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Rush Hour 3 (A Movie Review)

Updated: May 15, 2023

RUSH HOUR 3 (2007)

Starring Chris Tucker, Jackie Chan, Max von Sydow, Hiroyuki Sanada, Yvan Attal, Youki Kudoh, Noemie Lenoir, Jingchou Zhang, Tzi Ma, Roman Polanski, Henry O, Dana Ivey and Philip Baker Hall.

Screenplay by Jeff Nathanson.

Directed by Brett Ratner.

Distributed by New Line Cinema. 90 minutes. Rated PG-13.

Somehow there has been a huge con job perpetrated on the world. We have been misled – through sleight of hand and smoke and mirrors – to believe that Chris Tucker is actually a legitimate movie star.

However, keep this in mind... since 1998 the entirety of his body of work has been made up of Rush Hour, Rush Hour 2 and Rush Hour 3. The last three films that he made without Jackie Chan all came out in 1997supporting roles in Jackie Brown with Pam Greer, The Fifth Element with Bruce Willis and Money Talks with Charlie Sheen. Not exactly the CV of a superstar.

Just for comparison's sake, during that same time period, his co-star Jackie Chan has appeared in 22 movies. Now, I'm willing to give Tucker the benefit of the doubt that he is more discriminating than Chan when it comes to picking roles. After all, who isn't? However, even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes. There has to have been some other role that a man who co-starred in blockbusters like these could have been used for. Also, his taste can't be all that discriminating – he HAS made three Rush Hour movies.

Now I should come clean right off the bat. I didn't particularly like the first Rush Hour movie, but thought it was okay for what it was. I hated Rush Hour 2. I had no plans on ever watching another of the series.

Then Rush Hour auteur Brett Ratner did something devious. He decided to set the movie in Paris. Therefore, I had to weigh my natural distrust of all things Rush Hour versus my natural love of anything Paris. After all, I've seen lots of movies that I knew I never should – just for the opportunity to spend some time in the City of Lights. (Mr. Bean's Holiday is just the last example in a long, awful list.)

So here I am, review copy of Rush Hour 3 in my DVD player, hoping for the best but expecting the worst. And yet, I am still shocked. I had no idea how bad it could possibly be. Rush Hour 3 makes Rush Hour 2 seem like Citizen Kane.

The blame is not on Jackie Chan. Chan does his normal, workmanlike job. He's not a very good actor, and even with about thirty years of appearing on-and-off in US films, he still does not sound completely comfortable acting in English. Still, he is a wonderful stunt man and his fight scenes, if sometimes a little ludicrous, are in general entertaining. He also has a self-depreciating humor which can be charming. On the whole, Chan doesn't really embarrass himself (except for one scene in which he is forced to talk in street lingo.)

However, Tucker is – if possible – even more annoying, grating, unfunny, over the top, ridiculous, pathetic and completely unlikable than he had been in the previous movies. This, undoubtedly, is the real reason that no one in Hollywood other than Brett Ratner will hire him.

The plot – as if it really matters – has the mismatched cops working together for the first time in three years to protect the daughter of a Chinese ambassador as well as find the mysterious Shy Shen.

They are aided by an elderly British ambassador (Max Von Sydow) and a cab driver who wants to be an American spy (Yvan Attal). Standing in their way are an obnoxious French police chief (Roman Polanski) and Chan's long-lost brother. If you can't figure out who the ultimate criminal is, you just aren't trying very hard.

The guys go through the motions, stumbling across major clues, meeting important participants in the case just by chance, flirting with every woman who looks their way and fighting their way through some of the most beautiful landmarks in the world. It all leads to an absolutely absurd (and seemingly endless) action sequence at the Eiffel Tower.

The plot is all very confusing and yet at the same time seemingly completely random. The story seems like it was made up as they went along, with narrative strands forgotten or misused throughout. Still, with all the conflicting plot points and muddled narrative – I really only have one question about all this. What the hell are respected talents like Max Von Sydow and Roman Polanski doing in Rush Hour 3?

Then, if there was any doubt how much the movie sucks, the film ends by resorting to the one absolute dead-giveaway of a movie that has no ideas in its noggin – a montage of cast bloopers over the closing credits.

On the plus side, however, the scenery is spectacular.

Oh, and by the way, just for the record for all of you fans of HBO's Entourage – Johnny Drama does NOT appear here in a cameo as a bus driver on the Champs Elysee. Seems like he's the lucky one in this case. For sure the audience isn't.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2007 All rights reserved. Posted: December 23, 2007.


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