Who doesn’t love Jackie Chan? He is by far one of the most popular Asian actors on the planet and has been for some time. In fact, one of his most popular movies is slowly making its way up the streaming charts, coming in at the number four spot with a bullet on the HBO Max streamer.
Rush Hour is a Jackie Chan staple. Along with Chris Tucker, the pair split sides in this buddy-cop action-comedy thriller that showcased Chan’s martial arts ability as well as Tucker’s perfect sense of comedic timing.
The story begins with Jackie Chan’s Inspector Lee leading a raid in Hong Kong trying to capture the unidentified and mysterious crime lord Juntao. Instead of finding the crime lord, he finds Juntao’s right-hand man, Sang, who escapes. But Lee is able to retrieve a number of stolen Chinese treasures and present them to Chinse Consul Han before he transfers to Los Angeles and the British Commander Griffin (Tom Wilkinson).
It’s not long after Han and his family arrives in LA that his daughter Soo Yung is kidnapped. Han immediately calls Lee (Jackie Chan) in Hong Kong, asking for his help, which Lee agrees to. But the FBI is afraid of an international incident, so instead, they send LA detective James Carter to pick up Lee at the airport and keep him as far away from the case as possible.
What Carter doesn’t know is that he is being punished for botching a sting, so his babysitting job is the penance he pays. It doesn’t take Carter long to realize what’s going on, so he decides he’ll solve the kidnapping case on his own. Of course, Lee doesn’t plan on letting that happen.
The two form a very uneasy relationship, both with the same goal but also with very different methods of obtaining said goal. Jackie Chan’s Lee escapes Carter’s attempts of stopping him from getting to the Chinese Consulate but when Lee arrives and then Carter, Carter accidentally negotiates a $50 million ransom drop.
The drop is a ruse with explosives set to take out the police and FBI. It works as many agents and cops are killed. Lee and Carter recognize Sang at the explosion site but lose him after a lengthy chase. As the investigation ensues, Lee and Carter’s bond begins to grow stronger as each play off their weaknesses as they get closer and closer to not only finding Soo Yung but also the identity of Juntao.
Rush Hour was an immediate hit for Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. Chan had been making movie headlines for his roles in movies such as The Legend of Drunken Master, Rumble in the Bronx, and Mr. Nice Guy. His martial art skills were legendary as was the fact that Chan performed his own stunts, as crazy as they were.
Chris Tucker, on the other hand, was not as well known a commodity. In his early career, he found himself in movies like House Party 3, Friday, and Dead Presidents. He opened the world to his brand of comedy when he took on the classic role of Ruby Rhod in the popular Bruce Willis-led The Fifth Element. He then co-led Money Talks opposite Charlie Sheen before grabbing a small role in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown.
What is truly amazing about Tucker’s role in Rush Hour is that the movie premiered in 1998. Since that time, Tucker has appeared in a total of four movies, two of them Rush Hour sequels.
In contrast to Tucker, Jackie Chan, since Rush Hour, has appeared in no less than 35 films which also include the Rush Hour sequels as well as his turn as Chon Wang in Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights. Chan also led the remake of The Karate Kid.
Rush Hour enjoyed great success at the box office. Brett Ratner, who also helmed Rush Hour 2 and Rush Hour 3, brought Rush Hour to the big screen for $33 million while bringing home nearly $245 from happy audiences.
Jackie Chan continues to work on both sides of the ocean, appearing in Hong Kong films as well as here in the States. It is rumored that Chan will be once again saddling up with Owen Wilson in another Shanghai movie, this one titled Shanghai Dawn. It has also been long rumored that a fourth Rush Hour is in the works.
Rush Hour 3 premiered in 2007, so the talk of number four has been ongoing since that time. There have been quite a few occasions that Tucker himself has come out stating they’ve agreed to make number four but to date, nothing has truly materialized. Jackie Chan has been notorious for turning down offers or rejecting scripts for a fourth film and around October 2017, Chan stated a new script was in the works.
As of 2019, Tucker came out again stating work was still being done on the script, but nothing was imminent. Who knows if a fourth will ever be produced? Jackie Chan is now 67 years old, and one wonders how much longer he is willing to make these types of action movies.
For now, go and enjoy Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in the original Rush Hour on HBO Max. When you’re done with that, make it a triple feature by watching both sequels, which are also available on the streaming service.