Rush Hour vs. Shanghai Noon: A Few Comparisons

What’s up everyone, it’s one of your faithful co-hosts here, Raekwon. I know it’s been a while, but I am going to talk to you all about one of my favorite movies of all time. Rush Hour!

Well not exactly, I am going to be talking comparing Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon. In an older episode of the podcast about Shanghai Noon, Nick and I discussed that we noticed several moments that seemed like they were straight out of the movie Rush Hour. Granted, they’re both action comedies starring Jackie Chan, but the dynamic between the two main characters are very similar. For example, Roy O’Bannon, who is played by Owen Wilson, can be described as a well-known and fast-talking thief while Chris Tuckers character in Rush Hour may not have been a thief, but he could definitely be described as fast talking. To me, both of these characters were written to be viewed as polar opposites to Jackie, providing ample opportunity for a few jokes that seemed a little too easy to make.

Nick and I joke about how these movies have quite a bit of jokes that are just based on stereotypes and that a reason why the pair becomes friends in both films is because their differences seem to be too much for them and that they eventually end up having a “we aren’t so different after all” moment. This may be a common movie trope but I by no means intend to shit on it because even though it is something we have all seen done over and over again, I still enjoyed watching it in both films. I did of course enjoy it a lot more in Rush Hour because Shanghai Noon doesn’t have Chris Tucker and he makes every scene better. In fact, during the episode Nick and I make the point that there were some lines that O’Bannon had in Shanghai Noon that would’ve sounded so much better if delivered by Chris Tucker. Which, in my opinion, is a testament to how similar these movies are. But I would say that although they are similar, O’Bannon and Carter are different in terms of their energy. Carter is very hyper and loud, but O’Bannon is essentially Owen Wilson, so he is more relaxed and Zen about everything. Each personality plays off of the seriousness that Jackie brings to the film which provides for some easy comedy.

A lot of that easy comedy does result in jokes that are basically just making fun of Chinese culture or normalizing some stereotypes that are associated with black people but what can I say, it was the late 90s/ early 2000s. Nick and I have such high praise for Rush Hour because it is a classic comedy in our eyes but that is not to say that Shanghai Noon is bad. Rush Hour just seems to do all of the things that Shanghai Noon does but just better (especially the sequels) and that is probably because Rush Hour came out first and they were just trying to capitalize on the success of Rush Hour by following the same formula. I recommend both films because they are both a joy to watch.

If you do reach out to us, hit us up on on Twitter and Instagram (@TheMediaObscura) with your thoughts. Peace.

Listen to our podcast episode on Shanghai Noon from your favorite podcast player or via the embed below!

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