|Category||Action Comedy||Theatrical Trailer(s)||Yes, 1 - 1.78:1, non-16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0|
|Rating||Other Trailer(s)||Yes, 1 - Dolby Digital Canyon|
|Year Released||1998||Commentary Tracks||Yes, 1 - Brett Ratner (Director)|
|Running Time||93:53 minutes||Other Extras||Biographies - Cast and Crew
Featurette - A Piece of The Action: Behind The Scenes of Rush Hour (40:51)
Menu Audio and Animation
Music Video - Nothin' But Love (Heavy D) (4:35)
Music Video - How Deep Is Your Love (Dru Hill) (4:28)
Short Film - Whatever Happened to Mason Reese (13:11)
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||No||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Dolby Digital||5.1|
||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448 Kb/s)
English (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, like to guess which airline they must have used?|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, in credits of course (this is Jackie Chan after all)|
In broad terms, the plot here starts in Hong Kong just prior to the handover to China. Chief of Police Griffin (Tom Wilkinson) is toasting the departure of Consul Han (Tzi Ma) to take up his post of Consul in the United States - when news arrives that Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan) has liberated rare artifacts from China's history stolen by mysterious crime lord Juntao. Cue Consul Han in Los Angeles a short time later, where he is staging an exhibition of many of those rare artifacts. Juntao has taken something of a dislike to losing his artifacts so arranges the kidnapping of the Consul's daughter Soo Yung (Julia Hsu), who shall be returned for the princely ransom of $50,000,000. Naturally the FBI is called in, but Consul Han wants someone he can trust to help regain his daughter - so calls in her godfather who just so happens to be Lee. The FBI is not too impressed, so arranges for secondment from the L.A. Police Department of Detective James Carter (Chris Tucker) to handle a dipstick assignment to greet and otherwise waste the time of Lee, so that there is no involvement by him in the case. What follows is the usual smorgasbord of improbable situations into which Lee inserts himself and then extricates himself - whilst heading all the time to the rather inevitable conclusion which highlights a rather nice twist - at least to those who are not so familiar with the workings of politics and corruption in that wonderful place known as Hong Kong.
Like many a Jackie Chan film before and no doubt like many a Jackie Chan film yet to be made, the plot is hardly likely to be confused with something from the pen of say Shakespeare. Even director Brett Ratner freely admits that significant bits of this film are influenced by whole bundles of films along the lines of 48 Hours and Beverly Hills Cop. Still, after all these years why would we expect to start having to worry about plot in Jackie Chan films is all I have to ask? All we have to worry about is whether the film delivers the action that we do expect from such films. And broadly speaking this does indeed deliver that, but along the way we do have to put up with something quite insufferable - Chris "The Talentless Motormouth" Tucker. Take him out of the equation and this would have been a great, fun film. Jackie Chan, despite being hampered by the safety concerns of Hollywood, still manages to do what he does better than just about anyone - blend full on martial arts action, stunts and comedy. And whilst he will never win too many Academy Awards, his consistency in performing is quite comforting. And the rest of the cast, bar one, is no less distinguished. Tom Wilkinson produces another of his typically accomplished performances as does Tzi Ma and the talented Elizabeth Pena. The presence of Chris "The Talentless Motormouth" Tucker unfortunately undermines a lot of what there is good about this film and reduces its impact somewhat in my opinion. To give him his due however, director Brett Ratner has done a pretty good job of bringing this film together, although he did have a lot of damn good help on board for this effort.
Whilst there always has to be something of merit in a Jackie Chan film in my view, this has to be admitted to be showing the worst of influences from Hollywood that may not bode too well for the future. Nonetheless, if you can put up with Chris "The Talentless Motormouth" Tucker - which obviously I cannot - then you will probably enjoy this far more than I did. It really is something of a flawed effort in my view that could have been so much more.
The only way to reliably tell which version of this DVD you have is to play the Dru Hill music video. It if plays correctly, you have the original master. If it crashes, you have the remaster. The packaging is identical between releases, and we were unable to make out the disc markings on either of our versions of this DVD.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.
The transfer is extremely clear and extremely sharp throughout, with barely any evidence of dropping from such lofty standards. Shadow detail is generally very good, although there were a few instances (notably in some of the more confined spaces in the film) where I would have expected it to be just a little better. There is no low level noise apparent at all in the transfer.
The colours were beautifully vibrant throughout, very nicely saturated without any tendency towards oversaturation. Just check out the scenes showing the outside of the consul's home - I have rarely seen grass lawn so vibrantly green. The colours are remarkably consistent throughout. Overall, this is a gorgeous looking transfer.
There are no readily apparent MPEG artefacts in the transfer. Regrettably, there are some noticeable film-to-video artefacts present - some quite noticeable aliasing throughout thanks to the usual culprits, which does detract somewhat from the video transfer. As we should expect from such a recent film, there are no significant film artefacts at all in the transfer. About the only flaw that I noticed in the transfer, aside from the aliasing, was a rather noticeable reflection type effect at the top of the picture at 23:19; this is presumably an inherent film problem however, as it is also present in the Region 1 version of the film.
This is an RSDL format disc, with the layer change coming at 65:25. Whilst the layer change is quite good and is not that noticeable and not too disruptive to the film, it could have been handled a lot better as there was a scene change about five seconds later that would have hidden the change much better.
There are three audio tracks on the DVD: an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded soundtrack and an English Audio Commentary in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded sound. I listened to the Dolby Digital 5.1 and English Audio Commentary soundtracks.
You have Jackie Chan and Chris "The Talentless Motormouth" Tucker in a movie together and you want clear and easily understood dialogue? Whatever the stimulant you use, can I have some too?
Okay, I use a Pioneer player which is supposedly more sensitive to audio sync problems than others. The fact that in general I have had little problem at all with audio sync, other than with two notable and well documented Roadshow Home Entertainment efforts, probably does not mean too much to most. Well, it does to me and I have to say that you can add a third notable example to the list of problematic Roadshow Home Entertainment titles - and this is it. I am not especially sensitive to audio sync problems but this soundtrack, and most especially during Chapter 8, is very problematic. Most of the problem during the film could be overlooked - but Chapter 8 is so bad as to be almost laughable. Indeed, Chapter 8 is possibly the worst example of audio sync problems that I have encountered - certainly Rounders is far more consistently out of sync, but at no time was that film as out of sync as Chapter 8 is here, as far as I recall anyway. I find it somewhat alarming and mildly amusing (in a perverse sort of way) that Roadshow Home Entertainment discs seem to be the only discs that exhibit any sort of audio sync problems on my player. It would seem that there must be something that is occurring in the mastering somewhere that is creating this problem, as I have no audio sync problems with the Region 1 version of the film. I wish that Roadshow Home Entertainment and Pioneer could get together to determine what the problem is in mastering so that it can be eliminated.
However, as a result of the wide spread nature of the audio sync problem noted, which was not confined to just Pioneer players, Roadshow Home Entertainment withdrew the original version of the DVD and undertook a remastering. The remastering has pretty well fixed up all of the audio sync problems noted above. The remastered Chapter 8, the worst affected chapter, is pretty much free of any problems, and I would have to suggest that whilst there are just the merest hints that the sync may be going astray, it would only be the most exceptionally sync sensitive who will have any problem with the remastered DVD.
The musical score by Lalo Schifrin is very nicely done, with some nice infusion of Chinese sounding music into the overall score. The lack of the the isolated score in the Region 4 version is all the more noticed because of the quality of the score.
This is a nicely detailed soundtrack, without being an overtly aggressive soundtrack, which makes something of a difference for an action based film. After recently bemoaning the lack of use of the rear channels for ambience in a recent review, this effort makes quite good use of the rear channels in that manner. The overall soundscape is quite natural and quite believable, into which you are nicely inserted. There is some serious workout for the subwoofer in only a couple of sequences, as Brett Ratner does not indulge in Jan De Bont-style over-the-top extremes. Overall, a very nice soundtrack that provides plenty of space to the sound without indulging in artificial theatrics.
Aside from some minor quibbles, an excellent video transfer.
If audio sync is not a problem for you, a great audio transfer on the original release, but much improved by the lack of audio sync on the remastered version.
A very nice collection of extras overall, but the remastered version is marred by the data corruption problem.
© Ian Morris
14th February 2000
revised 18th April 2000
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in|
|Amplification||Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|