It’s 1998, you and your friends never have money to go watch this newly released movies, so you all decide to sneak into the Delancey Theater like the trouble makers you are. You get in and your heart is racing. Not from the misdemeanor but from the excitement seeing Jackie Chan on a big screen. This was huge because you’ve only see him from VHS tapes straight outta Hong kong. Jackie Chan hasn’t been featured in America since Rumble In The Bronx!
From that moment, I developed a strange connection to the movie Rush Hour. This comedy action film somehow spoke to me on so many levels. Hong Kong and Hollywood films were so inspirational in my upbringing. Jackie Chan being one of my all-time favourite action stars. This was a story of a black and an Asian guy co-staring in a movie. This was unheard of. It was borderline a fantasy film because it came out during a time when Blacks and Asians really were at war with each other in my neighborhood.
The diversity in this franchise is so on point. You’ve got a Black and Asian main character respectively. And let’s be real, it’s pretty rare to see that kind of representation in mainstream media even today with all the ‘inclusion’. During the time the movie was released, the two racial groups had been pinned against one another for several decades already. Not to also mention supporting cast is also super diverse for a film that came out in 1998!
But diversity aside, the characters in the movie are just plain awesome. Detective James Carter and Chief Inspector Lee are both simple on the surface but are so well developed with their own strengths, weaknesses, and engaging personalities. And the chemistry between Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker is absolutely electric. Riggs and Murtaugh didn’t even have this kinda onscreen synergy.
Then there’s the action and comedy in the movie. Jackie Chan’s incredible choreographed action, paired with Chris Tucker’s well-timed jokes. Chefs kiss. I developed a strange ritual with this film. I travel to multiple cities for short to long term periods for work. If I don’t play Rush Hour at least once in the space I stay in, I will never feel “at home” It’s like blessing a home.I could like a person but if they don’t like Rush Hour, I instantly feel neutral about them. When I’m feeling cheeky to a stranger, I introduce myself as Jin Tao.
I’ve watched a boat load of films and dare I say the Rush Hour franchise is hands down the best movie series. This movie’s comedy while possibly seen as “cancellable” today, I personally feel it aged like fine wine. The movie is so memorable that I bet you could quote a scene from the pics I posted if you’ve watched it a bajillion times like I did. Rush Hour is the total package. If you haven’t seen it, please leave and don’t return until you have. If I know you in real life, I will force you to watch it.