This action-comedy vehicle starring Chris Tucker and the inimitable Jackie Chan was a huge hit in the US last year (the sequel is on its way). And, as the closing-credit out-takes demonstrate, it couldn't have happened to a nicer martial-arts genius.
When the Chinese consul's daughter is kidnapped in Los Angeles, the FBI try in vain to sideline Chan, a Hong Kong police officer, by teaming him up with maverick LAPD cop Tucker (imagine Eddie Murphy without the reticent streak). Though nothing to write home about, the cross-cultural gags raise the occasional laugh but the entirely routine car chases and crashes are none the more entertaining for their knowing delivery - "Every once in a while we have to show the public we can blow shit up," says Tucker's boss. As ever, though, Chan's exquisite stunt-work more than compensates.
Twilight (15), to rent
Robert Benton's modest but considered thriller sank without trace on its theatrical release - more fool you, then, for not getting to the big screen to catch LA photographed as it hasn't been in decades.
A nasty gunshot wound has forced Paul Newman out of the private investigation business, but that's just the start of the casualties: Gene Hackman, as a friend and former client, is capitulating to terminal cancer, and James Garner, an old colleague, relieves himself wherever his bladder takes its fancy. No wonder this intelligent Zimmer-noir brings out the best in Susan Sarandon as Hackman's wife - the fiftysomething looks like jailbait in the arms of her creaky leading man. The plot merely ticks over while Benton busies himself with a leisurely, sophisticated examination of loyalty, mortality and, particularly, age. Refreshingly, the only characters under 40 can barely string a sentence together they're so thick.
Hoopdreams (15), to buy pounds 9.99
As if to show up the paucity of Spike Lee's fictional assault on the same subject, He Got Game, Steve James's superb basketball documentary gets a timely re-release on sell-through. James followed aspirant major league b-ballers Arthur Agee and William Gates from the mid-Eighties when the relatively deprived pair won sports scholarships to the privileged high school St Joseph's. It's here that the pair begin to feel the pressure of their teachers, their parents and the African-American dream which views basketball as the bullet-proof way out of the projects.
The epic scale of James's effort is one thing, but it's the intimate access achieved by his long-term association with the boys and their families that keeps you watching for nearly three hours.Reuse content