Rush Hour (1998)
Directed by Brett Ratner
On the last day of British rule in Hong Kong, Detective Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan) of the Hong Kong police leads a raid at the docks, hoping to arrest the mysterious crime lord Juntao. He finds only Sang (Ken Leung), Juntao's right hand man, who manages to escape. However, Lee successfully recovers numerous Chinese cultural treasures stolen by Juntao, which he presents as a farewell victory to his departing superiors: Chinese consul Han (Tzi Ma) and British Commander Thomas Griffin (Tom Wilkinson).
Shortly after arriving in the United States to take up his new diplomatic post in Los Angeles, Han's daughter, Soo-Yung, is kidnapped on her way to her first day at school. The leader of the kidnappers is none other than Sang. She tries to run away, but fails and is captured. Shortly after this incident the FBI inform Consul Han who calls in Lee to assist in the case and partly because he and his family are not United States Citizens.
The FBI, afraid that injury or death of Lee would result in negative attention, pawn him off on the LAPD Captain Diel, who gives the assignment to Detective James Carter (Chris Tucker), an overconfident and arrogant police officer with aspirations of joining the FBI. Carter had recently caused property damage arresting bomb-maker Clyde Cod (Chris Penn) and during this incident two police officers got shot by Clyde and one of the officers lost a pinkie finger. Captain Diel gives him a choice: keep Lee away from the investigation or face two months suspension without pay. Carter agrees, secretly intending to solve the case himself.
Carter meets Lee at Los Angeles International Airport and then proceeds to take him on a sightseeing tour of Los Angeles, simultaneously keeping Lee away from the embassy and contacting several of his underworld informants about the kidnapping. Lee finally escapes Carter and makes his way to the Chinese Consulate, where an anxious Han and a group of FBI agents are awaiting news about his daughter. While being reprimanded by Special Agent-in-charge Warren Russ (Mark Rolston), Carter manages to accidentally involve himself in a phone conversation with the kidnappers, where he arranges a ransom drop.
After their arrival at the agreed drop point, Lee tries to warn the FBI that something is amiss, but is ignored until a bomb is detonated, killing several agents. Spotting Sang nearby, Lee and Carter give chase, but Sang escapes after dropping a rare type of detonator. After showing it to Carter's colleague, LAPD bomb expert Tania Johnson (Elizabeth Peña), and Clyde, the bomb-maker Carter arrested, they learn that Juntao was behind the kidnapping. Following a lead to a restaurant in Chinatown, Carter is captured after going in alone. He sees a surveillance video of Griffin carrying Soo-Yung into a van, but does not know who he is. Lee arrives and rescues Carter, and they are met outside by the FBI, led by Russ, who blame them for ruining the ransom exchange. Sang phones the consul, angrily telling him that the ransom has been increased from $50 million to $70 million, and threatens to kill Soo-Yung if anything else goes wrong. Disgraced and guilt-ridden, Lee and Carter are ordered off the investigation and Lee is informed that he will be sent back to Hong Kong. Carter refuses to drop the case and confronts Lee on his plane to enlist his help. He tells Lee about the death of his father, also a police officer, killed at a traffic stop because his partner didn't back him up. They decide to save Soo-Yung together.
The final confrontation comes at the opening of a Chinese art exhibition at the Los Angeles Convention Center, which Han and Griffin are overseeing, while the ransom is being delivered. Carter, Lee, and Johnson enter disguised as guests. After Carter recognizes Griffin from Chinatown, he creates a scene by alerting the spectators about a bomb threat in the building and tells them to evacuate. In the confusion, Lee sees Griffin talking to a waiter he recognizes as Sang, and figures out Griffin's true identity as Juntao and confronts him. Griffin then threatens to explode a bomb attached to Soo-Yung if the delivery is interrupted. He also reveals that most of the works in the exhibition were once part of his private collection and he intends to get them back. During the stand off, Carter and Johnson rescue Soo-Yung and bring the bomb within range to kill Griffin and his men, causing a gunfight to erupt. In a battle between Griffin's thugs on one side, and the FBI, Lee, Carter, and Johnson on the other, Carter kills Sang, and Johnson defuses the bomb attached to Soo-Yung. Griffin shoots but only injures Agent Russ and takes the ransom money which had been in the Agent's possession. Lee pursues Griffin up several sets of maintenance ladders, and as Griffin tries to kill Lee, who is hanging on a pole, he falls over the railing and grabs onto Lee. However, Griffen still falls to his death dozens of meters below. Lee is rescued by Carter shortly afterwards.
Han and Soo-Yung are reunited, and Han sends Carter and Lee on vacation together to Hong Kong. Before leaving, Agent Russ shows up and offers Carter a position on the FBI. Carter refuses, telling him that he is LAPD. He boards the plane and takes a seat next to Lee, who to Carters frustration begins to sing "War".
Jackie Chan as Detective Inspector Lee (who gets promoted to Chief Inspector at some point between this film and Rush Hour 2)
Awards and nominations
1999 ALMA Awards
Rush Hour (film series)