Rush Hour is just that. It's very exciting, very funny in places, and is blissfully short on any real plot. Now, don't get me wrong, I love Jackie Chan movies, I really do, but to combine him with someone like Chris Tucker was a bit of an odd pairing. Add to that a plot that fairly bursts with stereotypical secondary characters, and you have a fun, action-filled piece of fluff.
The story goes like this: Set around the British withdrawal from Hong Kong, a high-ranking member of the Chinese law enforcement leaves to take a Consul position in America. Just prior to his departure, his right-hand man, Detective Inspector Lee (Chan), makes a major bust that nets the Chinese government 5000 years of historic artifacts which had been on their way out of the country.
After coming to America, the Diplomat has his daughter kidnapped, and the FBI comes in to help. When learning that the Diplomat has called in his former right-hand man from China, they recruit motor-mouth L.A.P.D. detective James Carter (Tucker) to keep the Chinese detective out of the way.
This is the formula that sets up the rest of the film. Jim Kouf and Ross LaManna's screenplay is entertaining, but short on thickness at all the right points. Tucker is very funny, but he's almost too funny at times, like someone who expects everyone to laugh at their slightest little eye twist or facial quirk. Jackie Chan is… well… Jackie Chan. He's wonderful in his role, which has some acting, lots of action, and even a little singing which he does surprisingly well.
The FBI agents are part of the problem with this one. They're played as stereotypical career-minded white male law enforcement who have no senses of humor, and no ability to actually deduce anything, they just go from rote procedure to rote procedure. The villain is the other fault in this film. You are not introduced to the man behind the villain until late, late in the film, and the person you come to know as the "mastermind" during the course of the film is so stereotypical that you don't get to know him at all. You never find out why he does this, no plot exposition for the villainous side of the movie whatsoever until less than 10 minutes before the end of the credits.
Overall, this film is fun. It's well worth a matinee price to see, but if you're considering paying full price, I'd think twice. I give this film a B. Overall, it's a fun film, and a good time, but don't expect any kind of real cinematic meat from it. Take it for what it is... a fast-paced sugar cookie, and enjoy the ride.