Monday, August 20, 2007

Review: Rush Hour 3

Starring: Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker,
Director: Brett Ratner
Producer: Robert Birnbaum, Andrew Z. Davis, Jonathan Glickman, Athur M. Sarkissian, Jay Stern
Release Date: August 10, 2007
Running time: 90 min
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Distributors: New Line Cinema




“If you're half Chinese, I'm half black. I'm your brother and I'm fly. You down with that, Snoopy? That's dope, innit?”

The Skinny:
God help us, it’s the third Rush Hour. Chris and Jackie, sitting in a tree. S-U-C-K-I-N-G…


The Review:
I almost made it. I almost made it all the way through the summer but now the weight has become just too much to bear. Here we are with the umpteenth sequel/threequel and I have but one thought pulsing through my head: For the love of all that is holy, haven’t we had enough already? Tired, unnecessary rehashes of stories we barely cared about the last time around. I don’t mind sequels if they can bring something new to the table but to have the audacity to do pretty much the exact same thing as the previous film is contemptuous and insulting.

In the Socratic dialogue, The Republic, Plato famously tells us that “necessity is the mother of invention.” If that is true, then the counterbalance to that argument must be an exercise in nonessential free will, and Rush Hour 3 must’ve been exactly what they had in mind.

A few years after Rush Hour 2, we rejoin the two main leads in their current jobs. James Carter (Chris Tucker) is directing traffic on the streets of Los Angeles. Chief Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan) is now the bodyguard for Ambassador Han, the former Consul from the original Rush Hour. At the World Criminal Court discussions, Ambassador Han addresses the importance of the fight with the Triad, a society of underground Chinese organized crime. During his announcement that he knows the identity of the Triad leadership, an assassination attempt is made on Han’s life when he is shot by a sniper. Later in the hospital, Lee and Carter make a promise to Soo Yung (Han’s now grown daughter) to find and capture the person behind the attack to ensure her fathers safety.

There is nothing in this movie that feels fresh to me. It is essentially one clumsy setup after another to a car chase/fight scene. Lee has a cause that he just “has to go at alone this time” and Carter disrupts any action with smart-ass, unfunny commentary for the sake of hearing his own high-pitched, whiney voice (“Lee this guys on steroids! His head is bigger than Barry Bonds”). We are also treated to the same tired, clich├ęd jokes. Aww look, Carter and Lee get into another lovers quarrel and go their separate ways. Lee orders fried chicken and sweet potato pie from room service and Carter orders Mu Shu Pork from around the corner, unbeknownst to each other. Listen guys, it took me a minute but I get it - you two can be friends despite your cultural differences. I think that after three movies, I have earned the right not to have my nose rubbed in it. Again. We get the same over-choreographed fight scenes that I would describe as more B-grade Three Stooges antics if that didn’t qualify as a compliment. I half-expected Carter or Lee to put a hand straight up on their nose to stop the Triad from poking out their eyes.

For the most part, Jackie Chan movies seem like nothing more than a vehicle for showcasing his martial arts ability. They can be funny and entertaining, but if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. And it seems like Tucker is just wasting his prime. He hasn’t made a single movie in the last decade except Rush Hour movies. Wow. For someone with such a promising career after Friday, I can’t for the life of me figure out why he has decided to wallow in mediocrity like this. Seriously, how long are we going to milk this cow? Seeing Tucker go on Letterman and tell everyone he can “kick Jackie’s ass”, or Chan on Leno telling everyone he can “sing and dance better than Chris” leaves me feeling exasperated thinking what else they could’ve been doing besides this. The final scene in the movie sums up the whole experience for me. The two stars go dancing into the Paris night and the song “War” pours over the speakers and in one fail swoop, the filmmakers inadvertently but perfectly summarize the whole experience through the lyrics of the song, and no truer words have ever been spoken about the movie: “… what is it good for? Absolutely nothing, say it again, y’all.”


The Rub:
This is a pointless, nonessential, unnecessary, forced, boring slapped together movie from start to finish. A complete waste of Tucker and Chan’s comedic abilities that I can only hope is the cold water in the face that Tucker needs to motivate him to do something different with his potentially excellent career.

And there’s the rub.


* out of ****

3 comments:

Tony DeFrancisco said...

Ouch, sir. I really did like this one, hence the four stars. Oh well. Fantastic review nonetheless.

The Film Fiend said...

I feel sorry for Jackie Chan. The guy looks flat-out miserable in every clip I've seen. Excellent review.

Anonymous said...

Awesome review!