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Rush Hour
New Line
2.35:1(16x9)/Dolby Digital 5.1
97 Minutes
Reviewed on a Panasonic A110

The Movie:

Chris Tucker is the funniest man in the world, in my opinion. It's too bad that the movies he acts in are always running to try and hopelessly catch up with him. One of the funniest things in cinema and some of the most enjoyable comic moments in the past few years have come from watching Tucker's performances. You can almost see his mind working in overtime trying to think up what to say next; and you never know what he'll say next. He takes the best of what Eddie Murphy used to be and just speeds it up a few hundred....thousand notches. It's just his looks of mock anger that always make me laugh. Never has anger been so funny.

He's joined by action star Jackie Chan in this film, which, although it's very funny at times, never really moves above the level of average, forgetable entertainment. Chan has done better "stunt-orientated" films like "Supercop" and "Rumble In The Bronx". In those films, he really shined with his mix of good humor and quick action. Here he's made to be more in the shape of the plot's need for humor and dialogue over stunts...not to say that there aren't any stunts; there are. It's just that they are a little few and far between.

The story revolves around a Chinese Console member who's daughter is kidnapped. Chan is brought in by the console member. The only problem is that the FBI wants to solve this case itself, and Chan's detective is not welcome. Some of the funniest scenes in the movie are watching Tucker's detective come to the realization that all he's called on to do is babysit Chan's detective. So, we start into the age old buddy cop flick.

Thankfully, this one isn't too bad. A nice script, some very good moments also from Chris Tucker when he's allowed to just improv his performance. Thank god Tucker and Chan liven up the proceedings; Chan has his usual array of incredible stunts, running up and down the sides of everything, kicking, doing it all; Tucker's mouth and Chan's quick feet make a nice balance of opposites. It's unfortunate that the direction is average, the plot is something you've seen all before, but it's through the performances of Tucker and Chan who make "Rush Hour" worth watching. It's nothing new, but when it works, "Rush Hour" is a whole lot of fun.

The DVD:
Picture Quality: New Line has done a phenomenal job with the transfer of "Rush Hour". The colors of Los Angeles are incredibly vivid and just pop on this disc. Look at the reds in the Chinatown scenes or the colors of the neon at night. The color saturation is wonderful and there is no bleeding in the colors; the light from a neon sign looks perfectly sharp and clear. Speaking of sharpness, the images themselves are perfectly clear and sharp throughout the disc. There are a few instances where there is a small shimmering problem, but compared to a lot of the other discs I've seen lately, the shimmering in this disc isn't worth mentioning. Again, images are razor sharp throughout, there aren't any other problems at all with this disc. There are a lot more pros to talk about, though. Skin tones are 100% perfect. There is definitely no pixelization in the disc whatsoever, even in the low-light scenes or in the backgrounds. Black level in the picture is fantastic and contrast is wonderful. Shadow level is excellent and overall, this is a nice continuation of the New Line tradition of replicating the theatrical experience at home. There's occasionally a problem with otherwise great discs such as shimmering or what not and it takes you out of the experience. There's nothing on this disc that's problematic enough to take the viewer out of the experience of the movie and that's a sign of the very best DVDs. The 2.35:1 image is excellent. Excellent job, New Line.

Audio Quality: Impressive sound quality on this disc, emphasizing the sounds that added to the tone of fun on this disc and that's Lalo Schifrin's fun, urban and light score melding old R&B hits and current rap along with other wonderful bits and pieces of fun music to make an enjoyable score. The score fills the room and sounds full and clear. Dialogue also has that "same room" impression, recorded with clarity. There's a lot of impressive sound on this disc like the gunfire(director Ratner talks on the commentary about how he wanted to make the gunfire loud and emphasize it to make it "exciting"), which sounds great. The explosions also fill the room with great impact and force.

Extras:Now here's where this disc really shines:
Commentary: There's an outstanding commentary with director Brett Ratner(who sounds at times sort of like Quentin Tarantino), who talks in depth wonderfully about the details of the production and working with Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan. It goes into the detail of working with the screenplay and building the stunt scenes. This is a commentary that really is exactly what I want to hear in a commentary: it tells the story of exactly what it took to get the story to screen, not just what's happening on the screen. This is a fascinating commentary and I recommend it as one of the best commentaries out there. There is also an isolated score(and it's a fantastic score) with commentary by the great composer Lalo Schifrin.

Documentary: Again, it's what I want to see in a documentary. The box calls it a "featurette", but "A Piece Of The Action: Behind The Scenes Of Rush Hour" is something I would consider a full documentary. There's a lot of fun going on in the interviews with the cast and crew, and it doesn't seem like a usual studio promotional documentary. A lot of the camera work is hand-held and it just seems like it was all done in fun and the fun that the cast and crew has carries over to the viewer. The documentary runs about 40 minutes and the last chapter is more in the way of the hilarious outtakes that ended the film.

Deleted Scenes: A short reel of deleted scenes that at the most, are about 1 minute. Nothing earth-shaking, but interesting to see. The reel is a few minutes in length.

Short film: Director Brett Ratner's very strange short film from when he was a student at NYU, "What Ever Happened To Mason Reese?". The film starts off with an intro from the director and commentary from the director is also available. The film itself....well, it's just strange, but it's nice to have on the disc.

Trailer: Of course, the trailer.(letterboxed at 2.35:1)

Cast/Crew: Very nice biographies of the cast/crew.

Music Videos: 2 music videos.

DVD-ROM: The screenplay, an interactive game and web links(available only to Windows DVD-ROM computer users)

MENUS: Sharp animated menus that start with a very funny piece of dialogue from Chris Tucker.

The Movie:A-
Picture Quality:A-
Sound Quality:A-

Excellent disc, funny movie, great extras, great price.

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