Film Reviews

RUSH HOUR 3

By • Aug 10th, 2007 •

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A dated, stale, anti-American comedy. I hope they all make enough money never to make another RUSH HOUR movie again.

No such luck. Brett Ratner is quoted in the New York Daily News as saying he’d do another “in two seconds” and would even do “a Grumpy Old Rush Hour.”

RUSH HOUR 3 is going to be huge and Chris Tucker was a stubborn genius to wait until New Line bowed to his $25 million salary and 20% back-end profits demands. How do I know this movie is critic-proof and will make Tucker enormously wealthy? I heard that for the Friday night 8PM advance screening, people began lining up at noon.

Director Ratner and New Line are saving a good screenplay for another money-making franchise.

Some things have changed. Chinese Chief Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan) is now guarding Chinese Ambassador Han (Tzi Ma) who is in Los Angeles about to reveal a secret plot before the World Criminal Court. LAPD Detective James Carter (Chris Tucker) is directing traffic while singing along to his iPod. When Carter sees Lee jumping through traffic running after the assassin, he leaves his post and follows Lee. The assassin is Kenji (Hiroyuki Sanada), lo and behold, Lee’s childhood “brother”. Face to face with Kenji, Lee lets him escape to kill again.

Lee and Carter team up again, and the homoerotic give-and-take – “You are my brother, I love you!” – are still flying. Carter’s constant humiliation of Lee has been dropped. (Chan is just too old to take the tired cultural abuse from Tucker.)

Can you believe the writer, Jeff Nathanson, actually put that dinosaur routine, Abbott & Costello’s “Who’s On First?” in RUSH HOUR 3?

When the World Criminal Court Director Varden Reynard (Max Von Sydow) goes to Paris protecting Han’s 20-year-old daughter, Soo Yung(Jingchu Zhang),Carter and Lee follow.

They get entangled with a secret cabal of the Chinese organized crime family, the Triads, and a French police chief, Detective Revi(Roman Polanski), who happily administers the standard gay bit that must be in every Chan movie franchise. Instead of nasty one-liners from Carter directed at Lee, it is a French taxi driver, George (Yves Attal), who keeps insulting Americans as imperialist, colonists, and war-mongers. Throughout George’s tirade, he wants to be an international spy. This being a comedy, he gets slapped by his wife (Julie Depardieu).

The secret everyone is after is held by the mysterious Genevieve (Noemie Lenoir), whose “dazzling” performance needs a chorographer. When the secret is finally revealed, I asked, “Doesn’t anyone have a cell phone camera?”

The big finale ends on top of the Eiffel Tower. I’ve been there many times and, if you have also, you will agree with me that Ratner should have left in the crowds, slow elevators, and freezing wind. It would have been a more exciting chase. And the French flag that is the big finish? We saw that in RUSH HOUR 2. Is this supposed to be the set piece we have to see in every RUSH HOUR movie? Is this like Superman donning the “S” suit?

Director Brett Ratner, who directed RUSH HOUR and RUSH HOUR 2, takes home his big paycheck, but who directed this movie while he was hanging out in Paris dating intern models? What is Ratner’s ego lacking that his dating habits get more publicity than his directing? The direction has no style and is lazy. Tucker has gotten too old and heavy-lidded to play a wise-cracking sidekick. Carter has gotten bitter. The chemistry between Chan and Tucker has been ruined by lawyers.

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