After an attempted assassination on Ambassador Han, Lee and Carter head to Paris to protect a French woman with knowledge of the Triads' secret leaders.After an attempted assassination on Ambassador Han, Lee and Carter head to Paris to protect a French woman with knowledge of the Triads' secret leaders.After an attempted assassination on Ambassador Han, Lee and Carter head to Paris to protect a French woman with knowledge of the Triads' secret leaders.
Is the franchise tired? Probably, yet probably not. Face it, it's Jackie Chan, and most of his films (with the exception of missteps such as Around the World in 80 Days) make Hollywood studios smile. You can rely on him to deliver the goods in any action comedy, but age unfortunately has caught up with him, not to mention as well the safer-than-safe minimal risks that studios in the West tend to take with its stars. The action sequences in Rush Hour 3 look a bit tired, tame, and very uninspiring, and what Jackie Chan can probably still do, has been whittled down to sequences that are just a pale shadow of what could have been.
Which leaves us with the comedy, thankfully still having its moments especially for those punchlines which deliver. Tucker again gets most of the snarky lines, and a target for those politically incorrect jokes, while dishing some of his own. If there's any hint of rudimentary character development after these years, is that his James Carter, besides having been relegated to traffic duties, managed to "half-chinese" himself, and no longer is that helpless cop who without his gun, can't kick a ball for nuts.
The plot is no rocket science, and in fact, the previous two movies just had something which could coast along from scene to scene, providing a platform either to get our heroes Lee (Chan) and his brother-from-another-mother James (Tucker) into fisticuffs, or provide something for laughs. The first had a kidnapping of a Chinese Consul's daughter which the duo had to investigate in the US, while the second brought them to Hong Kong on the trail of a counterfeiting scam. The third pits the detectives against Triads, and brings us full circle with the return of that little girl in the original movie, who's now all grown up, played by Chinese starlet Zhang Jingchu.
Zhang Jingchu follows in the footsteps of fellow compatriot Zhang Ziyi who starred in the previous sequel. But unlike Ziyi, Jingchu's role is sans martial arts, despite her character being a kungfu instructor. It's unfortunately a purely flower vase role, though she looks more fleshed and healthier than her druggy role in Protégé. Yvan Attal's supporting role as a French cab driver is actually more of a scene stealer - listen out for those jibes at America, though it's a little of a cop out how that eventually plays out. Some of the more totally insane moments involve those deliberate lost in translation moments, which are the more enjoyable moments in this movie.
Rush Hour 3 is similar in structure with its predecessors, and it does seem a tad familiar at times in the way the story gets developed, with only a change in locale, now set in Paris. It's basically an attempt to reunite the two stars in order to make another dent in the box office, so though they're back, this movie can't be taken all too seriously. It plays out like a cartoon for adults, though the local distributor decided to edit portions of the French revue scene to obta in a rating that everyone can go to.
If anything, stay behind for the outtakes, which triumphs over the main offering, hands down.
- DICK STEEL
- Aug 9, 2007