Sunday, February 18, 2007

Episode 15

Rush Hour - Consul Han (Tzi Ma) has only recently moved to America with his daughter Soo Yung (Julia Hsu) when she is kidnapped and held for ransom. The FBI steps in to attempt to retrieve her, but Han doesn't trust them to do the job. As such, he summons his trusted friend, Chinese police officer Chief Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan), to the United States to lend a hand in returning his daughter to him safely. Consul Han's status keeps the FBI from refusing Lee's assistance, but that doesn't stop agents Russ, (Mark Rolston) and Whitney (Rex Linn) from derailing him from his mission. They call in a favor from captain of the LAPD, requesting that they be loaned an officer to keep Lee busy and out of their way. Luckily, this proves perfect opportunity for the captain to get loose cannon Detective James Carter (Chris Tucker) off of his back for a while, so Carter is given the job. Lee proves to be too much for Carter to handle, though, as he fully intends to fulfill his mission and won't let Carter stand in his way. Thus, before long, the adage "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" comes into play as Carter decides to help Lee find Soo Yung, and they proceed to fight their way through masses of Chinese thugs to do so. Rush Hour is your standard action comedy. Chan and Tucker are the classic odd couple who can't seem to get along unless they're fighting crime and doing good deeds in the process. This makes for a fairly cookie-cutter action film. In fact, there are only really two things that set this movie apart from others like it. One is the comedy provided by Tucker, who can't seem to shut his mouth and manages to be funny in the process, especially in his interaction with Jackie. The other is the wild action which was choreographed by Chan himself, making for some entertaining fight scenes which manage to make even Chris Tucker seem like he knows what he's doing in a scuffle (in that completely fake action movie way, of course). The draw behind this movie, as with most brawl-based flicks, is that for about an hour and a half you can suspend your disbelief and enjoy something that you don't see every day. The story is really of no consequence. With that said, Rush Hour is a pretty stand-up action movie with enough silly one-liners to make it worth watching once every few years. And as with any Jackie Chan movie, the DVD is worth the money for the outtakes alone.

Rush Hour 2 - Detective James Carter and Chief Inspector Lee are back, and this time they're a little bit more ridiculous. After their last escapade, Lee heads back to China to return to work. Taking some vacation time, Carter tags along in hopes of enjoying some of the finer points of Asian culture (specifically alcohol and women). Unfortunately, their fun is cut short when someone bombs the United States embassy in China, killing two American citizens. Before long, Carter and Lee are on the trail of an ex-cop turned triad crime boss named Ricky Tan (John Lone) who is masterminding a massive counterfeiting scheme which leads them back to the states. Once there they team up with sexy customs agent Isabella Molina (Roselyn Sanchez), who has been investigating this evil plot for some time. Exchange kidnapping and ransom for counterfeiting and money laundering and you have essentially transformed Rush Hour into Rush Hour 2. As with the first film, the real reason to watch this sequel is to marvel at a few impossible fight scenes and laugh at a few well-timed jokes. If possible, this movie is dumber than it's predecessor, but should still manage to hold your attention for somewhere between ninety minutes and two hours. Particularly entertaining is a scene in which Jackie Chan has been captured and had a remote-detonated grenade taped into his mouth. With his hands also taped up, he must fight his way around a crowded casino attempting to stop the detonator from being triggered, unable to use his hands or speak. Chris Tucker provides the standard allowance of comedy, and this time in addition to the humor and action we get the hot onscreen presence of Sanchez. Is it just me, or does that sound like a complete package?

The Exorcism of Emily Rose - Emily Rose (Dexter's Jennifer Carpenter) was born and raised in a small town in middle America. It was a dream come true when she was awarded a scholarship to an out of state school where she could pursue her goal of becoming a teacher. However, things began to go horribly wrong when she began to experience the feeling that someone or something was controlling her body and taking away her humanity. When she was returned home to be cared for by her family, her parents called upon their pastor Father Moore(Tom Wilkinson) to aid them. After Emily's death, an unconventional court case began which pitted the people against Father Moore, with hot young attourney Erin Bruner (Laura Linney) on the side of the priest and Ethan Thomas (Campbell Scott) on the side of the community. It was in this court case, which is based on actual events, that it is to be decided whether Emily Rose's death was caused by something medical or supernatural. The Exorcism of Emily Rose is an interesting type of movie. It combines horror with the courtroom drama. Odd as it seems, I'd say that the filmmakers pulled of their goal quite well. It's very intriguing, after watching the movie, to know that the events depicted within actually happened. The court case was real, and presumably, so was the verdict. This naturally raises the question in the viewer's mind, "Who do I blame for Emily Rose's death?" I initially wanted to see this movie because I found out that Jennifer Carpenter was in it. As I discovered, despite the fact that she plays the title character, she is featured only in flashback scenes, and is therefore not onscreen very much. I had plenty of other great performers to keep me occupied, though. Wilkinson, Scott, and Linney all deliver great performances. In the case of a courtroom drama, you have to rely on the actors' abilities to draw you into the scene and make you care about the case that is being argued. Laura Linney manages this just fine, having played almost the same exact character that she portrays in this movie in the film Primal Fear. In fact, the entire cast was great. even stronger than the plot were the characters who moved it forward. A lot of great questions were raised on the actual subject of the trial, and I found myself often unsure of exactly which direction the verdict would go. All in all, The Exorcism of Emily Rose was a fairly rewarding experience.

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