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Things You Forgot Happened In The First Rush Hour Movie

Ah, the "Rush Hour" franchise — for many a millennial, it represents fond memories. The first film in the series provided action king Jackie Chan with his first American breakthrough role, and his team-up with Chris Tucker became iconic across the series' span of three films. 

Even though Chan has admitted that he's not a huge fan of the series himself and has been reluctant to sign on for a fourth movie, per Fox News, rumors have emerged that he's recently found a script worth producing, according to Digital Spy. However, it's still not clear if the film will emerge anytime soon, thanks to COVID-19 restrictions.

But what about that first movie? No matter how many times you've watched it, there are twists, Easter eggs, and behind-the-scenes facts to be found two decades after its release. Read on below and join us on a journey of rediscovery as we take another look at "Rush Hour."

A matter of linguistics

Have you ever wondered why the film's long conversation between Chris Tucker's Detective James Carter and John Hawkes' Stucky seems a little disjointed? That would be because both actors heavily improvised their dialogue to the point of director Brett Ratner being unsure that he'd be able to create a completely cohesive scene from the material, according to trivia on the movie's IMDb page.

Tucker's tendency to improvise turned into something of a problem on the set, even though he and Chan got along famously during the shoot. According to MovieFone, Chan had little experience with speaking English at the time of the movie's filming, and for a neophyte to the language, trying to translate his co-star's rapid-fire banter and respond to it correctly was difficult.

Most of the burden of coherency fell on the director's shoulders. "Jackie tries to remember the last word of Chris's lines, but that word usually never comes because Chris says his dialogue differently from what's written," Ratner told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in 2001. "So I usually cue Jackie. Then I've got to make sure Jackie's responses make sense — so there's a lot of rewriting on the set." 

Chan would eventually thank Tucker for helping him with his dialogue in a blog entry on his official website, according to a 2006 Access Hollywood article.

Jackie Chan fans might not remember these references to his other movies

Jackie Chan already had a huge cult following among American action fans when he took up "Rush Hour." You might not remember that Brett Ratner — a big fan of Chan's previous movies — dropped references to quite a number of Chan's Hong Kong-based action films. These were the kind of quick bites that only die-hard fans of Chan's other films would pick up on.

The "Police Story" series and "Mr. Nice Guy," in particular, are referenced quite notably in "Rush Hour." One big example comes when Yan Naing Lee (Chan) accidentally grabs the breast of Detective Tania Johnson (Elizabeth Peña) in the middle of a fight scene. That's a direct reference to a similar moment in "Mr. Nice Guy," according to MSN.com. In both "Police Story 2" and "Rush Hour," characters are forced to wear a vest made out of explosives, according to IMDb.

A surprisingly tuneful flick

For a flick that's remembered mainly for its comedic oil-and-water partnership, "Rush Hour" is loaded with singing — occasionally bad singing that annoys the ears of passers-by, but lots of enthusiastic singing nonetheless. 

While Julia Hsu belting enthusiastically along to Mariah Carey's "Fantasy" has gone on to become a viral TikTok moment thanks to a clip by TaysJean, there are a lot more musical scenes that take place in the movie, such as the one where Lee annoys James Carter (Tucker) with his off-key renditions of American pop tunes like Edwin Starr's "War." It's surprising to realize how much music is involved in the movie's plotline, and how music ultimately serves to bond Carter and Lee, turning them from annoyed babysitter and rebellious agent into two friends. It's a theme that carries throughout the three-film series and continues to give fans of the movies a lot of fond memories.

Sometimes, the oddest things really can bond two people together.