How about this for a martial arts comedy bonanza: Rush Hour and Beverly Hills Ninja! Luckily, Family Fun Video offers an extra two-day rental video free whenever you rent a new blockbuster. And when you're in the mood for a laugh riot with flying fists and feet, then a double feature is just about enough! Wham!
The first flick, Rush Hour, features the inimitable Jackie Chan with Chris Tucker, in a cop story revolving around a kidnapping. Wow! Ka-pow! And how! Though Jackie Chan has gotten older and has had to rely more and more on guns, car chases, and costars, and less on his amazing martial arts, one thing about his movies hasn't changed: the plot is still easy to follow. Jackie and Chris must save the Hong Kong ambassador's daughter from terrorists led by a British ex-magistrate.
Sparks fly of course! First Chris Tucker, who does a credible Eddie Murphy, doesn't get along with Chan and wants to play it solo. Later, though, they bond as Chan teaches Tucker an extra-smooth reversal that one can pull when one finds oneself on the business end of a revolver. Then Tucker teaches Chan some smooth, soul-type dance maneuvers. The heart warms as Black and Asian dance down the street in Chinatown, U.S.A.
More sparks as guns, bombs, and other explosive punctuate the goings-on. The martial arts sequences are few, but they still characterize Chan's unique ability to use any object as a weapon (he is outdone by Chris Farley, but we'll get to that). A well choreographed double-team between the two takes out about a dozen Chinese mobsters. Make sure you put down your income taxes when this scene comes on!
Overall, this one was just ever so close to wonderful. Chris Tucker is so lovable, you just want him to stop talking and smile with his mouth closed like a quiet little angel and stop talking. Chan may not be high-flying as he once was, but he can still kick action with the best, and lots of guns. Points awarded for the kidnapped girl who is spunky as a monkey and twice as cute. If you ever take a Video Venture with Mr. Chan, notice how his women characters are almost always excellent fighters. I'm giving this picture 9 1/4 stars.
IN CINEMA 2:
Jackie Chan tags out to Chris Farley and Chris Tucker to Chris Rock for Beverly Hills Ninja. What Farley lacks in martial arts skill, he makes up for in hilarious comedy to the lowest common denominator. And the lowest common denominator is fat. Considering the film is just shy of 90 full minutes, the 2 or 3 funny parts left me thinking how sad it is that Mr. Farley's no longer able to try to beat his personal best for humor.
This plot was also pleasantly easy to follow-Farley, a flop of a ninja is seduced by some gorgeous blonde actress who needs protection from her counterfeiter/murder boyfriend. He goes to Beverly Hills to protect and woo her, followed by his clan-brother, a real ninja. Hilarity ensues, but not with a vengeance. It's nun-chuckles and nin-jokes!
I have to give Chris Rock credit for carrying off the line, "I'm trying to choke my chicken" with such panache. But the funniest scene has Chris Farley slapping a bad guy into submission with two very large fish. I chuckled so hard I practically laughed out loud!
I had a very lovely surprise near the end, however, when the phone rang. It was Alan, a dear friend, and we had a nice conversation about the walk we took the other day. He has a cousin from L.A. coming in next weekend, so we may have to postpone our walk until Monday which means I'll miss tap class, but it's worth it because he's so great to spend time with.
Of "Kung Fool" I must say that You gotta give 'em credit
for trying. That's 9 big stars for the big, deceased comedian.
©1999 by Randy Shandis Enterprises. All rights happily reserved.