Rush Hour 2 (2001)

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Released 19-Feb-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Dolby Digital Trailer-Train
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Featurette-Jackie Chan's Hong Kong Introduction
Featurette-Culture Clash: West Meets East
Featurette-Language Barrier
Featurette-Attaining International Stardom
Featurette-Kung Fu Choreography
Featurette-Lady Luck
Audio Commentary-Brett Ratner (Director) & Jeff Nathansan (Writer)
Featurette-Making Magic Out Of Mire
Featurette-Evolution Of A Scene (3)
Featurette-Fashion Of Rush Hour 2
Multiple Angles-Visual Effects Deconstruction
Deleted Scenes-9
Outtakes
Theatrical Trailer-3
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Easter Egg-Lord of the Rings Trailers (2)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 86:22 (Case: 90)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (74:17) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Brett Ratner
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Jackie Chan
Chris Tucker
John Lone
Alan King
Roselyn Sanchez
Harris Yulin
Zhang Ziyi
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $34.95 Music Lalo Schifrin


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Auto Pan & Scan Encoded English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English dts 6.1 ES Matrix (768Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes, general, in bars (not main characters).
Annoying Product Placement Yes, free tickets from a certain airline.
Action In or After Credits Yes, outtakes during the credits.

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Rush Hour 2 was one of those rare beasts - a sequel that was more successful than the original. Produced on a budget almost three times that of the original, Rush Hour 2 rocketed to well over $200 million at the US box office, helped by what is the largest opening weekend take ever for a comedy. The good (or bad, depending on your point of view) news is that figures like that have guaranteed that there will be a Rush Hour 3. The bad is that it is likely to be more akin to Rush Hour 2 than its predecessor.

    To my mind, there are essentially two problems with Rush Hour 2 - it has almost no story whatsoever, and the funniest line in the movie comes during the outtakes. This is not to say that it is a bad movie - it is still a lot of fun - but the pity is in what could have been. The opportunity was there to do a complete about face, and to focus on the American Detective James Carter's (Chris Tucker) experience in a foreign land. But, as most American movies seem to need to do, Rush Hour 2 cannot deal with the foreign land for too long without heading back to the good 'old US of A. As such, the action only lasts about half an hour in Hong Kong before Carter and his crime fighting buddy Chief Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan) are winging their way back to LA.

    The story, buried amidst the action and comedy set pieces, is something to do with Triads, led by crime lord Ricky Tan (John Lone) and assisted by his insane high-kicking off-sider (Zhang Ziyi) trying to smuggle counterfeit money into America. Really however, this movie was written to showcase the talents of Chan and Tucker, and their many co-stars (the audio commentary tells of the case of Don Cheadle who would only appear in the movie if he got to speak Chinese and fight with Jackie Chan - and so the part was created for his wishes). In the end, this is what audiences are looking for. This movie could have been titled "Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker do funny things and fight a bit", and still people would have come to see it. The story is really only there to allow the main stars to do their thing.

    So, does it work? Well, against all my better judgement, I would have to say that yes, it does. Despite the utter lack of story (and what there is has gaping holes throughout), and the obvious exploitive setups (Chris Tucker and Roselyn Sanchez both appear in bath robes at various times, and both take them off to show off their bodies - I mean honestly, how many people get undressed in front of an open window?), this film delivers exactly what it should - good one liners, and great action. Will I see Rush Hour 3 when it comes out - without a doubt. I guess that means that Rush Hour 2 must have worked.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    After a slightly dubious start, this transfer becomes another shining example of how movies should be viewed on DVD.

    Presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, this transfer is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer starts off with a very soft look - this lasts for about the first two minutes. From that point on however, it clears up to be extremely sharp, never lacking for detail wherever necessary. The opening shots are very reminiscent of tourist photography, and simply feature landmarks and images of Hong Kong. The only obvious grain present also occurs during the opening sequence, although this time it is on establishing footage of Zhang Ziyi's character at 1:00, and as such is more noticeable than on the landscape photography. Shadow detail is also very good, showing a great deal of depth during the darker scenes in the movie, of which there are quite a number. There was no low level noise detected.

    Colours are spot on, detailing the many highlights of the Hong Kong setting brilliantly, and also showing the equivalently bright, but far more garish nature of Las Vegas with equal ability.

    This film was completely free of both film and compression artefacts. The only possible area for complaint is with aliasing. There were only two very obvious instances of aliasing, at 0:35 on the windows of a high-rise building, and at 50:53 on the grille of a truck. Throughout the rest of the transfer however, there were many instances of extremely light aliasing. This is the type where it is not significant enough to notice apart from the slight "shimmer" it generates as the camera starts moving. Fortunately, the very minor nature of the aliasing prevents this from ever becoming more than a small annoyance.

    There are two subtitle tracks on this disc. The default is the English translation of some of the Cantonese dialogue (and hence is not burned in to the transfer - which is not the case for the R1 disc), while the English for the hearing impaired track relates almost every word that is spoken. This does occasionally cause the need for speed reading of the subtitles, but it is certainly preferable to paraphrasing.

    This is an RSDL formatted disc, with the layer change occurring at 74:17 between Chapters 13 and 14. The placement of the change is quite good, as it occurs on a static shot with no audio, however the length of the change still means that it is noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    For a soundtrack that was supposedly re-mixed specially for DVD in 6.1 surround formats, we have quite a disappointing mix. That's not to say that the audio quality itself is disappointing - it is still very good and does the job adequately for a film of this nature.

    There are four audio tracks on this disc. These are the English dialogue in Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (matrixed 6.1), and in DTS-ES 6.1 (discrete 6.1), as well as in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround (although not surround encoded), and finally the audio commentary track in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. I listened to both the Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and DTS-ES 6.1 tracks in their entirety, and also the audio commentary track.

    Dialogue is always clear and easy to understand (at least when it is in English), although those who have problems with accents may be advised to run with the subtitles on, as we have Chris Tucker's rapid fire speech, Jackie Chan's very thick Hong Kong accent, and Roselyn Sanchez's heavy Latino accent. The combination of all of these makes it necessary to concentrate a little harder than normal on the dialogue.

    Audio sync was likewise never a problem on this disc, being spot-on throughout.

    The score music for Rush Hour 2 was provided by Lalo Schifrin, who was also responsible for the original Rush Hour's score. It is a contemporary styled orchestral score, which matches extremely well to the on-screen action. The advantage of having the same composer is that the musical themes introduced in the original Rush Hour are continued here, giving a good sense of connectivity between the two movies.

    The use of the surround channels is the most disappointing aspect of the audio transfer. The surrounds are used almost exclusively for score and a low level of ambient noise. It is only on rare occasions that they are used for more active effects, and I never detected any directional surround usage. In fact, I do not know why the disc manufacturers bothered with high-tech 6.1 soundtracks as they both play a lot more like Dolby Surround tracks than even 5.1 discrete tracks.

    Unlike the surrounds, the subwoofer received a good workout, and added a great deal of punch to the bass where needed (such as during the numerous bomb explosions in the film).

    In comparing the DTS track to the Dolby Digital track, the two were indistinguishable, with neither giving any advantage over the other. The poor surround nature of the soundtrack did not lend itself to an analysis of the two competing 6.1 formats.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are a very large number of extras on this disc, the quality of which is generally very good. Given that this disc is an "Infinifilm" release in R1, the fact that almost all extras have been ported to the R4 release of this disc is extremely encouraging.

Menu

    The menu is 16x9 enhanced, features Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, is themed around the movie, and is impressively animated.

Audio Commentary - Brett Ratner (Director) and Jeff Nathanson (Writer)

    This commentary is quite interesting, as the director and writer discuss the way in which many scenes changed from the original script to the final production. It is also surprising how aware they were of how little story there is in the movie - and how little trouble it caused them.

Deleted Scenes with or without directors commentary (12:24)

    This contains 9 deleted scenes, and an extended outtake reel as follows:     These scenes are available individually, or as a group via a Play All option. They can be viewed with or without commentary from Brett Ratner. The outtakes do not feature director's commentary. All are presented in 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Multi-angle Visual Effect Deconstruction (4 angles)

    This shows the set up of the embassy bombing scene from original plate photography through to the final product.

Featurette - Making Magic Out Of Mire (8:53)

    This is a documentary on director Brett Ratner and features a large amount of behind the scenes footage. It is quite interesting and is presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Featurettes - Evolution of a Scene

    This looks at the development of three scenes from within the movie in detail. The scenes are:     Each section looks at the scene in question from a number of perspectives, including location, scripting and performances. All are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Featurette - Jackie Chan's Hong Kong Introduction (2:01)

    This is really a short tourism video for Hong Kong that features score music from the film playing over images of Hong Kong. Jackie Chan's dialogue sounds like it was recorded down a phone line. Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Featurette - Culture Clash - West Meets East (4:50)

    This featurette tells how the cast and crew adjusted to working in Hong Kong. Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Featurette - Language Barrier (4:18)

    This explores the difficulties of working with cast (and crew) members who do not speak English (Zhang Ziyi did not understand a word of English while making Rush Hour 2). Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Featurette - Attaining International Stardom (7:00)

    Explores the world-wide appeal of both Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker following the success of Rush Hour. Also looks at why the two are so popular as a combination. Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Featurette - Kung Fu Choreography (9:28)

    The requisite documentary on a Jackie Chan movie exploring the way in which he choreographs his fight scenes. Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Featurette - Fashion of Rush Hour 2 (3:50)

    Ostensibly an investigation of the fashion and clothing used in Rush Hour 2, but is basically stolen by Jeremy Piven in character as the gay Versace shop assistant. Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Brett Ratner Student Film - Lady Luck (2:29)

    Presented in black and white 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring only a Dolby Digital 2.0 commentary track, this is one of Brett Ratner's earliest student films, surrounding an assassination of the President of the United States.

Theatrical Trailers

    This presents three trailers for Rush Hour 2, as follows:     All three are presented in 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced and feature both Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 audio.

Cast and Crew

    This presents only a filmography for the major cast plus the director. As a nice touch, the description for which Chinese year the actor (or director) was born in is displayed.

Lord of the Rings Trailers

    There are two trailers for The Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Rings present on this disc. They can be found in the "Chapter Selection" section on the pages for chapters 7-8 and chapters 15-16. As the design of the chapter selection page allows for three chapters per page, it is very simple to locate the trailers. They are presented in 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced and feature both Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 audio.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     The two additional subtitles tracks on the R1 are little more than gimmicks (although the trivia track is at least interesting), while the value of the DVD-ROM content is really a matter of personal opinion. For me, I do not think the additional features on the R1 are sufficient to warrant choosing it over the local version, so I would call this one a draw.

Summary

    Rush Hour 2 is a fun movie, and although it does not possess a lot (some may even say any) story, it is at least an enjoyable way to spend an hour and a half.

    The video quality is excellent after the first few minutes, and is a pleasure to behold.

    The audio quality, while sufficient for the movie, is very disappointing given that the soundtracks were specially re-mixed for DVD.

    The extras are plentiful, and really give a good amount of background information for what is really a very light piece of entertainment. This is about as good as it gets for a film of this nature.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Monday, February 25, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersAll matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)

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