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'Rush Hour 3' Movie Review

The Rush Hour Franchise Hits a Wall

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating

By

Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan star in Rush Hour 3

Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan reunite for Rush Hour 3.

© New Line Cinema
If silly fun and a lot of over-the-top action are all you're in the mood for, then there are worse ways to spend an hour and a half than sitting through what will hopefully be the last film of the Rush Hour franchise, Rush Hour 3. Brett Ratner, a director who's never been accused of subtlety when it comes to helming feature films, and screenwriter Jeff Nathanson didn't try to reinvent the Rush Hour wheel. Foregoing a logical plot and any desire they might have had to cover new comic territory, Nathanson and Ratner settled for recycling gags and gimmicks that have worked in the past.

Rush Hour 3 revisits everything that made the first two films commercially successful, only slightly tweaking the established buddy comedy format to include a message of brotherhood as well as a few jabs at the United States of America. Setting Rush Hour 3 in Paris allowed Nathanson and Ratner to have a lot of fun at America's expense. But even the jokes about the supposedly violent nature of Americans are soft and inconsequential. The plot's so ludicrous that taking seriously any message in Rush Hour 3 is a complete waste of time.

The Story

Speaking of the plot, it has something to do with an assassination attempt which reunites LAPD Detective James Carter (Tucker) and Chinese Chief Inspector Lee (Chan) as partners. The crimefighting duo then head off to Paris to try and bring down the Chinese crime organization, the Triads. There are loads of gorgeous location shots and lots of stunts involving furniture before the guys wind up at the Eiffel Tower. The hows and whys of it all make no sense whatsoever. Disengage your brain and forget trying to make a coherent story out of why the guys go to Paris, who exactly they're after, and who's on their side. Expending the energy necessary to make your way through the disjointed plot ultimately isn't worth the effort.

Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan star in Rush Hour 3

Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in Rush Hour 3.

© New Line Cinema
The Acting

Jackie Chan's still got it, though you can definitely see signs he's slowing down. Many of his actions scenes appear to have been accomplished at a much slower pace than previous Chan movies. Chan's 53-year-old body may not be able to make the moves look as effortless as he used to, but you've got to give him an A for effort. Plus, not many teens or young adults could keep up with Chan even at this stage of the game.

Chris Tucker was apparently handed the task of picking up some of the action slack as his character's much more involved in altercations with the bad guys than in the two previous movies. Tucker's okay as an action guy, and fortunately the script and the staging of the stunts allowed the actor to maintain his status as the film’s comic relief even while being kicked and thrown and otherwise beat up throughout the movie. Tucker’s been absent from the screen for six years – since the last Rush Hour movie – and after taking in his performance in Rush Hour 3, it would be perfectly fine if he took another six years off.

The Bottom Line

I sat through Rush Hour 2 back when it was released in 2001, but I can’t remember in detail any specific scene from that Chan/Tucker comedy. I have a feeling that in a matter of weeks I won’t be able to recall much from Rush Hour 3 either. A completely forgettable popcorn flick meant only to serve fans of the team of Chan and Tucker, Rush Hour 3 is what it is. Packed with ridiculous fight scenes, jokes about Chan’s lack of proficiency in English, a cameo by Academy Award-winning director Roman Polanski (which is totally out of place but strangely seems to fit the overall goofiness of the film), and some semi-naked beautiful ladies for eye candy purposes only, Rush Hour 3 won’t go down in history as one of the best efforts of anyone involved. But as far as brainless entertainment goes, it’s not entirely bad.

GRADE: C+

Rush Hour 3 was directed by Brett Ratner and is rated PG-13 for sequences of action violence, sexual content, nudity and language.

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