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Qreview - film: Out of summer’s morass comes ‘Rush Hour 2’

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It’s been a rough summer this year. Every weekend Hollywood has thrown out some huge spectacular mess. Whether it was dinosaurs, monkeys or robots, audiences have largely ignored the parade of expensive, gimmick-filled celluloid circuses after their first weekends.

And for good reason. Many of these films have been about as fun as they’ve been intellectual. But, just as summer winds down and it looks like there will be no videos to buy the kids for Christmas, we have “Rush Hour 2,” by far, the best film of the season (which, of course, is not saying too much).

The sequel to the surprise 1998 hit, which firmly established both Chris Tucker (“The 5th Element”) and Jackie Chan (“Shanghai Noon”) as box office heavyweights, is just as good if not better than the original. This time around, no time is wasted setting up the odd-couple pairing of a slightly bewildered Hong Kong detective, Chan, and an enthusiastic LAPD loud-mouth, Tucker — they just dive right into it.

As in the original, the comedy end of this action-comedy is its strongest suit. In particular, Tucker and Chan’s interplay is once again, wonderful. Chan’s fearless Kung-Fu straight-man to Tucker’s cowardice arrogant troublemaker go together like ham and cheese. Unfortunately, this time around, the two seem to spend less time with each other. But while they don’t share as many scenes, one is never very far away from the other.

What plot there is (and thankfully there isn’t much) has the two heroes tracking a pair of bomber/counterfeiters, John Lone (“The Last Emperor”) and Ziyi Zhang (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) from Hong Kong to Los Angeles to Las Vegas. There is nothing too large to distract from the two stars, which is the way is should be.

As the film ends, and sets up Rush Hour 3, don’t walk out. A standard Jackie Chan film feature (stunt bloopers rolling over the end credits) is enhanced by verbal flubs from Tucker. Here you’ll find some of film’s funniest moments

Finally, a summer movie worth seeing.

Reach Qguide writer Glenn Ferrara by e-mail at timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 139.

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