The best portable gaming device from the East, meets one of the better buddy comedies from the West.
The "Rush Hour" franchise has been Jackie Chan's best work in the U.S. Similarly, the "Rush Hour" franchise has also been Chris Tucker's best work period (not to mention his only work in the past eight years). For those of you who have not seen the movie, Rush Hour 1 took place in America which made Chief Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan) a fish out of water, "Rush Hour 2" takes place in China, and makes Detective James Carter (Chris Tucker) the fish out of water this time out.
The story picks up where "Rush Hour 1" left off with Carter going to China on vacation and Lee promising Carter a good time. Lee is then told by his superior that the Leader of the Triads, Ricky Tan has resurfaced with implications made that Lee has some kind of history with him. To give anything else away would be spoiling the figure-it-out-as-you-go style the story is told in. Either way, I could give a longer narrative about what the story is about, but to be totally honest, what this movie is really about is the great chemistry between Tucker and Chan.
Chan is once again great as Chief Inspector Lee. He's the "serious one" of the two and although he has a lot of funny scenes (even more so than in the original Rush Hour) it's his wonderfully choreographed fight scenes that steal the show. It's hard to believe that this man is over fifty years old and can still do the things he does. Still, Chan has a good mix of one-liners ("Slow down baby…") and action so that neither gets old.
Chris Tucker is…Chris Tucker. When you go see a movie with Chris Tucker in it (which would mean you'd have to go rent one since he hasn't been in any movies since "Rush Hour 2" in 2001), you know what to expect from him. He's obviously the wild and zany one in the Chan/Tucker dynamic, and does it incredibly well. People have complained that in his previous movies such as "The Fifth Element," his performances get annoying but not in this movie. He does a great job in keeping the dialog quick and humorous.
As derivative as buddy comedies can be, "Rush Hour 2" manages to keep things fresh with great action, great laughs, great eye candy (Roselyn Sanchez and Zhang Ziyi), and most importantly great chemistry. The chemistry between Chan and Tucker is what sells the movie for me. It's interesting that two people who have nothing in common... not even language (in real life and in the movie), would be friends and have such great on-screen chemistry. Not only that, but the movie ends in typical Jackie Chan fashion with different outtakes and bloopers running during the credits.
"Rush Hour 2" is presented in a format that preserves its OAR of 2.35:1. Much like Wedding Crashers, this means that you have big black bars along the top and bottom of the picture, which further hinders the size of the picture on the PSP screen. Although formatting the transfer this way makes the picture smaller, I am all for it if it means that it keeps the original aspect ratio intact. The transfer has the all important two C's going for it- Clean and Crisp. Not only that, but the brightness and color levels are also spot on. It seems as though New Line is bringing over their reputation for quality transfers from DVD to UMD.
The audio is just as good as the transfer. You get a nice booming main track with good bass levels as well as good directional audio when appropriate. All the voices are clear, and the sound effects are as good as it gets. Until Dolby Digital becomes the norm, this is just about as good as it gets right when dealing with UMD audio.
As far as extras are concerned, this UMD is not too shabby. You get a director's commentary from Director Brett Ratner, additional deleted scenes/bloopers, and an on location featurette. I would've liked to have seen some of the additional extras from the DVD version included in the UMD version, but what you get instead is a set of above average bonus material.
"Rush Hour 2" is an excellent UMD. Every aspect of this UMD is great, and the movie lends itself well to the portable format. I definitely recommend it.