Look, they’re not laughing. Why?
Last Thursday, CBS aired the premiere of the their new cop-comedy spin-off, RUSH HOUR, based on the 1998 film starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, whose reactions I would have paid good money to see after watching this painful reboot.
The characters are reimagined with Jon Foo (WEAPONIZED, 4GOT10) and Justin Hires (21 JUMP STREET, STOMP THE YARD) playing Detectives Lee and Carter, as well, the genre of film is slated to be changed to DERIVATIVE HOUR (not actually true, but should be). The first five minutes were clearly slated to squeeze out two backstories as quickly as possible. The jokes were contrived and character dialogue couldn’t have been more expository if each person just narrated their name, plot significance, and current emotional status.
As you’d expect, Hires and Foo are detectives with opposing personalities being forced to work together for the greater good. Foo’s character, Lee, plays the stoic, always serious law-officer, unwilling to tolerate Carter’s hyperactive mouth and spontaneity. I don’t have to elaborate, you know where this is going: they end up yinning and yanging just in time to save the day.
Aside from rehashing almost every gag from the films, the new jokes just felt lazy or obtuse. Not to mention one instance when they actually explained the punchline of a rehashed joke. I found myself asking “Did anyone find that explanation necessary?” This seems to be a trend for television comedy writing today, for some reason people laugh when a D.O.A-punchline is awkwardly explained to the scene partner, almost as if the writing staff is saying “Well, look at us not able to come up with a better joke, so let’s try to connect with the audience by poking fun at our inability to let go of an 18 year-old gag.” Awkward moments can definitely be funny, but they have to be organic and have unique quality to it, a twist or memorable charm that often requires fifteen to thirty takes of ab-libbing to find. RUSH HOUR felt like they rushed through two takes and said “Good enough.”
The stunts, while some were pretty impressive, could not hold a flame to the natural flow set by Jackie Chan. Jon Foo can play a convincing stone-faced martial arts expert, for sure, but I would’ve like to see him perform in longer takes with wider frames. The fight scenes felt performed under obligation to look cool by overusing tricky angles and close-up cut-takes. I think the stunts should’ve spoken for themselves, instead of relying so heavily on camera perspectives.
Did they bang this script together the night before the first shoot day? Sure feels like it. Being a hopeful person, I’m reluctantly going to watch the next episode in hopes the premiere nerves have been shaken off. CBS has their hands full if they want this project to survive.