Ever since Chris Tucker uttered the phrase, “Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?” in the trailers for the original Rush Hour, that pairing of him and martial arts legend Jackie Chan has become, for better or worse, an enduring part of our pop culture lexicon. Despite the initial joy everyone experienced by watching a loud black guy and a bumbling Asian guy teaming up and becoming friends, however, by the time the third film had come and gone, it started to feel like the Rush Hour formula was getting pretty tired, and should probably be put to bed.
At least, it felt that way to audiences. To people who make lots of money producing a franchise, things tend to look a whole lot different. That’s why, when Crave Online asked Rush Hour producer Arthur Sarkissian if he has any new projects on the horizon, it comes as no surprise that he responded, “I am working on Rush Hour 4 right now with Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan.” He went on to explain his statement by saying, “I’m trying to do it closer to how I did Rush Hour 1, more down to earth, more gritty, introduce two new characters and make it real the way the first one was. I personally was not happy with the third one. I thought 1 and 2 were very good. I think 3 got out of hand a little bit. It’s not a matter of just bringing them back to do another segment of that or a sequel to it by putting them in another city and having them bicker. I don’t want that. I want something new.”
Okay, but the entire series has been built on the simple concept of getting Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan together and having them bicker. What are they going to do this time? And who are these new characters going to be? Sarkissian continues, “ …maybe Chris is now married, maybe Jackie is married to Octavia Spencer, I don’t know. Married to Chris’s cousin, they live in Shanghai, Chris goes out to visit them. I don’t know, I want something energetic.”
Really? Does he actually think that Oscar winner Spencer would sign on for a Rush Hour film, especially considering she’s never even been in one before? “Absolutely,” says Sarkissian, “Why not? If it’s good, script is good you’ll get anybody.” Okay, so that sounds promising. Anything can be a good idea if it’s well-written. So, who did they get to write this awesome script? “Right now we haven’t decided yet, but I’m very close to making a decision. I have about four or five names that we’re roaming on right now.”
Four or five names…yikes. So, it seems to be clear at this point that there aren’t really any concrete plans for a Rush Hour 4, and these are just the ramblings of one guy who’s in the beginning stages of maybe making something happen. That’s certainly not a good enough indication that a fourth trip to the well is going to be welcome or necessary as far as this franchise is concerned. And yet, you can’t discount the idea entirely. Certainly it’s possible to make a good Rush Hour 4, and with his last big sales pitch, Sarkissian makes it sound like he might actually have an idea how to pull it off. He finished up by saying, “One of the things that surprised me and actually excited me was how they did Fast Five. They kept the characters, they took them and they put them in a whole different world. They put them in the world of a heist movie and it worked. I think that was brilliant what they did because if you’re not careful, what happens is you just keep repeating yourself.”
That’s a pretty insightful look at what made Fast Five work, and if Sarkissian is so focused on not repeating himself, then we can at least take comfort in the fact that he’ll be looking for a new director and not hiring Brett Ratner to come back and do this thing again. Right?
“If he wants to do it he’s more than welcome to do it, but he’s got to do it in the right way.”
Aww, rat farts.