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Jackie Chan Hates Rush Hour

Published August 1, 2007 in Movie News
By Fred Topel | Images property of New Line Cinema.
Rush Hour 3 Poster Rush Hour 3
Jackie Chan can say whatever he wants. His broken English gives him plausible deniability, plus he can kick your ass so what are you going to say about it? So at the press junket for Rush Hour 3, it was perfectly okay for him to say he hates the Rush Hour movies. Perhaps he's had a little media training over the years, because even with a flexible grasp of the language, he spun his critique.

Chan Doesn't Lie, He Hates Rush Hour


"How should I say?" Chan began. "Not hate, I'd lost confidence in the American market. I don't know what American audiences like. My manager begged me to do it until I proved the audience don't like these kinds of movies or they don't like you. Then I make Rush Hour 1. I wasn't lying. I hate the American system."

When Chan came to Hollywood with decades of experience in Hong Kong, he had to follow the rules of filmmakers far more novice than he. "I cannot move the table, I cannot move the dolly. I'm the stunt coordinator, I cannot put my camera angle because that's the DP. The DP controls it. The DP is not the action director! How can he know my angle? I want more days. No, cut. Dialogue, five days. Action, one day. That doesn't make sense. I hate the movie."

The language barrier also made it difficult for Chan to understand trademark Rush Hour moments like singing "War" with Chris Tucker. "By the time we finish, suddenly the director says, 'Let's act a scene, you say Hey, ho, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.' I don't know the song. 'Chris will teach you.' I said, 'Are you going to sing the song?' Yeah. Chris sings in his normal life, 'What is it good for?' I hate that, the whole thing, I hate it, even the [head bobbing] movement."

Fortunately for us, fan reaction to the Rush Hour movies was so strong that Chan was convinced to come back. "After editing I see the movie. I think, 'That's it, my career is finished.' I go back to Asia, I tell all my friends how I hate the American system and I hate Rush Hour. Boom, I get a phone call, big success. I said, 'What? I don't understand.' But when I'm in the theater, when I sing, 'What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.' Wow, the audience, whenever I traveled around the world, the children, 'What is it good for? Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?' Everybody. Then I'm like, 'Wow, that's how good is Brett Ratner, the director and the writers too.' Because for me, I don't know the dialogue. I don't know what's the fun. The action, compared to my own movies, my Hong Kong movies, it's nothing. When I'm making an action film in Asia, three months for a five minute fight scene. Dialogue, one day. It's totally different."



Even Chan admits he did the first sequel for a payday, but not the third. "Rush Hour 2, $20 million? Yes, wow, let's do it. Rush Hour 2 for the money. Rush Hour 3 is not for the money. It's for the audience. When I travel, everybody [asks], 'When is Rush Hour 3? When is Rush Hour 3?' Now I slowly understand American culture. Oh, that's the way. Not like Hong Kong. Hong Kong is stunt, action, comedy, script, quality. America is quality, script, relationship, comedy, then action. So it's totally different. Then because the audience keeps, wherever I go, 'When, when, when?' I said, 'Let's do it.'"

Too bad his costar held things up for so long. "I'm calling him, 'What are you doing?' 'Oh, I'm laying on the beach. I'm still tired from Rush Hour 1.' 'What? We're doing right now 2, 3!' 'Yeah, from the one I'm still retired.' I keep calling him, he comes to Hong Kong to see me. Then I come to America to see him. We sit down, have a conversation, where should we go? Russia, he didn't like it. I said, go to Hawaii? I don't like it. Bangkok, Africa. Okay, okay, okay. 'I wait for your call, okay?' 'Yes, let's do it, go.' I said okay, then I go back to Hong Kong to make a film. Three years later, nobody called me. 'What's going on?' 'No, Jackie, come in, come in.' 'Where are you?' 'I've been traveling [to Africa], wild, fun.' Okay, okay. Two years later, 'What's happening? Five years now?'"

If they want to make Rush Hour 4, Jackie Chan is not waiting around. "Rush Hour 4, I will wait for them to call me. I will never call them."

Rush Hour 3 opens to theatres on August 10th.

For stills, trailers, poster and more movie info, head over to the Rush Hour 3 Movie Page.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Images property of New Line Cinema.
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