Filling in a prime time Thursday night spot is a big deal but the TV adaptation of the Brett Ratner film Rush Hour, developed by Blake McCormick (Mad Men) and Bill Lawrence (Scrubs) may not be.
I’ve just finished watching the first episode and it beggars belief as to what compelled them to make this series. From the start it plays out scene-for-scene as a cheap imitation of the first movie, from the settings, environments, action and characters. When you try to remake something that is not broken or damaged the new product will feel violated and used.
For those that have not seen the movies (why not?!) it follows unorthodox LAPD Detective James Carter and by-the-book Detective Lee from Hong Kong that form an unlikely alliance and friendship to take down a gang and its leader from stealing valuable and ancient Chinese antiquities.
What gave the movie series its charisma was the urban wise-cracking charm of Chris Tucker and martial art supremo Jackie Chan with his Arlecchino-esque movements but here what we got were remedial rental actors sourced directly from Central Casting. Which is quite sad for a number of reasons but mostly because the cast are actually very talented. Justin Hires is known for his role in comedy caper 21 Jump Street, British-born Jon Foo has been in several martial art movies including Tekken (2010) and Bangkok Revenge (2011), Aimee Garcia had a reoccurring role in Dexter, Wendy Malick has a long list of parts in various hit shows, such as Dream On, Frasier, Just Shoot Me, BoJack Horseman and many more. I adore them each as wonderful actors and know what they can do so I can only hope that this show changes direction from creating knock-off versions of the movies and create new stories and characters.
For the pilot I can only give it a poor rating of 1.5 out of 5. A part of me would love to see Tucker and Chan (and Mark Rolston, if he is free) make an appearance in a future episode. It really needs to do something incredible and unique to find it’s own way if it’s going to survive for even one season.