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Rush Hour Trilogy - Blu-ray Review


Title: Rush Hour Trilogy

Movie:
Video:
Audio:
Extras:


HTS Overall Score:81




WARNING: THE SCORES ABOVE ARE A COMBINED SCORE FROM ALL THREE FILMS, THE INDIVIDUAL SCORES ARE CONTAINED BELOW IN THE INDIVIDUAL SECTIONS OF THE REVIEW

Summary
Wow, is it really hear? I mean, “Rush Hour 2” has been hinted at and teased to the viewers for almost a decade. Back in 2007 when “Rush Hour 3” hit home video it was one of New Line’s first offerings to the Blu-ray community. Sadly we were hoping for the first two films, but they were a long time coming. Three years later we got “Rush Hour”, but for some strange reason New Line decided to not release the second film. Then New Line was folded into Warner as a subset after the company went bankrupt and for the last 6 years we have been hoping and pleading for the day that we would finally see the film on Blu. First it was teased on Amazon and reports and insider hints stated that it would be coming out a couple years ago. Then those reports stated delays and constantly shifting dates until it was almost as joked about as “True Lies” and “The Abyss” as an “oh yeah, coming next year, riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight” situation. Now, after nearly a decade of waiting (and 6 years since the first film was released on Blu-ray) we have it in our hands! Only the caveat is that you have to buy the “Rush Hour” trilogy set to get the film. Well, most of us already have the first and third film and have had them for quite a few years. Well, to balance out the equation, the set IS dirt cheap and comes with a nicely done cover art and an extra special features disc. While in a perfect world I would have the option of a single release to just complete my collection, I can live with dropping my old copies of the first and third movie on ebay and getting the dirt cheap trilogy to put on my shelf.

Rush Hour
“Rush Hour” holds a special place in my heart. Not only was it a great bonding movie for me and my high school buddies, but it was also the very first movie that I saw in theaters of Jackie’s. I had been a lifelong fanatic of his Hong Kong films and was really digging his American movies as well. However, “Rush Hour” was his first BIG American movie that shot him into public superstardom IMO (sure there was “Rumble in the Bronx”, but that was still viewed as a Hong Kong film by most Americans). It was the perfect mix of big Hollywood blockbuster combined with the high flying action of the now slightly aging martial artist. Pairing up Chris Tucker (who was surprisingly hot at the time) with Jackie was pure comic gold and the film shot to the top of the charts and became known as one of his better American films. I personally like “Shanghai Noon” almost as much, but “Rush Hour” is still top of the list for me. It’s fun, it’s stupid and it has tons of hand to hand combat thrown in for good measure.

When Soo Yung (Julia Hsu), the young daughter of Chinese Consul Solon Han (Tzi Ma) is kidnapped on her first day of school in Los Angeles, The FBI is called in to negotiate her release. One of Han’s stipulates is that Hong Kong inspector Lee (Jackie Chan), who is a friend of the family, be called in to assist the investigation. The FBI naturally doesn’t want anyone interfering with their investigation, but this IS an international incident being that a Chinese Consul’s daughter is the victim. Figuring they have an out, the FBI charges rogue LAPD detective James Carter (Chris Tucker) to “show Detective Lee around” (basically babysit him and keep him from getting in the way of the FBI) while the FBI goes on with the real work.

Naturally this doesn’t sit well with the disappointed Detective Carter. He wants in on the action and has dreams of grandeur only to be discouraged by what is a humiliating job. Lee soon realizes what Carter’s role is and tries to ditch him, but the LA cop is going to have none of that. Soon it’s motor mouth against lightning fists and the pair bumble into an international incident that may end up being far more personal than either of them anticipated. After bungling a rescue attempt of Soo Yung, Lee and Carter are forcibly removed, but that isn’t going to stop the fastest hands in the east and the fastest mouth in the west from saving the Consul’s daughter and redeeming themselves.

“Rush Hour” is a complete and utter blast from beginning to end. It has just the right mix of humor and one liners to be funny, and tons of fantastic action for the kung fu lovers in all of us. While I love the big blockbuster aspect of Bret Rattner’s films, I also have to admit that I really miss the days of Jackie Chan being a complete and total monster in his stunts. At this time he’s starting to slow down just slightly and the insane stunts he used to pull over in Hong Kong (which may be partially due to having insurance claims over here in the U.S. vs. the stuff they’re allowed to do over in Asia) are just not as over the top and crazy as it would be in say “Supercop” or “Police Story”. Still, the brilliant chemistry between Chan and Tucker is fantastic and the there are some amazingly quotable lines in the movie (I still use “Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth!?” quite a bit).

Rush Hour 2
It’s finally here! While it was only shot 3 years after 1998’s “Rush Hour”, “Rush Hour 2” has taken 13 years to finally get to Blu-ray. With the success of “Rush Hour” and 2000’s “Shanghai Noon”, it was pretty obvious that “Rush Hour 2” was going to be made. Running the popularity high of the first movie we had a film that tried to do what every sequel does. Up the anty at every turn and add more of what made the original fun (even if adding more doesn’t add anything to the enjoyment factory). More jokes, more action (actually quite a bit) and more cute girls (although I can’t really complain about having Ziyi Zhang and Roselyn Sanchez in the film. Two of the most beautiful women on earth in my opinion). It didn’t do nearly as well as “Rush Hour” did popularity wise, but it was a fun movie that was ALMOST as fun as the original, if not better in some ways.

Carter and Lee are back again. This time Carter is on vacation in Hong Kong with Lee this go around. While enjoying his down time he finds out that Lee is actually investigating a triad case that involves an ex-partner of Lee’s father. A man named Ricky Tan (John Lone). A cop who betrayed the force and ended up becoming one of the biggest triads in China. Now Ricky is in over his head with the other triads gunning for him and Lee is trying to find out what is going on. Sooner or later Carter gets roped into coming along for the ride and once again the duo finds out that there is much more going on. An undercover Secret Service agent named Isabella Molina (Roselyn Sanchez) is also investigating Tan as well, but her angle is that of finding out if the triad leader had access to stolen government monetary printing plates and presses. A crime that could very well position the triad into becoming a world power if he can launder the “super bills” that he would be creating.

Like usual, Carter and Lee mess things up only to get caught up in the middle of the action. The dynamic duo go down the rabbit hole and find out just how involved Ricky Tan is in the money laundering business and kick some serious butt along the way. If the two have time to fight over the gorgeous Isabella and stay alive form a vindictive triad underling (Ziyi Zhang) it’s all just icing on the cake for the fastest hands in the east and the biggest mouth in the west.

“Rush Hour 2” is really just a reverse remake of “Rush Hour”. This time it’s the fast talking Carter who is out of his element and Lee who’s the seasoned veteran who knows how things work. Comedy lines are reversed (we have Lee saying the famous “Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?” as well as “never touch a Chinese’ man’s CD!” and the like), and Carter is able to finally hold his own with the martial art wielding Asians that they encounter. Still there’s plenty of fun to be hand and the inclusion of Jackie’s famous stunt team makes for some awesome martial arts battles.

John Lone is perfect as the suave, but glowering, Ricky Tan and Chan and Tucker have more than enough chemistry to keep things interesting. Supposedly they had a few tense moments personality wise while filming, but it never really comes across on screen and the duo are hilariously fun together. Jackie is starting to slow down a bit in this one, but he still can rough and tumble with the best of them, and his incredible skills kept me entertained for the perfect action movie 90 minute runtime.

Rush Hour 3
I have to say right off the bat that the third movie in action/comedy franchises rarely turn out good. “Lethal Weapon 3”, “The Transporter 3”, “The Matrix Revolutions”, can you see the pattern here? The first couple were great to good, but the franchise will usually lose steam by the third entry and just end up being tepid, or just plain BAD. “Rush Hour 3” falls into this category of diminishing returns and is easily the weakest of the three films. I LOOOOOVED “Rush Hour” when it came out and was pleasantly surprised by the sequel. However “Rush Hour 3” is running on fumes at this point being that the first two movies weren’t the bastion of intelligence and film making ingenuity to begin with. We have a rehashed plot and the reintroduction of the first movie’s Soo Yung (Jingchu Zhang), as well as a very obviously bored Chris Tucker and a tiring Jackie Chan (“Rush Hour 3” was actually the film where Chan apologized to fans for having to use wires and a little bit of physical help for some of his stunts. Something he really was proud of doing all by himself over his career). It’s still a decently fun action movie, but the sparkle is gone from the series and there is definite need for closure in the franchise (although there is now upcoming rumors of “Rush Hour 4”, something which I think is way past due and really just needs to be put to bed NOW).

Like with most of these types of films, “Rush Hour 3” is a compilation of the “best of” the “Rush Hour” series. Replicating the generic plot of Lee and Carter getting back into the game, we have hints of an assassination attempt on Solo Han’s life (from the first movie), and his now grown up daughter Soo Yung coming along for the ride in an attempt to find out who is behind the event. Then there’s Kenji (Hiroyuki Sanada), a Japanese assassin with ties to Lee’s childhood in an orphanage, and a mysterious man behind the mask who is running the whole operation. Along the way is another gorgeous woman for Carter to lust after (this time played be Noemie Lenoir) and action ensues.

Yeah, basically that’s it. The plot is the thinnest out of the three movies and Brett Ratner’s slightly soulless approach to film making is certainly visible for all to see. The really redeeming factor comes from Chan and his martial arts and Tucker wise cracking like usual. The “I talk funny” schtick from Chan is wearing a bit thing, and Chris Tucker can only crack so many wise’s before he becomes a one trick pony and “Rush Hour 3” skates that very thin line quite nicely. The film is about as generic an action movie as they come, but Ratner knows how to eek the most out of the tepid plot and keeps the film’s enjoyment to a semi decent level.




Rating:

Rated PG-13 for sequences of action/violence and shootings, and for language/Rated PG-13 for action violence, language and some sexual material/Rated PG-13 for sequences of action violence, sexual content, nudity and language



Video


Rush Hour
Shot in 35 mm film, “Rush Hour” is probably the weakest of the films video wise. Using a 2.40:1 VC-1 encoded Blu-ray from the stand alone release in 2010, this new pressing looks the same as it did 6 years ago. Colors can be a bit dull side, and blacks look a bit milky along with soft detail, but I can’t blame the transfer for this. There is very little artifacting, and despite the above mentioned flaws the image looks quite nice. The presentation looks fairly consistent, with grain and noise coming and going in the night time shots, but overall the image is rather nice. I did say that this wasn’t the fault of the encode and I stand by that statement. Most of these issues plagued the theatrical release that I saw back In the day as well as the DVD as well, which goes back to the photography by Adam Greenberg.


Rush Hour 2
“Rush Hour 2” is the only one of the three films to sport a new encode being that this is the first time that it’s ever been released on Blu-ray. It has the unique distinction to come with a 5.1 DTS-HD MA track and a nice AVC encode that really is quite nice for a catalog title. I think the master for the movie has been lying around for quite a few years (I mean “Rush Hour 2” has been rumored as coming out for almost 7 years!), but it still looks very nice. Colors are warm and vibrant. The pinks and bright reds when Carter and Lee are in Hong Kong stand out amazingly well, and the deep reds and golds of the Red Dragon Casino fight are incredibly saturated. Blacks are deep and inky, but there is a teensy bit of crush here and there if you really look. The overall image can be VERY crisp and clean, with great detail all around, but I do have to admit there is some softness and smudging to the image that keeps it from being truly incredible.


Rush Hour 3
“Rush Hour 3” is the newest of the series (shot back in 2007 on 35 mm film) and was considered near reference when it came out almost a decade ago as the first “Rush Hour” film on Blu-ray. While I’m not bashing the transfer at all (it’s using the same excellent VC-1 transfer from the 2007 Blu-ray), it IS a bit dated in comparison to other 4.5/5 and 5/5 rated transfers (what it was originally rated back then). It’s a relatively grain free transfer with a clean contrast ratios and excellent detailing throughout. Guns and Carter’s crazy outfits look razor sharp, and the differing European and American locations look incredible on film. The colors lean towards a more yellowish hue (something that seems to be common in movies dealing with France) and there is plenty of primary pop along with some nice earthy browns along the way. There is no major artifacting that I could make out and the blacks are deep and inky. A well done transfer (although I would have liked to have seen an AVC re-encode) that looks just as nice as it did 9 years ago



Audio

Rush Hour
The 7.1 DTS-HD MA track for “Rush Hour” is a blast to listen to, and yes, we can definitely “understand the words that are coming out of your mouth” (sorry, I had to slip that in there somehow). “Rush Hour” came out in 1998 (actually remember going with friends after my senior years senior ditch day to see it) and while there are a few age issues with the mix, it is still a great sounding track. Dialog is crystal clear with great imaging in the front of the sound stage. Not to mention some nice LFE support with the tons of action oriented scenes. The battle at the end with Juntao is awesome to hear with gunfire blasting away all around, as well as the heavy weighted impact of fists and feet. The track isn’t wildly aggressive, but decently so, and the resulting LFE is more than enough to get the job done. I will have to say that there are a few flaws that are age related (90s didn’t always have the best mixes for cheap films like this was). The surrounds can feel a bit boxy at times and some of the action and dialog a tad tinny. Nothing too wild, but it does give the film a slightly dated feel.


Rush Hour 2
Unlike the other two films, “Rush Hour 2” is not given a 7.1 DTS-HD MA mix, but rather a more traditional 5.1 mix. Before anyone thinks of this as a DOWNGRADE, remember this. Back when New Line was its own studio they would upmix 5.1 tracks into 7.1 mixes for their Blu-ray releases, and while they’re great sounding mixes they aren’t exactly the theatrical mix. “Rush Hour 2” reverts back to a more traditional 5.1 mix that is quite pleasing to the ears. Vocals are crisp and cleanly replicated at all times and the surrounds get a solid workout with the copious action scenes. LFE is fairly restrained compared to the third movie, but it has some impressive moments for sure (especially the ending explosion at the end). A very nice sounding audio track, it’s finally nice to hear one of my favorite “Rush Hour” films in lossless audio for once.


Rush Hour 3
There’s only one audio track on the third film, and that is New Line’s classic 7.1 DTS-HD MA audio mix that they were so famous for. Don’t worry, it’s a doozy and easily the best of the entire trilogy. Loud, aggressive, and full of spice it dazzles every second of the action packed film. Gunshots ring with clarity and carry a massive LFE weight behind them, and car chases light up the surrounds with all sorts of action. Fisticuffs impact with incredible power and the Chinese influenced score is wonderfully organic and fluid throughout the film. Most of the “increase” in the audio score is mostly because this was a newer release at the time and was back in the day when New Line cooked their mixes a bit hot in the surround and LFE department. It’s a great sounding track and a blast to listen to (while sadly the movie is a bit underwhelming comparatively).




Extras:
Rush Hour
• A Piece of the Action: Behind the Scenes of Rush Hour
• Deleted Scenes
• Dru Hill "How Deep Is Your Love?"
• Heavy D & The Boyz "Nuttin' But Love"
• What Ever Happened to Mason Reece
• Trailer
• Commentary
• Music Only Track
Rush Hour 2
• Commentary with Director Brett Ratner and Writer Jeff Nathan
• Deleted Scenes
• Attaining International Stardom
• Culture Clash: West Meets East
• Evolution of a Scene - Chicken Chop
• Evolution of a Scene - Slide for Life
• Evolution of a Scene - The Bomb
• Fashion of Rush Hour 2
• Introduction by Visual Effects Supervisor Kevin Lingenfelse
• Jackie Chan's Hong Kong - Introduction
• Kung Fu Choreography
• Lady Luck With Commentary By Brett Ratner
• Language Barrier
• Making Magic Out of Mire
• Visual Effects Deconstruction
• Trailers
Rush Hour 3
• Outtakes Reel
• Deleted Scenes
• Making Rush Hour 3
• Visual Effects Reel
• "Le Rush Hour Trois": Production Diaries
5th Extra Disc
• NEW. Brett & Jackie: A Look Back at Rush Hour - The director of Rush Hour reflects on his favorite scenes, lines, and moments from the film.






Overall:

It’s been a long time coming, but “Rush Hour 2” is FINALLY here! I swore that it would never make it to Blu-ray, much like the elusive “Zoolander” (which kept getting bumped for years until “Zoolander 2” prompted a release of the film), “Rush Hour 2” seemed doomed to float in lala limbo land for years until this packaged set comes out. Personally I wish Warner had followed their usually great option of having a single as well as the triple pack for those of us who already OWN the first and third movies, but with the dirt cheap price of the set I really don’t mind the double dip. The set comes with a nice slipbox as well as an extra disc of special features to sweeten the pot, and “Rush Hour 2” comes with an impressive array of extras. Both the first and third films are the exact same encodes (same discs actually) as the previous stand alones, but it is fantastic to finally get “Rush Hour 2” and complete my Jackie Chan collection on Blu-ray. Still recommended.


Additional Information:

Starring: Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Ziyi Zhang, Roselyn Sanchez, Max Von Sydow
Directed by: Brett Ratner (all three)
Written by: Ross LaManna, Jim Kouf : Ross LaManna, Jeff Nathanson : Ross LaManna, Jeff Nathanson
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 VC-1 / 2.40:1 VC-1 / 2.40:1 VC-1
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, Spanish, German Italian DD 5.1, Czech, Hungarian, Thai, Japanese / English DTS-HD MA 5.1, German, Spanish, Italian, Hungrian, Polish, Thai, Turkish, Japanese DD 2.0, /English DTS-HD MA 7.1
Studio: Universal
Rated: PG-13 (all three)
Runtime: 98 minutes : 90 minutes : 91 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: November 8th, 2016


Buy Rush Hour Collection Blu-ray on Amazon

Recommendation: Recommended

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post #2 of 6 Old 11-10-16, 07:53 PM
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Re: Rush Hour Trilogy - Blu-ray Review

I love these flicks (particularly #1 and 2)... I might need to pull the trigger and add this to the collection. Nearly a must have!
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post #3 of 6 Old 11-10-16, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Rush Hour Trilogy - Blu-ray Review

I've watched the first two so many times I can nearly quote them verbatim. The third..... not so much
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post #4 of 6 Old 11-11-16, 10:01 AM
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Re: Rush Hour Trilogy - Blu-ray Review

They are both classics.... love it! This is perfect saturday afternoon viewing material. ;-)
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post #5 of 6 Old 11-11-16, 04:37 PM
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Re: Rush Hour Trilogy - Blu-ray Review

Considering Rush Hour 2 was not released on blu-ray I'm psyched for this!!


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post #6 of 6 Old 11-11-16, 05:06 PM
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Re: Rush Hour Trilogy - Blu-ray Review

I agree. ORDERED!
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