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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

REVIEW - "Rush Hour 3" (2007)

Not too long ago I wrote a review claiming “Ocean’s 13” was bargain bin material. However, “Rush Hour 3” proves to be even more irrelevant-- If you’ve seen “Rush Hour” or “Rush Hour 2”, you’ve seen “Rush Hour 3”. There’s just nothing to justify this sequel. The material is the same and everything about the series refuses to evolve. Carter is still killing important moments. Lee is still as serious as ever. And the story is very similar to the previous two movies. It has some good moments, but that seems to be the worst part of the movie’s integrity. There are good pieces to it, but they’re too sparse and too small to make a difference.

The storyline involves Carter (Chris Tucker) and Lee (Jackie Chan) tracking down an important list of dangerous criminals. This is only after the Chinese ambassador, who claimed he found it, is shot. The event leads the duo to France, and the film goes downhill from there. (Not that there was anywhere else to go anyway.)

Once again Lee and Carter are put in a situation where their friendship, or in this case, “brotherhood”, is challenged and both characters get annoyed with each other. We’ve seen all this before.

And how cliché is it to put these characters in Paris? As I recall, the last movie where Chan went to Paris didn’t turn out so well (“Shanghai Knights”). Why would a movie with a similar concept and similar characters be any better? Furthermore, Chan’s martial arts just don’t seem as cool as they use to be. You can tell he’s starting to get too old for this and as a result a lot of the action sequences are played safe.

The characters haven’t changed at all. Carter is still as full of himself as ever and is still unable to admit defeat. Even though his character's police rank has been demoted, he still plays the big shot. Lee isn’t quite as stuck up as he usually is, but it’s hard to see any difference in this movie. There’s an attempt at a love story, or rather, love “interest”, between Carter and a new character, but it never finds resolution. Are they together? Are they not? Does he still like her? Does she? Does it matter? You’ll never know even if you go see the film. You’ll also never find out if Carter gets promoted to detective again. The fact that Carter has been demoted is introduced and quickly forgotten. May I ask, what was the point? And the obligatory twist is so obvious you see it coming five to ten minutes in to the movie. (Those who are familiar with the type of characters Max von Sydow plays will understand.)

With a formula so familiar, you expect the ending to consist of Lee and Carter getting involved in a big showdown before making some narrow, height involved escape, all while screaming their guts out. That’s exactly what you get! Unfortunately, the ending doesn’t pay off this time and the final result is very disappointing. The fun is stripped away and all we get is a poor ending to a poor film.

Admittedly, there are a few funny parts in this movie-- Nothing as classic as the gay guy in the second film, but worth a chuckle. Lee and Carter interrogate an Asian assassin that speaks French. Unable to understand him, a nun comes in to translate and the result is quite funny. Lee and Carter’s duet at the strip-club is pretty funny as well. I nearly died seeing Jackie Chan come down from the ceiling on a swing.

“Rush Hour 3” provides a few laughs; if you’re a Rush Hour fan you would probably enjoy it. Otherwise, it’s the least pertinent film I’ve seen this year. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me. Brett Ratner ruined the X-Men finale with “X-Men: The Last Stand” why should I expect he give his own trilogy a proper sendoff? I really liked the first two, but this is as hollow as movies get. Lets hope this “Rush” is the 11th Hour—Ratner should have quit after the second film.

*½ out of ****