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Rush Hour 2

Thank Heavens Above! Rejoice! Let the Angels sing! Let your voice be raised in praise and glory!

Hollywood made a 2001 summer blockbuster that didn't suck!!!

The spiritual gift to the poor moviegoers of the land is Rush Hour 2, the continuing adventures of Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker and various fists of thunder.

Now I must say that this isn't a perfect movie. This is not my favorite movie of all time, which would mean that it was even better than Babe and Star Wars combined. My praise is not so much due to the amazing quality of the film itself; rather, it is the result of evaluating the film in the glare of the box-office mega-monsters that have run amok this summer.

Mummy Returns, Pearl Harbor, Tomb Raider, A.I., Jurassic Park, Planet of the Apes. These were the movies that we planned our summer around, event pics that would be totally, utterly cool. But reality dashed our hopes and dreams. Some of these were bad, others palatable- Pearl Harbor and Jurassic Park were actually quite painful.

None of them delivered the simple, joyous pleasure of watching a good movie. And Rush Hour 2 delivers.

Know why it delivers? Because it knows what it is. A summer blockbuster. Simple as that.

So we get Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker beating up bad guys and busting a crime ring. Period. No stupid sub-plots. Jackie Chan doesn't make a side-trip to come to terms with his blind daughter. Chris Tucker doesn't get involved with a group of homeless children who are in need of some salt. Anything remotely sub-plotty is based in people and characters already important to the main story (JC and CT beating up bad guys and busting crime rings) and at no point are we told that Chris Tucker actually has a secret legacy as the true Pope or that Jackie Chan is slowly dying of an incurable disease.

Thank God.

Here's your straight-from-the-heart storyline. Chris Tucker has finally taken Jackie Chan up on Jackie's offer to show him around Hong Kong. Then someone ups and bombs the American embassy. That someone is probably a dangerous Chinese gang, and so Jackie gets involved, and naturally, his buddy Tucker helps out. What are friends for? So Jackie and Chris whoop the hides of just about everybody they can as they dig into what becomes a series of bombings. The movie roams from Hong Kong, to LA and then eventually to the happiest place on Earth, Las Vegas. Along they way we laugh, we cheer, we enjoy ourselves with the first true popcorn flick of the summer.

With everything else around them flying past at breakneck speeds, the movie hinges on Jackie and Chris. Jackie is as marvelous as ever. There are some amazing stunts, and he routinely fends off packs of wild hooligans. Chris Tucker is every bit as amusing as he was the last time we saw him, and this time he rips his shirt off and beats people up as well. He's even involved in some of Jackie's stunts, and he holds his own, though of course no one outshines the master.

There's a mysterious woman who may be a good guy or may be a bad guy. There's the traitorous enemy from the past. There's the rich white guy. In a nutshell, there's everything you'd want in a summer blockbuster. Including a live chicken.

There are some who say that Jackie gets watered down in these American-made films. That his stunts are ordinary and not as imaginative as they were in his earlier Hong Kong films. To that I say: he's 47!!!!! Did you know that? He was born in 1954! He's getting old! Know what? If he were still doing Hong Kong films as much as he used to, they might begin to get a little watered down as well. But even watered-down Jackie kicks the living crap out of most action we get around these parts. Jackie is a living God, we are merely his subjects.

And of course the movie does it's patriotic duty by casting Don Cheadle in a small role. I'm pretty sure that guy's been in every film released this year so far. I hear he has a cameo in American Pie 2 as a cheese Danish.

Rush Hour 2 is darned neat. If you want to really enjoy a silly movie, go see it. And be sure to stay for the outtakes at the end. They are the treat they usually are, and the final outtake literally had the theater in stitches.

I give Rush Hour 2 3 5/6 Babylons. Enjoy!

Editor's Note:

Dear reader: I left the last line of this review in so you could evaluate the lameness of the SMC for yourself- do you think that the last outtake LITERALLY had the theatre in "stitches"? And another thing- did you know that I had the SMC sit and watch "Enter the Dragon" this weekend on cable? His only comment was "I didn't know that Link from the mod squad did karate movies!"

Rush Hour 2
Rated: PG-13
Directed By: Brett Ratner
Starring: Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Roselyn Sanchez, Alan King, Ziyi Zhang and the contractually-mandated presence of Don Cheadle.

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