[This post contains details from the Rush Hour premiere that aired March 31]
Detectives Carter and Lee are back on the scene, but this is not Rush Hour 4 — unfortunately, they’re in a CBS reboot. For the viewers of the pilot who didn’t see the movie (why are you doing this to yourselves?), don’t worry — it won’t matter because the show is hitting reset. It might even be a benefit that you didn’t see the movies since this pilot is not great basically a not funny condensed version of the first film. (EW gave it a C- in the magazine.) Here are the biggest déjà vu moments in the Rush Hour premiere:
1. Introductions to Lee and Carter
The opening shot of a harbor in Hong Kong could have been from the movie — quite literally (hey, it would have saved a few bucks). Just like the start of the film, we see Detective Lee (Jon Foo) leading a police unit into the Hong Kong docks to stop art smugglers. He gets to show off his fighting skills and save the day, but a blond Chinese man who bares a striking resemblance to Ken Leung in the movie gets away. Was it that essential to find another blond Chinese man? Not sure that would have been a deal breaker for fans.
Meanwhile in Los Angeles, our introduction to Detective Carter (Justin Hires) feels eerily familiar as he goes undercover for an arms deal. He ends up chasing the criminal, Carlos, down but only after causing him to crash a helicopter into a city councilman’s greenhouse. At least it was better than the city block of downtown L.A., which is what Chris Tucker’s Detective Carter took out.
2. An important woman in Lee’s life leads him to L.A.
In the movie, the kidnapping of Lee’s boss’ daughter prompted him to go to L.A. to save her. Here it’s his younger sister cop Kim (Jessika Van), who has traveled to L.A. and is seemingly killed as she helps transport the ancient art exhibits that Lee had saved earlier.
3. Carter can’t be tamed by a partner
Detective Carter is a lone wolf in all worlds. He’s such a lone wolf that it’s shocking we haven’t gotten Tucker’s line from the movie, “I don’t want no partner, I don’t need no partner, and I ain’t never gonna have no partner.” Carter’s captain (Wendie Malick) benches him for the helicopter fiasco, even though he did stop an arms dealer. The benching is the least of Carter’s worries, though, when the next day something even worse happens to him: He just gets Lee as a partner.
4. A near-identical investigation
This shot-for-shot remake continues as Carter and Lee’s off-book investigation leads us to three familiar locations. First: a shady bar, where Carter goes out back to get intel from his cousin (Page Kennedy), while inside Detective Lee shows that his fighting skills translate to any country as he takes out all of the patrons.
After an interrogation that ends in Lee discovering his sister, Kim, is alive (and working for the bad guys!), they end up at the second locale: a restaurant in Chinatown, where a gunfight ensues and Lee is shot by his own sister. Harsh.
Although the aftermath of the gunfight leads to Lee being kicked back to Hong Kong, Carter persuades him to not get on the plane. Instead they go re-enact another scene from the movie and get vital information at the prison from Carlos.
Am I the only one at this point that was hoping that some movie channel was rerunning any of the films to watch instead? Even Rush Hour 3.
5. A familiar final showdown
The intel from Carlos leads the detectives to an abandoned mall, where Lee has to confront the blond Chinese man (or “Chinese Eminem,” as dubbed by Carter). Like in the film, Lee chooses a fighting strategy that lends itself to not letting any art be destroyed in the process. This Lee doesn’t quite have Chan-level moves, but despite the art limiting him, he comes out victorious — and it looks like the guys have won since only Kim is left standing. But then Lee’s boss, Thomas (Henry Ian Cusick), who just happens to be in L.A. shows up… Like Tom Wilkinson’s character in the movie, he was in on it the whole time. After Kim refuses to kill her brother and Carter, Thomas tries to take it into his own hands, but he’s no match for our heroes. It doesn’t all end well: Both of the guy’s get shot (Lee twice in fact), and Kim gets away.
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In the end Carter finally decides the lone-wolf life might not be for him when Lee decides to stay in L.A. because of Kim and become Carter’s partner. After how blatantly the pilot copied the first film, it’s surprising that we aren’t headed for Hong Kong like in the sequel, but there’s always episode 3.
Bonus: Popular lines riffed from the film
- “Do you understand the word I’m saying?” —Carter
- “I never said I don’t speak English. I let people talk who like to talk. Makes it easier to find out how full of crap they are.” —Lee
What did you think of the premiere? Was EW’s C- review fair or too generous? Now with the plot from the first movie over, can the show do its own decent interesting take? Share your thoughts below.
We wrote a react for this episode, which means we’ll just be checking in occasionally, but if this is a show you’d like to read about each week, please let us know! You can email firstname.lastname@example.org with your feedback and suggestions.