‘Rush Hour 3’ movie review: tired Jackie Chan sequel stalls in traffic

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A tired third entry in the series that was feeling old at two, Brett Ratner´s Rush Hour 3 is capably handled and no worse than the previous entry but still fails to elicit any excitement.

It´s watchable, however, due to being a Jackie Chan movie, and featuring an abundance of Jackie Chan stuntwork.

Most of the jokes fail, and the plot induces yawns, but when the film entrusts lengthy action scenes to its 53-year old star, he still manages to impress.

This is Chris Tucker´s first film in six years (he hasn´t made a non-Rush Hour movie in ten), and I can´t say he´s been missed, though his screeching, nails-on-a-chalkboard persona seems to have been toned down this time around.

A virtual retread of the previous two films reunites Detective James Carter (Tucker) and Chief Inspector Lee (Chan) as an assassination attempt on Chinese Ambassador Han (Tzi Ma) opens the movie.

The duo follow some convenient clues that lead them to a Chinese Triad gang in Paris. Cue further eye-rolling culture-clash gags; the series has apparently run out of African-American and Chinese stereotypes, so we´re treated to a selection of French ones here.

After Lee re-encounters his bad-guy ‘brother´, the plot seems to resolve itself and we´re treated to a climatic fight atop, yeah, that´s right, the Eiffel Tower. How original. The stuntwork here is fine, but as Carter and Lee escape using a giant flag, pic employs some surprisingly amateurish green-screen work.

Max von Sydow has made a career of late out of aging, nefarious bad guys (he was particularly effective in Minority Report), but he´s wasted here with curiously little screen time; the same goes for Roman Polanski, who appears in an entirely pointless cameo as a French detective who greets our heroes at Charles de Gaulle.

Outtakes that open the end credits are far more entertaining than anything in the film itself, and reveal an actual chemistry between Chan and Tucker that somehow didn´t make it to the screen.

Rush Hour 3

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Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at expats.cz and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at MaArtial.com.

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