Chris Tucker, at one time, was at the top of the Hollywood comedic hierarchy. He was starring in blockbuster films alongside some of the biggest names in the game. Heck, he was among the biggest names in the game. Looking back on his films, it’s easy to see why. The dude was just legit, flat-out hilarious. Now one of his hit movies from the 1990s is blowing up on streaming. Money Talks is ranked sixth in the United States for streaming on Netflix.
Money Talks stars Chris Tucker as Franklin Maurice Hatchett, a small-time hustler who is fast-talking and looking to make a quick buck. If anything this is just Chris Tucker playing himself on screen, a manic and self-assured dude who is quick to take shots at others when scamming them. Things are going “fine” for him until a gotchya investigative reporter James Russell (played by Charlie Sheen) tries to catch him on camera doing one of his dirty deals.
This series of events lands Hatchett on his way to jail on a prison bus that also happens to have an infamous criminal on it as well. When the bus is hijacked the two are able to escape and Hatchett learns of a plot to retrieve $50 million worth of stolen diamonds. In a series of ever-escalating hijinks, Chris Tucker and Sheen’s characters end up teaming up to find the money and get into a bunch of other silly situations along the way.
Check out the trailer for Money Talks and get a glimpse of what Chris Tucker was bringing during this point in his career:
Now, Chris Tucker was becoming a major film star at this point, but it didn’t really help the film when it came to the critical reviews. Money Talks is sitting at just 16% on Rotten Tomatoes with critics panning the story and just the ridiculous nature of the overall plot arc. But many, even when they came in on the negative side, still praised Tucker’s energy and comedic delivery. He makes a stupid film very much watchable because his presence on screen is, at times, overwhelming. And it makes sense, at least from the recent streaming numbers, that the audience score of 71% is much higher than what critics put out there.
At the box office, Money Talks was able to about double its money with ticket sales earning $48 million on its $25 million budget. And it’s also worth noting that this movie marked the film directorial debut of Brett Ratner behind the lens. The director was recommended by Chris Tucker after the two had worked on music videos before. They would go on to work together on all three Rush Hour movies.
In 1997, when Money Talks came out, Chris Tucker was just beginning to ascend the Hollywood ranks. He was fresh off his breakout performance as Smokey in the cult classic Friday alongside Ice Cube. And in this same year, he’d also have scene-stealing parts in The Fifth Element and Jackie Brown.
And it was after this that he was cast in the aforementioned Rush Hour movies alongside Jackie Chan. The buddy cop, fish out of water films were major hits, especially the first one. Rush Hour banked more than $244 million at the box office on a $34 million budget. The subsequent films banked as well and in total the trilogy earned almost $850 million in ticket sales worldwide. Tucker banked on these films, reportedly earning a combined $45 million combined for the second and third movies in the series.
Though it appeared like Chris Tucker was on a meteoric rise in Hollywood and becoming more of a box office draw, the Rush Hour movies are his last starring roles on the big screen. He had minor parts in Silver Linings Playbook and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, but that’s it. Tucker points to his Christian faith as to why he became ultra-selective in his movie roles after the Rush Hour movies. I’m sure the money didn’t hurt either.
What’s new for Chris Tucker these days? His 2015 Chris Tucker: Live landed on Netflix in 2015 and was a cleaner version of his previous comedy. It earned middling reviews. And there are always rumors of a Rush Hour 4 which has been in and out of development over the years. In the meantime, until we get some more Chris Tucker in our lives, go check out Money Talks and see why this guy was poised for stardom.