Directed by Brett Ratner
Written by Ross LaManna, Jim Kouf
Starring: Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Tom Wilkinson, Ken Leung
This action-comedy buddy cop movie was written by Ross LaManna (Artic Blue) and Jim Kouf (National Treasure), with Brett Ratner (X-Men: The Last Stand) directing. The film stars the legendary Jackie Chan (The LEGO Ninjago Movie) alongside comedian Chris Tucker (Friday). The movie also features Tom Wilkinson (The Grand Budapest Hotel) and Ken Leung (Star Wars: The Force Awakens).
This story combines comedy and action in almost equal portions. All of this is done within the framework of a buddy cop film. This mix creates something that was relatively new in 1998. Perhaps the closest audiences had come was 48 Hours which was released in 1982. The big difference being the introduction of Jackie Chan’s brand of martial arts and stunt work. So this was a new experience for most audiences. The writing does a really good job of getting right into the story. The opening sequence showcases Jackie Chan’s physical abilities perfectly. The dialogue is fun, and takes advantage of the cultural differences between the two main characters. The writing also gives Chris Tucker a place to showcase his comedic talents. The characters created for the story are interesting and fun. The villains are just the right kind of bad guy, and the rest of the people fit in nicely. Overall, this is a fun script that gave the stars a lot to work with. There is a predictability that seems almost unavoidable given the tone of the movie, but it doesn’t take away from the fun.
This movie gives fans of the two stars exactly what they deserve. Chris Tucker does a great job keeping the laughs coming. There’s an unrehearsed feel to much of the banter that really helps his work feel genuine. He also does a good job keeping up with the physical aspects of his role. Tucker also has great chemistry with his co-star, Jackie Chan. Chan’s performance is anchored by his incredible stunt work. It’s great to see something that is so choreographed but still allows the moment to feel chaotic. Surprisingly, he also does great work with the dialogue. He earns a number of laughs in the movie. Tom Wilkinson and Ken Leung also deliver solid roles of their own in this one. Overall, there aren’t any bad performances in the movie.
It would be wrong not to take a moment and focus on the production work. The stunt people behind this movie deserve a lot of credit. As with most of Chan’s work, this one features top-notch action. The many actors who play villains and criminals in this one do a good job keeping this one looking great. The camera work does a great job capturing all of their efforts. The editing also helps to capture the action and keep the pace of the film moving. The music used in the film fits, and the sound work does a good job as well.
This movie gave audiences a new version of the buddy cop film. While the story is formulaic, there’s something endearing about the lead duo. Tucker and Chan create a chemistry that elevates the script. After 20 years, it’s nice to see that this one still holds up. If you’re a fan of buddy-cop films, this is one to see. I would also make sure you see this if you’re a fan of either of the stars. I give this one 3.8 out of 5 stars.