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August 14, 2007 > Movie Review - RUSH HOUR 3

Movie Review - RUSH HOUR 3

By Jeremy Inman

Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan are at it again as Detective Carter and Inspector Lee. This time they bring their particular brand of comedic crime fighting to the streets of Paris. In director Brett Ratner's third run at the usually-good RUSH HOUR franchise, the one-time X-MEN director (X3) asserts once again that he's seemingly content to churn out nothing but empty popcorn flicks, one after the other. While snazzy one-liners and flashy action abound, good character development or a well developed plot are elements not to be found in this movie.

The sad part is, even the elements that are supposed to be good in this type of movie (in other words: the action) are somewhat lacking by the third go 'round. The duo runs around Paris recycling bits from two previous movies in a predictable plot that ends rather unfulfilling atop (gasp) the Eiffel Tower.

The once-entertaining pairing of Tucker and Chan even fails to reach its previous level of potential, proving that the franchise doesn't have the longevity of a LETHAL WEAPON. After all, it's only so long that you can milk the culture shock shtick. The only thing that keeps this flick watch-able is Chris Tucker's unique brand of oddly-timed comedic delivery (which he ought to have well-developed by now, since he's been doing RUSH HOUR movies consecutively since 1998).

This comes as somewhat of a disappointment to me, personally, because I'm a big fan of Jackie Chan. Movies like RUSH HOUR and SHANGHAI NOON have given Chan a chance to step outside the seriousness of his usual role, expanding his comedic range outside the hilarious physical fight sequence action. Unfortunately, Mr. Chan is getting on in years and isn't quite as capable as he was when filming RUMBLE IN THE BRONX. I've always respected him in the way I did Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton, as a modern day silent actor; using his physical aptitude to engage the audience with magnificently constructed and choreographed comedic ballets.

Chaplin and Chan both started their early careers playing drunks, Chaplin in vaudeville and Chan in DRUNKEN MASTER. But with Chan no longer at his physical peak, some of the magic of his older stunt sequences is sadly missing, leaving him with just his acting ability, lacking due to his limited English speaking ability (he learns most of his dialogue phonetically).

Even though RUSH HOUR has proven to be a hit in the past, producers either waited too long to make this one or just got lazy. With characters appearing literally out of nowhere to deliver long-winded expositions and a central conflict that nobody cares about, RUSH HOUR 3 is little more than the funniest parts of RUSH HOUR 1 and 2. Hopefully the well-respected Mr. Chan will find some projects more suitable to wind down his action career. Chris Tucker will probably crawl back to wherever he's been for the last six years and maybe Ratner should just go back to directing music videos.

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