In an interview, Brett Ratner admitted that the first part of the karaoke scene with Chris Tucker wasn't supposed to be filmed. Tucker refused to act like Michael Jackson with the cameras running. Between takes, he went up as entertainment for everyone. Secretly, Ratner told the cameramen to film it but to not let Tucker notice them.
The scene where Carter gets the kosher meal was originally scripted to have Carter ask if Lee "want some of my gefilte fish?" after the stewardess left. But Chris Tucker couldn't pronounce "gefilte", so the scene never made the final cut (outtakes of this scene are in the end credits).
On The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (1992), Chris Tucker said that while he was filming this movie in Hong Kong, many locals mistook him for NBA star Kobe Bryant. In the film, while Tucker's character is running up the stairs, the old woman shouts "Move out of the way, Kobe" to him.
The part of the "Red Dragon" hotel was played by the Desert Inn in Las Vegas, Nevada. The sign was changed to read "Red Dragon" and the lower half of the building was painted red for the filming of the movie. The hotel was closed at the time so evidence of the transformation remained for a while. The Desert Inn was demolished on 23 October 2001.
Ziyi Zhang could not speak English, so she had to take direction via the combination of an interpreter (often Jackie Chan himself) and Brett Ratner essentially performing "charades". Her character only says three English words in the movie: "Some apple?" and, later, "Out!" In an interview, Roselyn Sanchez said that Ziyi Zhang tried learning English from her, but tried to discourage her as she would have ended up speaking it with a Puerto Rican accent.
During the filming of the stunt where Lee and Carter jump from the top window of the Red Dragon hotel then slide down the wires of Chinese Lanterns, a real (i.e. not part of the movie) car chase took place on/through the set. Apparently, a carload of drunken tourists (the set was in Las Vegas) got into an altercation with a taxi driver, and the two cars began a chase that ran down the strip and onto the set, narrowly missing crew members, extras and an enormous crane which held a camera and crew. Fortunately no one was injured; the driver and passengers of the taxi were detained by police.
Chris Tucker ad-libbed many different versions of his short speech to Hu Li at the end of their fight. Brett Ratner felt the speech was not working and told Tucker to call her a "bitch". Tucker refused to say the word and it took hours of convincing by Ratner before Tucker finally agreed.
In the final fight scene with Hu Li, Carter defends himself with a roulette wheel. When Hu Li stabs at Carter with her sword, she hits the wheel directly on the "00" (double zero), which only appears on "American" roulette game wheels.