Views & Reviews From Writer Steve Miller
Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

Currently Showing at Cinema Steve

Friday, August 10, 2007

Rush Hour 3
Starring: Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Hiroyuki Sanada, Max von Sydow, Noémie Lenoir, Yvan Attaln, Jingchu Zhang, and Youki Kudoh
Director: Brett Ratner
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

Inspector Lee (Chan) and Detective Carter (Tucker) travel to Paris to unmask the secretive leadership of the powerful Chinese criminal organization, the Triads.

I know I saw "Rush Hour 2", but I can't remember a single thing about it. And I suspect it's going to be the same thing with "Rush Hour 3" in a few weeks, as there is nothing memorable about this film.

The acting is lackluster, although this is partly due to the weak script. Tucker's character is annoying rather than funny, Chan seems old and tired for most of the film (something that made me feel even more sorry for seeing this movie), and virtually none of the interplay between characters seemed to take place for any reason other than the script dictates they must do so. (The formula-dictated "falling out" of the two buddies in the film's second act is particularly pathetic and badly motivated.)

This misfired sequel only gets a rating as high as a 4 because it does have a couple of bright spots, and even an improvement over the original "Rush Hour" film.

When Ratner did "Rush Hour" ten years ago, it was dissapointed by the way he failed to take advantage of Chan's presense. It was shot like a standard action film, with Chan's fight scenes being filmed mostly in two-shots--with him and his opponent framed in the shot and most of his acrobatics and Prop-Fu happening at the edge of the screen. It was clear that Ratner had no idea how to make a film that took advantage of Chan's talents. That is not the case anymore, and the camera is pulled back far enough in all the fight scenes that we get the full effect of Chan's acrobatics--as well as Tucker's foray into comedic prop-fighting. Every action scene and fight scene are extremely well-staged and well-filmed, and they are the only truly excellent thing about the film. It's too bad they're surrounded by such garbage.

On the acting front, only Max von Sydow (as the Chief Justice of the World Court, who couldn't suck even if he tried) and Jingchu Zhang (as Soo Yung--the little kidnap victim that Lee and Carter rescued in the first film, now a teenager) give the only really good performances in the film, althogh in fairness to Chan and Tucker, von Sydow and Zhang weren't hampered by badly written scenes.

But, there has to have been more that went wrong here than just the script, because I remember having a sense of a real friendship developing between the Lee and Carter characters in the first film, but here I didn't get the impression of any sort of relationship between the two characters.

In fact, while watching "Rush Hour 3", I found myself constantly wondering why Lee would put up with such an annoying and dimwitted person as Carter. Not to mention creepy... the reunion scene between Soo Yung and Carter when he hugs her and mutters "sooo young" made my skin crawl. (Although, given that child rapist Roman Polanski appears in a small part as a corrupt French police detecive, maybe the filmmakers thought it was funny to have a 30-something character hug an underage girl and make sexual comments about her.)

Despite some very well-done fight scenes, "Rush Hour 3" is a movie that's not worth your time. For once, the Chinese are fortunate that they are ruled by iron-fisted dictators. The film won't officially be imported to China, so no one will be wasting their hard-earned Yuans on it.

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