Rush Hour 3 sees the beloved action comedy duo of Tucker and Chan reprising their roles as LAPD Detective James Carter and Chinese Chief Inspector Lee respectively. This time around, the two must travel to Paris to battle a wing of the Chinese organized crime family, the Triads, after Ambassador Han is targeted and shot...
I remember sitting in the theater nine years ago watching the first Rush Hour film and loving the chemistry between Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, and the mix of Chan's martial arts skills and Tucker's comedic timing. However, Rush Hour was also as riffed with profanity as it was with comedy and action, and the end result was a flawed but entertaining action comedy. Three years later, Tucker and Chan reunited for a sequel, the aptly (albeit unimaginatively) titled Rush Hour 2, which decreased the amount of profanity from the first but introduced some sexual humor into the mix. As Chan ages, his abilities begin to lessen while Tucker begins to seem less hyperactive (which can be a good thing). But Rush Hour 3, which comes a surprising six years after the previous sequel brings a now 35-year-old Tucker and 53-year-old Chan back in action. Tucker seems a lot more grown up than in Rush Hour 2, despite still trying to act himself. So with everyone seeming considerably aged, there's a sense of wear and tear that Rush Hour 3 displays. While after Rush Hour 2 I would have been more than thrilled to have a third installment, it just seems too long ago to even think about revisiting this franchise.
However, Rush Hour 3 has enough to make it worth the effort. While it's not a needed film, it's fun for anyone who enjoyed the first two to see the pair together once again. There's a sense of unity between Tucker's James Carter and Chan's Chief Inspector Lee that makes it a treat to see their growth together as friends and, in a way, brothers - something the film even touches on. But I couldn't help feel like Chan looked exhausted and bored through much of Rush Hour 3. The passion in his eyes seen in the previous films or in characters he plays in flicks like Shanghai Noon and Knights isn't there anymore. So while Tucker still has plenty of lines and antics to keep the audience laughing, Chan seems ready to get his paycheck and go home. But Chan still has his moments. He really comes alive during his action sequences, and while few moments are as spectacular as when he was faster and more agile in his younger days, there are plenty of great moments for Chan to shine. Tucker is just a bit less frantic and is more reserved this time around. "The fastest mouth in the West," as he was dubbed in the promos for the first movie, seems to have slowed a bit, but as the film progresses, we adjust to the older version of these guys and accept them where they're at today. And watching the films in succession, you really can see their growth together.
Unfortunately, language isn't Rush Hour 3's biggest problem. While the profanity still isn't nearly as frequent as in the first installment, it's worse than the previous film, and the sexual content is considerably worse as well. This time around, Carter is actually seen in bed with a woman (with her in lingerie on top of him), but it's interrupted before it can go further. Another sequence has a line of topless women shown from behind, and some scantily clad dancers performing in a dance club/theater. Carter has women on the brain for most of the story it seems, and it comes out in the dialog. Violence is of the usual PG-13 action film kind. We briefly see some blood on a woman's arm after being shot there and on a man's jacket after he is shot. Also, a villainous character is caught in a gear/wheel of some kind and we don't see it, but hear them get crushed (and see other's reactions). The action is a lot less bloody than the first film, but nonetheless something to consider.
Fans of the series will be the best audience for Rush Hour 3, even if it seems past its time. A few cameos of characters from the first film are a nice treat, and we even get to see a character all grown up as well. The biggest story complaint I have, however (besides a bit of tampering with the background of Lee's character), is in the film's abrupt ending. Although we can assume how things resolve, there aren't quite as many tied-up loose ends as in the first two movies. Believe it or not, it's left open enough for a fourth film. And while these characters are great to watch, I can't imagine how much further it could go with a fourth. So for this being the assumed end of a trilogy, it doesn't have a very tight resolution.
Rush Hour 3 is the Summer's final "threequel" and definitely not a disappointment. While it may be one of the more unnecessary third installments to a franchise (Shrek 3 also comes to mind), director Brett Ratner and central players Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker make this an enjoyable and entertaining action comedy with plenty to keep the audience entertained. Unfortunately, there's also quite a bit of profanity and sexual humor thrown into the mix along with the action violence, so keep that in mind before deciding to view this one. Please read all the content details carefully.- John DiBiase (reviewed: 8/10/07)
Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not exclusively on content. However, if the content really affects the reviewer's opinion and experience of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's overall rating.
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