Rush Hour (Blu-ray Review)

It was in 1998 when a 29-year old director by the name of Brett Ratner brought together an unlikely pairing of martial arts guru Jackie Chan and fast talker Chris Tucker. While it may have looked like a quirky attempt to replicate Lethal Weapon on the surface, Rush Hour took on its own identity, pullingin a handsome sum of money from theaters around the globe.  Here we are 12 years later (hard to believe!) and the cop action/comedy is finally coming home to Blu-ray.


With a $35,000,000 production budget, Rush Hour was a considerably modestly priced film to make.  Heck, I’ll go as far as to say that’s cheap.  But as the old saying goes, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight.  It’s the size of the fight in the dog, and fight it did.  Rush Hour brought in over $141,000,000 domestically and another $104,000,000 overseas (the-numbers.com).  That’s a hefty income of $245,000,000 that was more than enough to spawn a few sequels.  Still, parts II and III never measured up to the original.  For the inundated, the story revolves around the following key items.  Tucker plays Detective Carter of the LAPD.  His methods are unorthodox and to the point, but he often finds his mouth getting away from him.  Needless to say, the guy’s one step away from suspension.  Chan is ace Detective Lee of the Hong Kong police who has been brought to America to aid in finding the consulate’s kidnapped daughter.  In an attempt to keep Lee out of their hair, the FBI ask for any Los Angeles police officer to occupy the foreign investigator.  It just so happens that Carter is their man.

What starts off as an irritating cop matches with someone who’s just trying to do their job, ends with an irritating cop and another cop who’s just trying to do his job.  It’s not really that one-sided though.  Chan and Tucker have great chemistry in this film and the writing, especially that of Tucker’s lines, is a great thing.  You get a brief but well-informed glimpse of each cop in their own familiar environment.  When they first meet, the humor kicks in instantly.  Tucker’s street lingo, while unfamiliar to Chan’s character, is such a well fed and abrasive delivery that it becomes the yin to Chan’s yang.  Obviously uncultured and more of a solo act, Carter takes some unwilling time to adjust to working alongside someone.  On the flip side, Lee has his own hurdles to clear as he cautiously navigates the English language while getting Carter to stop being a roadblock to the investigation’s progress.

Whether it’s the pursuit of an international crime ring or ordering dinner, Rush Hour provides just over an hour and a half of high speed fun from the moment it starts to the moment the credits roll.  If I had to pick twenty of my most favorite films of all time, this one definitely makes the list.  Minus a few jokes that younger generations may miss (invovling Chelsea Clinton or the Neverland Ranch), this movie, while not a classic, is, dare I say it…timeless.  I loved it 12 years ago and I love this movie today.  Sure, it may not follow procedural realism as far as law enforcement is concerned, but who cares?  It’s a blast!  Tucker is a perverbial minigun of sass and quips while Chan brings out his familiar, but never-gets-old acrobatics and rapid strikes.


Looking as bright and crisp as it did in the late 90’s, Rush Hour comes out even a little better in 2010.  The VC-1 encode in 1080p is enjoyable, though you’ll be hard-pressed to pick up fine visual details available in other Blu-rays (like Crank).  You’ll also find a 1.77:1 aspect ratio that pleasantly displays a screen-filling picture showing consistent skin tones and vibrant colors.  Scenes of grain are limited to a mere two; one is a very brief foot chase down an urban alley and the other is an even more brief shot of a helicopter in flight.  Neither of these, however, are distracting enough to take away from the film’s visual experience.


I guess I was hoping for a little more out of this feature.  Don’t get me wrong; the sound is enjoyable as it’s pumped through the speakers in DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1.  However, it’s an action movie.  These things thrive on surround sound.  Bullets whiz by from one speaker to the next over your shoulder while the subwoofer barks with a dominating beat, and yes, all that happens here, for the most part.  I really thought this was an easy 5 out of 5.  Unfortunately, there are a couple items that could have used some slight tweaks.  Namely, more use of the rear speakers.  Users may expect more of that immersing experience when glass shatters behind you and sound travels from left to right or vice versa.  Maybe I’m just being a little hard on it or maybe, just maybe, Rush Hour‘s sound fell a wee bit short of expectations.

Special Features  

Don’t hope for a whole lot of pretty here.  Everything is in gritty 480 standard definition resolution.  The content is appreciated, especially when referring to the ‘behind the scenes’ footage.  The interviews with the cast and crew are informative and sometimes humorous and provide an extra bit of depth to the overall disc.  A nice touch was adding a couple of music videos from the 1990’s as well.

  • Commentary by Director Brett Ratner
  • Isolated score with commentary by Composer Lalo Schifrin
  • A Piece of the Action: Behind the Scenes of Rush HourHere’s the material I was talking about.  From getting Jackie Chan to be a part of this movie, to what it was like working with Chris Tucker, viewers will get a hearty bit of extras here (40:53).
  • Whatever Happened to Mason Reese (optional commentary by Brett Ratner) – Ratner provides a short but interesting intro, followed by his first student film (13:12).
  • Deleted Scenes – There’s nothing special here unless you’re curious to see what hit the editing room floor (3:03).
  • Theatrical Trailer – (2:29).
  • Music Video – Nuttin’ But Love by Heavy D and the Boyz (optional commentary by Brett Ratner) (4:40)
  • Music Video – How Deep is Your Love by Dru Hill (optional commentary by Brett Ratner) (4:29)

Final Thoughts  

If you’re looking for a good, fun, PG-13 action-comedy, then look no further than the original Rush Hour on Blu-ray.  This film has so much replay value it is without a doubt an instant addition to my library.  The movie looks clean in high def and is as funny as it was the day it came out in cinemas.  Jackie Chan is simply masterful in his stunts and physicality while Tucker is in his verbality (is that even a word?).  While a sequel was welcomed, neither of what came out was as good as the original.  Bring the fight home and buy Rush Hour on Blu-ray today!


8 Responses to “Rush Hour (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Gerard Iribe

    Rush Hour is the bomb, yo!

  2. Gregg Senko

    I love this movie!!

  3. Brian White

    The hardest thing about running a Blu-ray website, IMO, is not about the endless hours that go into running it, but giving away the movies I love most to my fellow reviewers. Make no doubt, when this appears on Amazon for a killer price…I’ll be all over it!

  4. Sean Ferguson

    They will probably do a box set soon if it isn’t out already. I really like the first one but they got worse with each release.

  5. Aaron Neuwirth

    The third one made me want to punch an endangered panda.

  6. Brian White

    I liked all three. I would agree on Sean’s statement above, but I am the proud owner of the third one on Blu-ray and I LOVE it! That’s right Gregg…I LOVE it!

  7. Aaron Neuwirth

    I miss “fun” Jackie Chan. The Chan that would break his bones for our entertainment. That being said, Karate Kid was a solid film

  8. Gregg Senko

    Aaron, I’m keeping you out of Chinese bamboo forests for your own protection 😉