"Rush Hour 3" loses its rush

Aug. 12, 2007, midnight | By Charles Kong | 14 years, 9 months ago

Time is finally up for the "Rush Hour" series

The first "Rush Hour" was captivating. The second was amusing. "Rush Hour 3" is everything but entertaining. In spite of the Chris Tucker's light comedy and Jackie Chan's swift moves, this third installment of the cop duo has grown to become nothing more than a hackneyed rehash of what was once enjoyable and exciting.

Similar to the previous two entries, the plot of this sequel resides on the battle between the U.S. government and some Chinese villains – this time, a Chinese mafia group called the Triads. When someone shoots the Chinese ambassador at the World Criminal Court, our heroes Detective James Carter (Tucker) and Chief Inspector Lee (Chan) are brought in to look into criminal ties. In a confusing sequence of events, their investigation leads them to Paris to track down a secret list that contains the names of the top 13 Triad leaders.

The same yin-yang combination of Tucker and Chan is apparent in "Rush Hour 3," but with a lack of taste. By now these guys could do their routine in their sleep. While Tucker displays his wide-eyed facial expressions and rapid-fire falsetto voice, Chan shows his stoic and serious poker face. Tucker is the one to mess everything up and Chan is the one that fixes it. In every situation they find themselves in, Tucker dances and jokes his way out of it, while Chan punches and kicks.

But unlike the previous two entries, screenwriter Jeff Nathanson and director Brett Ratner fail to find a way to bring comedy and action together. Instead of serving the purpose of enhancing the plot, the random sputtering from Tucker cripples it altogether. It seems as if the plot halts to a stop every so often just so that Tucker can perform his spiel, then resumes after he is finished. A perfect example is when Tucker takes part in a Chinese version of the classic comedy "Who's on First"; the usage of childish wordplay only proves how cliché his jokes are.

Chan's contribution to the movie's failure is equivalent. The more Tucker babbles, the less Chan fights. It seems as if the number of fight scenes Chan is involved in has halved since the first "Rush Hour." Furthermore, the scenes in which he is able to show off his elaborate stunts and kung fu do not have a heart-stopping tempo, although it is impressive for a 53-year-old. As a result, any form of chemistry Tucker and Chan had before is ruined, as well as their success.

Ratner's attempt to make the movie more visually appealing by including Ingmar Bergman veteran Max Von Sydow, French supermodel Noémie Lenoir and Academy Award-winning film director Roman Polanski hardly helps in mending the damages already done to the movie. The only memorable moment is the finale, which delivers several well-staged, engaging sky-high thrills on the Eiffel Tower.

With that said, "Rush Hour 3" can be viewed as another one of Hollywood's attempts at a money-making franchise. So, unless one is obsessed with Chan and Tucker and can never get tired of their humor, it is unnecessary to waste two hours watching "Rush Hour 3." If you have watched one "Rush Hour," you really have watched them all.

Rush Hour 3 is rated PG-13 for sequences of action violence, sexual content, nudity and language. It is now playing in theaters everywhere.

Last updated: April 27, 2021, 12:53 p.m.

Charles Kong. Charles Kong loves to play tennis. Actually, he likes to play sports in general. He tries not to procrastinate, but his success rate varies. He likes listening to music and using the computer, and loves Jackie Chan movies. He is super excited for Chips, even … More »

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