Jackie Chan cuts his fights short in "Rush Hour"

Hong Kong action-film junkies might be caught off guard when they see Jackie Chan in “Rush Hour,” the Asian megastar’s first true American-made film (in theaters Sept. 18). For one thing, he does a little singing, albeit an off-key rendition of Edwin Starr’s “War” with costar Chris Tucker. More importantly, Chan’s legendary fight sequences look suspiciously brief. “In Asia, we’re used to seeing the long fight scenes: Pow! Pow! Pow! — 10, 20 minutes,” the star tells EW Online. “But in America, it’s Pow…gone! 30 seconds! Finished!” According to Chan, 44, there’s a basic difference between American and Asian action films: “In the U.S., movies are about drama, the story, lots of talking — then fighting. In Asia we fight first, then do the drama.”

For sure, the fight scenes in “Rush Hour” are brief compared to the recent Hong Kong imports that have been brought to the States by American studios (“Rumble in the Bronx,” “Operation: Condor”). But they still retain the energetic and balletic spins, jumps, and kicks that have made Chan famous — and have caused him to break virtually every bone in his body during filming. “I told him, ‘Take that same 20-minute fight, pick the best moments of it, then compress it into 2 minutes,'” director Brett Ratner, 28, recalls. “I don’t think American audiences can tolerate 20-minute fight sequences.”

Rush Hour
  • Movie