The police procedural (pp) is diluted. Robots. Magicians. Psychics. Lucifer. All have made appearances solving murders and bickering with detectives. The genre itself is bloated, tired, and 20th century. That sweaty producers would turn to it for movie-to-TV adaptations is a sign of the times. CBS’s “Rush Hour” is most sensitive to this. At least the series is innately a pp.
Everyone could guess what this reboot would be like. First and foremost, it lacks the original’s star power. And to be fair, neither Jackie Chan nor Chris Tucker are present. It’ll be interesting to see if the series lasts without the continuity. “Limitless” is among the only successful pp spin-offs last year. It’s also one of the only shows to feature cameos from the original’s star cast.
“Rush Hour” is a reboot without vision or purpose. Thus far, at least, there is zero expansion of the setting. Instead we have Det. James Carter (Justin Hires) and Det. Jonathan Lee (Jon Foo) tackling specific cases each episode. Tieing it all together is a meta-story about Det. Lee’s sister involving herself with an exclusive circle of triads.
Anyone with beef against self-contained episodes are full of it. The template enables TV series to explore any number of relevant points. Rush Hour, for instance, covers anything from bio-terrorism to PMCs. The reboot also mixes a healthy dose of nostalgia with its 21st century topics.
Aesthetics are probably Rush Hour’s most laudable element. All the explosions, stunts, and other markers of 90’s era action are intact. So too are the camera angles and overall style. Shots highlight martial arts and gunfire with the blockbuster elegance of the original or its equivalents. That mentioned, the technical mastery does little to invigorate the stale approach. Pps are pps, after all. “Rush Hour” does not exist for its own merit. It exists because it’s a pp.
“Rush Hour,” of course, still does its best. The actors particularly have an unenviable position. Justin Hires gives his best Chris-Tucker-playing-a-cop impression. Ditto for Jon Foo and Jackie Chan. While interesting, their efforts are not exactly conducive for good TV. “Fargo” proves that taking risks can pay off. “Rush Hour” could have similarly reinvented itself while remaining true to the premise. Instead we get an uninspired rehash playing it safe within a safe genre. Pass the popcorn and yap away when enjoying “Rush Hour.”