Rush Hour 3
Directed By: Brett Ratner
Distributed By: New Line Cinema
Reviewed by Ismael Manzano
My interest in seeing Rush Hour 3 would best be classified as lukewarm. I’m a huge Jackie Chan fan, and love all of his movies, not so much for their stories but for the action and the innovative ways in which he choreographs his fights. Also I’ve always had tremendous respect for him for doing his own stunts back in his younger, Hong Kong Kung Fu days. Likewise, I love Chris Tucker; I always found him funny and entertaining, and the combination of the two actors worked well in the past. This time, however, I was leery of yet another Rush Hour sequel, thinking it unwise to push the franchise over its shelf-life. Nonetheless, I was willing to give it a try..
Rush Hour 3—as if you didn’t know—has Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker reprise their roles as Chief Inspector Lee and Detective James Carter. The movie opens with an over the top, but mildly amusing scene in which we discover that Detective Carter has been busted down to traffic cop, a simple job that his unnecessary antics manages to turn into a six car collision.
From there we shift to Inspector Lee and the beginning of the actual plot. Lee has been asked to safeguard an old friend during an important announcement regarding an important break in an ongoing, multi-national case against the Chinese Triad. An assassination attempt prompts Lee and Carter to pick up the investigation that allegedly found the secret leaders of the Triad organization. The investigation becomes immediately personal for Lee when it is revealed that his ‘brother’ Kenji (Hiroyuki Sanada) is heavily involved with the Triad.
The capture of a French-speaking Triad member and the attempted murder of a French diplomat, leads the duo to France in search of a mystery list, said to hold the names of all the Triad leaders. Along the way—and by an absurd coincidence—they encounter Genevieve (Noemie Lenoir) a burlesque dancer with a very strong tie to the Triad and the list they seek. It isn’t long before the Triads learn of what Lee and Carter are doing and make attempts to stop them once and for all.
All of this culminates in a suspenseful, high-flying scene in which Lee and his ‘brother’ face off in the Eiffel Tower. Can the duo overcome the odds and defeat the massive Triad forces, while keeping Genevieve safe and the list out of enemy hands?
Okay, now for the critique. I did not like this movie at all. To start with, not only did it not have all the action and stunts and thrills that I’ve come to expect from a Jackie Chan film, it wasn’t even as funny as the first two Rush Hour movies. The jokes were predictable and often times just stupid. Carter was little more than an insulting stereotype, who relied more on his mouth—which usually spat out complete nonsense—than actual brains to get the job done; and how he still maintained a job even by comedy movie standards is beyond me.
Then there was the explanation of the disappearance of Isabella, (Roselyn Sanchez), Lee’s love interest from the second movie. Apparently, Carter had accidentally shot her in the face, which caused her to have temporary facial paralysis and when she was better she left Lee. If you’re wondering where the f**k that came from, join the club. Not only was that revelation out of the blue and made no sense, but the manner in which it was treated by Carter—as if it was a simple mistake that she should have gotten over and could be laughed at later—was insulting and did nothing to make me like the character. To top it off, they never explained the circumstances of the accidental shooting.
Then there was the French Chief of Police whom if I am not mistaken was played by Roman Polanski, a man who years ago fled the country to avoid a rape trial. Yeah, I find anything this guy’s in extremely funny. But aside from that, his character made no sense. He brutally interrogated Lee and Carter upon entering France, warning them to leave his city immediately just before giving them a thorough anal search—can you say typecast. Then at the end of the movie, when there are bodies everywhere and absolutely nothing has been sorted out yet, the French Police Chief shows up, thanking the two American cops for stopping the Triad—something which he could not possibly have known because it had just happened two seconds before he showed up. And of course, the movie ends with the two heroes dancing down the street to music that isn’t really there after having just assaulted the French Chief of Police. I know we mock the French a lot, but does anyone but the creators of this movie really think that any French cop would allow that to happen?
But the movie wasn’t a total wash. The character of George (Yvon Attal, Munich), an American-hating cab driver who gets swept up in the thrill of what he believes to be typical American antics, was absolutely great. My favorite line from him—and the movie in fact—was, “I want to be American now; I want to kill people for no reason.”
To sum it up, I would only recommend this movie to anyone with an I.Q. of about 20. Other than that, you’re not going to find it funny. At best you’ll find it entertaining if you don’t like to really pay attention to things like plot, but in the end, it’s all just a cheap attempt to cash in on the success of the other two movies by offering recycled jokes. Sorry Chan and Tucker, I really did want to like your movie.