By Louis Chan
AsAmNews National Correspondent
The programmers at CBS don’t seem to have a clue when it comes to the concerns of the Asian American community.
The folks at the Tiffany Network get a thumbs up for their casting of John Foo as Detective Lee in the TV remake of Rush Hour.
They get a resounding thumbs down for scheduling it after what many consider the most stereotypical program on television today, 2 Broke Girls.
I turned on the television last night looking forward to see Foo’s debut. I switched to CBS about 10 minutes early in time to watch Matthew Moy do his vomit inducing portrayal of a nerdy and sexually inept Han Lee on 2 Broke Girls. The hipster wannabe is portrayed more as a buffoon. Finding a girlfriend, while a priority for the character, is as likely as finding a leprechaun at a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Foo, on the other hand, plays an ass kicking detective and straight man to Detective James Carter as played by Justin Hires. Foo’s character has heart built around the concern for his sister Kim (Jessica Van). It’s great to see any Asian American actor in a lead role, especially one that is bad ass. Unfortunately the pairing on the scheduling with 2 Broke Girls leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Any good will CBS endears for its casting for Rush Hour is negated by Moy’s portrayal.
Reviews for the program have been mixed. One from the Los Angeles Times may be troubling to some. Critic Robert Lloyd makes comparison with Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan in the movie version. He writes:
“Carter is played here by Justin Hires, a compact actor who resembles Tucker not at all; Lee by John Foo, a longtime martial arts performer who has worked with Chan and does look a little like him, but younger, leaner and dishier.“
One AsAmNews reader told me “I was reading this LA Times review of Rush Hour… And was put off by the “Jon foo kinda looks like Jackie Chan whereas Justin Hires looks nothing like Chris tucker” premise. It really struck the – all look same chord.”
But I digress.
As much as I would like to love Rush Hour, I’m not there yet. If the show didn’t have Foo, Van and numerous other Asian American actors, I’d probably wouldn’t give it a second look.
The shows chemistry depends on Carter’s relationship with Lee. I’m supposed to be rooting for Carter because he’s the black sheep of the LA Police Force. He can’t do anything to please his boss, Captain Lindsay Cole (Wendie Malick). His humor and easy nature is supposed to endear me to him. Maybe he’ll grow on me.
Lee’s character is easier to like because you feel for him coming from Hong Kong to a strange land to help his sister. Hopefully his character is developed further and he picks up a love interest or two.
The fight scenes are less than impressive. That’s not good in a show built around martial arts, even if its supposed to be an action comedy. The scenes definitely lack the intensity of AMC’s Into the Badlands or even another show from yesteryear on CBS, Martial Law starring Sammo Hung. That show debut in 1998 and featured Arsenio Hall as Hung’s buddy cop. That Black Asian cop relationship has lead to comparisons with the movie franchise, Rush Hour.
Martial Law lasted two years on the network. What do you think? Will the new Rush Hour have a long life?
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