Rush Hour 2 [2001]

Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime
Rush Hour 2 retains the appeal of its popular predecessor, so it's easily recommended to fans of its returning stars, Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan. The action--and there's plenty of it--starts in Hong Kong, where Detective Lee (Chan) and his L.A. counterpart Detective Carter (Tucker) are attempting a vacation, only to get assigned to sleuth a counterfeiting scheme involving a triad kingpin (John Lone), his lethal henchwoman (Zhang Ziyi, from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), and an American billionaire (Alan King). Director Brett Ratner simply lets his stars strut their stuff, so it hardly matters that the plot is disposable, or that his direction is so bland he could've phoned it in from a Jacuzzi. At its best, Rush Hour 2 compares favorably to Chan's glossiest Hong Kong hits, and when the action moves to Las Vegas (where Don Cheadle makes an unbilled cameo), the movie goes into high-pitched hyperdrive, riding an easy wave of ambitious stuntwork and broad, derivative humor. Echoes of Beverly Hills Cop are too loud, however, and stale ideas (including a comedic highlight for Jeremy Piven as a gay clothier) are made even more aggravating by dialogue that's almost Neanderthal in its embrace of retro-racial stereotypes. Of course, that's what makes Rush Hour 2 a palatable dish of mainstream comedy; it insults and comforts the viewer at the same time, and while some may find Tucker's relentless hamming unbearable, those who enjoyed Rush Hour are sure to appreciate another dose of Chan-Tucker lunacy. --Jeff Shannon

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