Vegas) got into an altercation with a taxi driver, and the two cars began a chase that ran down the strip and onto the set, narrowly missing crew members, extras and an enormous crane which held a camera and crew. Fortunately no one was injured; the driver and passengers of the taxi were detained by police. On the DVD release of the film, a deleted scene featured Philip Baker Hall reprising his role of Captain Diel from the first film. Carter speaks with the Captain about his stay in Hong Kong and his involvement in the Triad case. Ratner states in the DVD audio commentary that while he would have loved to include the scene in the final cut (essentially giving Hall a cameo appearance), it did not advance the plot and was left out.

Zhang Ziyi only speaks three words of English in the film, two of which being her famous line "Some apple?" (however, she is seen mouthing "Here's your package. You're welcome." while Lee and Carter are spying on Molina through the windows from the neighboring tower) as she did not know the language at the time of filming. Chan served as her translator on the set. Zhang Ziyi's character name, "Hu Li", means "fox." Her character was originally written for a man. The first two films in the Rush Hour series begin in Hong Kong and end in a United States airport. The time gap between Rush Hour 2 and Rush Hour could approximately be four days. In all three Rush Hour films, the main antagonist is killed by falling to his death. In the first film, Thomas falls to his death when the vest rigged with C4 rips and falls off. Because he was holding onto it he falls with it. In the second, Ricky Tan is kicked out of a window and falls to his death on a taxi. In the third, Kenji falls to his death from the Eiffel Tower when a safety rope snaps and after realizing there was no way they could both survive, he forces Lee to let him go.

Production for Rush Hour 3[edit]

Rush Hour 3 was officially announced on May 7, 2006, and filming began on July 4, 2006. The film, set in Paris and Los Angeles, was first released on August 10, 2007,[3] and grossed $258,022,233 worldwide. Academy Award-winning film director Roman Polanski co-stars as a French police official involved in Lee and Carter (Chan and Tucker's characters) case. Tzi Ma reprises his role as Ambassador Han, Lee's boss and friend who appeared in the first installment. This film has received a M rating by the Office of Film and Literature Classification (Australia) and a PG-13 rating by the MPAA for "sequences of action violence, sexual content, and language". Additionally, the film was not screened in Chinese theaters in 2007 to make way for a larger variety of foreign films, according to a business representative. (The quota for imported films is 20 each year.)[4]

Future[edit]

Because of the films' collective box-office success, director Brett Ratner and writer Jeff Nathanson are currently considering the production of a fourth installment. In the DVD audio commentary for Rush Hour 3, Brett Ratner joked that the fourth Rush Hour film could be released in 2012. Ratner and Nathanson are exploring many concepts, including the use of the motion capture technique for the possible sequel and various different film projects with Chan and Tucker. It has been reported that the fourth film may be set in Moscow.[5]

Ratner stated in an interview in 2009 that he "has been in contact with a long list of stars including Danny DeVito and Jet Li for possible roles in a potential Rush Hour 4," but stressed "nothing's been okayed yet". In a short interview with Vulture in 2011, Ratner stated that the cost of making a follow-up to X-Men: The Last Stand would have cost more than the recent reboot and "that's why another Rush Hour 4 probably won't get made, either: It'd be too much to pay me, Chris [Tucker], and Jackie [Chan] to come back."[6]

In another interview in 2011, Tucker in an interview with the radio show The Breakfast Club stated in response to the question of a fourth by saying, "Rush Hour 4? Maybe you know, because that's a different kind of movie. You the action and the stuff like that, and they pay 20 million dollars too... I'm just joking! No, you know Jackie Chan, you know I love working with him and those type of movies you can redo them and it's different, we'll see but I don't know though. But we've got some new stuff coming, so we'll see what happens."[7]

In July 2012, series producer Arthur Sarkissian stated that a fourth film was being worked on with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, and stated that he would welcome Brett Ratner back as director if he would "do it in the right way." Sarkissian expressed some dissatisfaction with the third film, and admitted he wants the potential fourth film to be grittier, and have new ideas. Sarkissian is reportedly working on choosing which out of "four or five" screenwriters he has been talking to, should work on the script.[8]

Characters[edit]

Character Film
Rush Hour Rush Hour 2 Rush Hour 3
Chief Yan Naing Lee Jackie Chan
Detective James Carter Chris Tucker
Consul/Ambassador Solon Han Tzi Ma Tzi Ma
Soo Yung Julia Hsu Zhang Jingchu
Thomas Griffin/Juntao Tom Wilkinson
Detective Tania Johnson Elizabeth Peña
Sang Ken Leung
FBI Agent Warren Russ Mark Rolston
FBI Agent Dan Whitney Rex Linn
Ricky Tan John Lone
Isabella Molina Roselyn Sánchez (cut from the 3rd film)
Hu Li Zhang Ziyi
Steven Reign Alan King
Kenji Hiroyuki Sanada
Geneviève Noemie Lenoir
George Yvan Attal
Jasmine The Dragon Lady Youki Kudoh
Varden Reynard Max von Sydow
Captain William Diel Philip Baker Hall (cut from the 2nd film, uncredited in the 3rd)

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Film Release date Box office revenue Box office ranking Budget Reference
United States Outside US Worldwide All time US All time worldwide
Rush Hour September 18, 1998 $141,186,864 $103,200,000 $244,386,864 #212 $33,000,000 [9][10]
Rush Hour 2 August 3, 2001 $226,164,286 $121,161,516 $347,325,802 #70 $90,000,000 [11][12]
Rush Hour 3 August 10, 2007 $140,125,968 $117,896,265 $258,022,233 #215 $140,000,000 [13][14]
Total $507,477,118 $342,257,781 $849,734,899 $263,000,000

Critical reaction[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic IMDb
Rush Hour 62% (65 reviews)[15] 60 (23 reviews)[16] 6.8/10 (297 reviews)[17]
Rush Hour 2 52% (127 reviews)[18] 48 (28 reviews)[19] 6.5/10 (214 reviews)[20]
Rush Hour 3 19% (155 reviews)[21] 44 (32 reviews)[22] 6.0/10 (214 reviews)[23]
Average rating 44% 51 6.4/10

Soundtracks[edit]

Year Title Chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
U.S. U.S. R&B
1998 Rush Hour 5 2
  • US: Platinum
2001 Rush Hour 2 11 11
  • US: Gold
2007 Rush Hour 3 ? ?
  • ?

References[edit]

External links[edit]