The Rush Hour series’ best attribute is the fact that the films are hard on the comedy, but don’t compromise the action over delivering the laughs either. Even James Carter, the character who is the source of all the funny moments, gets several action scenes that justify his role; Inspector Lee’s role goes without saying here.
Through the trilogy (although we hope there’s a fourth movie on the way), the action was brought to the audience in creative ways that made use of Jackie Chan’s expert martial arts skills. The best fight scenes, though, have to be the ones where the story brought Carter and Lee together. To sum up, here are 10 of the hardest-hitting fight scenes you’ll find in the Rush Hour series.
10 Carter Vs. Sang
We might consider Carter to be a fool most of the time, but the guy is a very competent cop. Carter always gets the last laugh for sure, and he got just that against Sang as well. There was no physical fight involved; rather, it was a test of smarts between these two.
Sang would attempt to invoke Carter’s earlier request to “fight like a man” and put the gun down. Carter would oblige, but knew that Sang was not a man of honor, as he ducked beneath Sang’s attempted shot and hit the latter instead. It was a fantastic display of Carter’s gut instincts kicking in.
9 Carter Vs. Hu Li
On this occasion, Carter did get in on the action, and the “hard-hitting” part came with him being actually hit by Hu Li, who managed to land a clean strike to Carter’s heart, only to have the stack of notes Carter had in his pocket end up protecting him.
The fight was an extended joke, but it still was a real battle, as Carter employed his strength to hold down the more martial arts adept Hu Li; however, she had no answer to Carter’s erratic antics, and despite being outmatched in the fighting department, Carter managed to win by accidentally impaling Hu Li.
8 Lee Vs. Assassin
Lee got more than he bargained for in this fight, where we saw him destroy the room he and the assassin were in, causing an eavesdropping Carter to assume Lee was having a grand old time in the hotel room.
The assassin was extremely able too, as she utilized her shorter stature to get out of Lee’s grip and kept an incoming flurry of offense Lee’s way, who had to continually dodge every weapon-based attack from the assassin. It looked as if the two were evenly matched, but Lee had to flee to avoid a defeat.
7 Spa Fight
Lee and Carter would argue and bicker over their different views of the world, but their fights were almost always synchronized with each other. After Carter unwittingly set Ricky Tan’s goons loose on himself and Lee, the two teamed up to hold back the onslaught of Triad henchman.
They did a great job at it as well, as Lee and Carter managed to take out every man who had initially attacked them. Their strategy here was for Lee “to go this way”, and Carter “to go that way.” The result was a battle where our protagonists would stick close by one another and knock out any man who neared their fight stances.
6 Restaurant Fight
You have to believe that Carter and Lee realized their similar thinking when it came to fighting after this skirmish, where the two worked surprisingly well together the first time they had to contend with a bunch of bad guys.
At this time, Carter wasn’t proficient in martial arts, but Lee’s inclusion had him utilize his unorthodox style combined with Lee’s finesse. The two would turn the tables on the henchmen by not allowing any of them room to breathe, and would fight to retrieve the gun, acquiring which spelled the end of the fight.
5 Lee Vs. Kung Fu Kenny
We could have seen Carter shoot Kenny and tell everyone the latter fell in the kitchen, but instead we had a short but intense sparring session between Kenny and Lee. Here, an offended Kenny would take his anger out on Lee by initiating the attack.
They would both surprisingly have the upper hand on each other, as their offense was based on attacking their opponent’s shoulder area, finishing with a claw to grab the other’s throat. The fight was a stalemate, as both men realized they had been trained in Kung Fu by two brothers.
4 Hospital Shootout
Rush Hour 3 switched things up by giving us a shootout rather than a martial arts sequence. It was another example of Carter and Lee’s teamwork, as the two men would take out Raynard’s henchmen with relative ease.
The best takeaway from this fight was how the two had each other’s back, with Lee niftily slipping in a magazine into Carter’s empty gun by sliding over to the latter, who would initiate the shooting as soon as the clip was in the gun. Laugh at this duo all you want, but they do come away with the win regardless of a hand-to-hand fight or gun combat.
3 Lee And Carter Vs. The Giant
Up until now in this list, Lee and Carter came away with the victory in the fights; they hadn’t met this giant yet at the time. We’ve become accustomed to seeing Jackie Chan’s characters employ creative methods to defeat their opponents, but this guy was just too big to suffer fools.
Carter especially would try every move in the book to win, as we saw him use the likes of swords, nunchucks, sticks, and trying to use an apology to survive the behemoth. Lee would use his regular style of making props look like weapons, but this wouldn’t last long, and the two would be sent for a ride in midair as the giant circled them around on two ends of a stick just for his amusement.
2 Bar Fight
Poor Lee was just trying to be friendly when he instead offended the men at the bar. They would all attack Lee together, but were outmatched by the latter’s sheer skills when it came to martial arts.
Making this such a gem of a fighting scene was how Lee improvised his moves, as he made use of cue sticks to ram his assailants. Those who underestimated Kung Fu would have learned of its dangerous potential here, with the viewer witnessing huge men getting knocked out by the smaller Lee’s effective use of props to parry away the attackers.
1 Lee Vs. Kenji
We finally did get to see a skill-based fight in a movie from the series, as Rush Hour 3’s climax featured Lee taking on his childhood friend. The fight was centered around katanas, with Kenji in particular striking Lee with extra venom.
When the battle became too intense to be contained, the two men would throw each other out the window and would be placed precariously on a safety net on the Eiffel Tower. Kenji would try and use his sword in tandem with the momentum that free-falling brought him, but ultimately Lee was just too good to be beaten.
NEXT: Harry Potter: 6 Reasons Ron Is Harry’s Best Friend (& 4 Reasons It’s Actually Hermione)