Rush Hour | 1998
The opening scene is a brief shot of Hong Kong Harbour, but that’s as close to the Far East as we get. The docks where Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan) confronts the bad guys, are San Pedro, in Los Angeles.
Similarly, despite the view from the windows, the stylish penthouse of Griffin (Tom Wilkinson), can be found in Los Angeles. It’s Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House, 2607 Glendower Avenue, Silverlake, below Griffith Park. If it looks a little like Deckard’s place in Blade Runner, well – it is. It was also the original (1950s) The House on Haunted Hill.
It’s over to Pasadena to find the ‘Chinese consulate’, where the consul sees his daughter off to school – and one of LA’s screen regulars.
The mansion at 380 South San Rafael Avenue in Pasadena, can also be seen in Eddie Murphy-Steve Martin movie-biz satire Bowfinger and Kenneth Branagh’s Dead Again. The house itself isn’t visible from the road, and if you visit San Rafael Avenue, you won’t even recognise the entrance.
The consulate gates, where Inspector Lee ends up getting cuffed to a steering wheel, are the entrance to the Greystone Park & Mansion, 905 Loma Vista Drive, in Beverly Hills. The much grander gateway was used to allow for Chan’s action set-piece. The estate's gardens are featured in Batman And Robin, and the mansion itself in Spider-Man and Phantom Of The Paradise, among many others.
The consul is informed about the abduction of his daughter while he’s at the ‘China Exposition’, held at the New Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 Figueroa Street between 11th Street and Venice Boulevard, downtown LA. See the Center also in John Woo’s Face/Off and as the spaceport in Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers.
Time for a spot of sightseeing in Hollywood, where Carter enthusiastically (“Just like home?”) takes Lee to see John Wayne’s footprints in the forecourt of TLC Chinese Theatre, more familiar as Grauman's Chinese Theatre, 6925 Hollywood Boulevard.
And of course, the Hollywood tour, where Lee leaps from the open-top bus, to dangle from the street sign at Hollywood and Vine. There’s a three-way stand-off with a cab driver a couple of blocks north at Argyle and Vine.
The carpark, in which Carter eventually realises Lee can speak English, is in front of the Hollywood Jazz 1945-1972 mural on the south side of the Capitol Records Tower on Vine Street. Dating from 1990 and now fast fading, the line up of jazz greats includes Chet Baker, Charlie Parker, Tito Puente, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday, and Duke Ellington.
Carter pretends not to recognize his cousin while quizzing the guys in the back room of a rather scuzzy pool hall. The ‘Azteca’ has gone, but stood at 1370 West 24th Street at South Vermont Avenue, southwest of downtown Trivia fans will no doubt like to know that this is the same street, but about a mile east, as the Witwicky family house from Transformers.
Villain Juntao calls with a ransom demand from the Jewelry Mart, 556 South Broadway at 6th Street. As the cops raid, the top floor appears to be blown off, but don’t worry – that’s just the kind of piddling explosion they take in their stride downtown.
The villains’ base has to be Chinatown, and turns out to be above the still-thriving Foo Chow Restaurant, 949 North Hill Street at Gin Ling Way, which still bears its sign proclaiming ‘Rush Hour was shot here’.