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TV
Director: Steve Oedekerk
Starring: Hui Lou Chen Tad Horino Joon B. Kim Leo Lee Michael Li (II) Chia Yung Liu Peggy Lu Fei Lung Chi Ma Lo Ming Nasty Nes Jen Sung Outerbridge Simon Rhee Chad Stahelski Philip Tan Tori Tran Ling Ling Tse Jennifer Tung Lin Yan
Genre: Comic Action
Theatrical: 2002   Rated: PG-13
Duration: 81
Summary: Kung Pow! Enter the Fist is best enjoyed with low expectations, if only because it might surprise you with genuine belly laughs. Writer-director Steve Oedekerk uses digital trickery to make himself a costar in the 1976 Hong Kong action flick Tiger & Crane Fist, just as Woody Allen turned a Japanese spy thriller into the comedy spoof What's Up, Tiger Lily? The results are both technically impressive and stupendously stupid. Oedekerk is blandly appealing as "the Chosen One," who sets out to avenge the evil Master "Betty" Pain for killing his family when he was still a kung fu-fighting infant. This stock setup is a cheap excuse for Oedekerk's 80-minute buffet of chop-socky spoofery, with gags lifted from The Matrix, Oedekerk's "Thumbation" comedies, and the rich legacy of Hong Kong action. Featuring "gopher-chucks," a kung fu cow, aliens from France, and enough bad dialogue to choke a crouching tiger, Kung Pow! is mildly spicy, but mostly it's full of nuts. --Jeff Shannon


Director: Brett Ratner
Starring: Jackie Chan Chris Tucker Ziyi Zhang John Lone Roselyn Sanchez Harris Yulin Alan King Kenneth Tsang Lisa Lo Cicero Mei Melançon Maggie Q Patricia Chan Gelbert Coloma Lucy Lin Cindy Lu Wing Sang Pang Ling Wong Mei William Tuen Shawn Peretz Audrey Quock
Genre: Comic Action
Theatrical: 2001   Rated: PG-13
Duration: 91
Summary: Rush Hour 2 retains the appeal of its popular predecessor, so it's easily recommended to fans of its returning stars, Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan. The action--and there's plenty of it--starts in Hong Kong, where Detective Lee (Chan) and his L.A. counterpart Detective Carter (Tucker) are attempting a vacation, only to get assigned to sleuth a counterfeiting scheme involving a triad kingpin (John Lone), his lethal henchwoman (Zhang Ziyi, from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), and an American billionaire (Alan King). Director Brett Ratner simply lets his stars strut their stuff, so it hardly matters that the plot is disposable, or that his direction is so bland he could've phoned it in from a Jacuzzi.
At its best, Rush Hour 2 compares favorably to Chan's glossiest Hong Kong hits, and when the action moves to Las Vegas (where Don Cheadle makes an unbilled cameo), the movie goes into high-pitched hyperdrive, riding an easy wave of ambitious stuntwork and broad, derivative humor. Echoes of Beverly Hills Cop are too loud, however, and stale ideas (including a comedic highlight for Jeremy Piven as a gay clothier) are made even more aggravating by dialogue that's almost Neanderthal in its embrace of retro-racial stereotypes. Of course, that's what makes Rush Hour 2 a palatable dish of mainstream comedy; it insults and comforts the viewer at the same time, and while some may find Tucker's relentless hamming unbearable, those who enjoyed Rush Hour are sure to appreciate another dose of Chan-Tucker lunacy. --Jeff Shannon