Wednesday, February 1, 2023

‘Rush Hour’ a predictable mess of overused plots and stereotypes | TV Review


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By L. N. Harrison // Contributing Writer

In what is seemingly an age of prequels, sequels, and reboots both on the big screen and the TV, it was hardly surprising that Rush Hour would eventually be rebooted due to its success with Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan.

CBS’ Rush Hour is a reboot TV series that follows the unlikely team-up between LAPD Detective James Carter (Justin Hires) and Hong Kong Detective Lee (Jon Foo) as they tolerate each other while trying to solve a case. As it turned out during the course of the first episode, I mostly found myself more focused on doubting if I could actually tolerate show.

To its credit, the pilot opened with a bang – quite literally, as a gunfight ensued within less than a minute of the show’s opening. This was followed by the obligatory martial arts moves that Hollywood has made it clear every even vaguely Asian character should possess on television and in cinema. And when the action moved to Los Angeles shortly thereafter, it was in the midst of a weapons deal that also took an expected turn that led into an only slightly less expected and humorous conclusion. 

Though all of it was completely unrealistic, it wasn’t far from what’s been seen on other equally unrealistic police/investigation shows. I don’t know why I’m even surprised anymore because, really, the only one that seems to get police work more or less right most of the time is CBS’s Blue Bloods. If I could just stop noticing every procedural and occupational wrong, I would probably enjoy far more TV shows than I do.

Unfortunately, after the opening, Rush Hour either dragged or erupted into more martial arts and gun fights. To be fair, Foo is a trained martial artist – who has also worked with his predecessor, Jackie Chan – so at least the fights were entertaining to watch.

The show certainly had its humorous moments, but more often than not it seemed to use cultural differences and stereotypes as a crutch with which to bludgeon the audience, particularly in the repeated mangling of Chinese names. It was as if the writers felt that they constantly had to remind the audience that Lee is from Hong Kong. Carter seemed especially interested in pointing this out at every turn. I haven’t seen the original movie, or the movies that followed after, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these jokes were taken straight from the movie because they just seemed that stale.

Still, there really may have been no way around it as a plot and entertainment device. And by that I mean that the overall plot was so entirely overused that practically anybody who has watched TV in the past five years could predict it almost down to the dialogue, and, for most of the show, the acting seemed be forced and stilted. Honestly, it’s a little ironic when the one character who the show keeps waving in your face is supposed to be seem stiff and out of place is the very one who seems the most natural.

It’s true, sometimes a pilot really doesn’t do a show justice and it’s a surprise to find that the show is at least not as bad as you feared, but if Rush Hour is, in fact, better, then why would the people in charge even want to show anything this bad?

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