The buddy cop flick isn't exactly a new sub-genre of film in 2010. Throw a grizzled, tough-as-nails veteran in the same squad car as a wide-eyed rookie, add some laughs and a criminal plot, and you have yourself a film. The genre isn't exactly made diverse by changing the types of cops you're putting together, but simply altering the stereotype cops does allow for a new movie to be made. The genre wasn't even new in 1998 when the first Rush Hour hit theaters. But, new or not, the Jackie Chan-Chris Tucker buddy cop film proved that you don't have be hugely different to be hugely successful.
It is true that the film is somewhat different from the majority of buddy cop flicks, but it certainly fits into the general mold – two cops with different tactics and attitudes make an unlikely pairing but manage to succeed in the end. In this case, the two cops are both minorities, which is certainly against the norm in the genre. The cops are, in fact, from opposite sides of the Pacific. Jackie Chan plays Detective Inspector Lee of Hong Kong while Chris Tucker is Detective James Carter of the LAPD.
The story is very much placed at the tail end of the 20th Century as it deals, in part, with the British handover of Hong Kong to the Chinese. A hidden criminal mastermind, Juntao, is forced out of Hong Kong as the handover is taking place, but follows one of the men who forced him out, Consul Solon Han (Tzi Ma), to Los Angeles, where Juntao has his men kidnap the Consul's daughter. When Consul Han asks the FBI to allow his man, Lee, in on the investigation, the FBI is hesitant. They view any outsider as an unneeded distraction and consequently stick Lee with Carter, telling Carter to keep him away from the case.