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‘Rush Hour’ review: CBS’ ridiculously predictable movie franchise adaptation


CBS brings the movie franchise Rush Hour to the small screen. (Credit: Rush Hour)

WHEN | WHERE Premieres Thursday night at 10 on CBS/2


WHAT IT’S ABOUT Have you heard the one about the stoic Chinese cop in a suit and his casual motormouth black partner? Of course — “Rush Hour” was a 1998 movie blockbuster, pairing global stuntster Jackie Chan with comic babbler Chris Tucker for Los Angeles crime-fighting. (It also spawned two sequels, in 2001 and 2007.)

Now, somewhat belatedly, “Rush Hour” is getting jacked into a CBS series, pairing emergent martial artist Jon Foo (“Tekken,” “Extraction”) and peppy standup Justin Hires (“Key & Peele”).

If this sounds like the JV team trying to mimic the varsity, well, yeah, that’s TV for you. We have to take it on faith — and ad breaks to subvert any sustained attempt at making sense of it all — that these guys are the hottest of shots in their respective PDs astride the Pacific. As an odd couple thrown together on A Big Case, you know they’re gonna buddy-bond, amid incessant wacky chat, chopsocky and ammo-blasting.

MY SAY Thursday’s pilot even revs up boats, helicopters, planes and cycles. Pilot hours dress to impress. What kind of thrills “Rush Hour” can afford next week is anybody’s guess.

Perhaps we’ll see more of the emotional content requisite in weekly TV. The premiere sets up the back story involving the fellow-cop sister of Foo’s expatriate and the female ex-partner of Hires’ loner funnyman — though it does fail to clarify how capable either lead is of bringing soul to these studs who spend Thursday’s episode shooting, socking and otherwise vanquishing entire posses of opponents. The plotting had better up its game, too, with nearly every pilot “twist” being ridiculously predictable.

Or will comedy be king? TV’s “Rush Hour” producers certainly aren’t the usual cop suspects. “Scrubs” kingpin Bill Lawrence and “Cougar Town” showrunner Blake McCormick are joined, however, by “Psych” creator Steve Franks, who’s at least steeped in USA Network’s passing awareness of crimesolving practice.

BOTTOM LINE Can’t rush to judgment here. Future episodes, absent the pilot’s pyrotechnics, should play significantly different.

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