By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Patient: Rush Hour 2
Profile: Overly complicated, totally predictable film full of stock characters in stock situations saying stock things about chopsticks up asses. Think Lethal Weapon meets Amos and Andymeets Charlie Chan meets My Ass Hurts meets The 57 Freeway meets The 22 Freeway meets The 5 Freeway at 7:30 a.m. and Nothing's on the Radio But Rick Dees.
Symptoms: Way too complicated. Two dead dads to be avenged, turncoat partners, faked deaths, counterfeiting rings, rich white guys and the feds—all in a movie that clocks in at less than 90 minutes but feels twice as long. Most of that time is taken up with lame race jokes that come down to "Chinese people talk stupid!" and "Black people so crazy!" The only thing missing was Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker shuffling through a watermelon field to the strains of Hop Sing's theme song. There is a rickshaw bit in Rush Hour 2. There is a Michael Jackson bit. What, no Kefauver jokes? No, but at one point, there is this exchange: "Yu." "Who?" "Yu." "Who?" Ninety minutes of this. All in all, about as fresh as Abbott and Costello's spinning, rotting corpses.
Diagnosis: Me no likey! Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, doc?! Me so solly! DYN-O-MITE!
Prescription: Take a clue from Alfred Hitchcock and James Bond—plane down your plot. There's one thing the hero needs, he goes after it, entertaining stuff ensues. People who pay nine bucks to see Rush Hour 2 do not want John Le Carrť. Judging from the Wunderkind at my showing, they'd have trouble following the machinations of a Roadrunner cartoon. So keep it simple. Let Chan kick ass—which he does in an extremely entertaining manner—and let Tucker say funny things. And about that: give Tucker some funny things to say. Look, I have nothing against racial epithets. I was stereotyping before it was fashionable—I refer to my groundbreaking Lisbon? I Thought She Liked Guys: The Big Book of Portuguese Putdowns. It's just that I think comic insults should be comic. Perhaps you could branch out and insult other ethnic groups. You don't think the Moldavians have it coming? Or the Gabonese? Frigging Gabonese. Think they're all big just because the okoume is the backbone of their wood industry. The world is your oyster . . . your oyster to pee on. Mmmm, pee oysters. But if you feel you have to stay with the black and Chinese jokes, at least come up with something new. I think David Duke is available.