Rush Hour 3

Rush Hour 3

2007, PG-13, 91 min. Directed by Brett Ratner. Starring Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Vinnie Jones, Max von Sydow, Noémie Lenoir, Hiroyuki Sanada, Youki Kudoh.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Aug. 10, 2007

It says something that the most inspired comedic performance in Rush Hour 3 comes from director-cum-fugitive Roman Polanski, whose turn as the head of the Parisian police arrives midway through the film: He and his flunkies torture returning intercontinental buddy cops Los Angeles Detective Carter (Tucker) and Hong Kong Inspector Lee (Chan), hanging them from the ceiling and bashing them about with phone books before going deep-down trauma hound on them with a latex-gloved index finger. It's either the most inspired Chinatown gag ever or a sure sign the diminutive Oscar winner has gone ’round the bend. Either way, this third outing in the series (the last entry wobbled in six years ago) falls flat faster than most of Chan's goofy line readings – he's never quite mastered the idiomatic inflections of Yank slang, and as a result Chan's Inspector Lee always seems half a beat off his patter, making the whole film feel like a Hope and Crosby road movie lodged in first gear. The story, which reunites Lee and Carter as they head to Paris to uncover the would-be assassin behind the shooting of Lee's friend Ambassador Han (Tzi Ma), is a sterling example of how not to make a crisp, surprising action film. It's The Bourne Ultimatum's evil twin, relying, as it repeatedly does, on tired, cookie-cutter, cliché action set-pieces (Chan no longer seems to have the sinewy grace of his younger Police Story-era self, nor is Tucker's pop-eyed, horn-dog cop schtick anywhere near as funny as he thinks it is) and a by-the-numbers script that feels as though it were concocted by writer Jeff Nathanson's son. Even Lalo Schifrin's pounding, percussion-heavy score seems retrofitted from some other, better movie. Ratner, a director not known for his subtlety, understands full well that audiences often enough expect more of the same when it comes to action-comedies of this stripe, but there's a fine line between the frenetic fun to be found in returning to a familiar roller-coaster ride and the dead-end slog of a dying franchise. If only someone had thought to replace the ever-more-annoying Tucker with the ever-more-elfin Polanski, Rush Hour 3 might've mustered some severely warped brilliance. As it is, it just signals a series that's plainly out of gas.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Brett Ratner Films
Hercules
Director Brett Ratner puts Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson through his paces as the Greek demigod.

William Goss, Aug. 1, 2014

Movie 43
This raunchy collection of short films drew A-list talent behind and in front of the camera.

Kimberley Jones, Feb. 1, 2013

More by Marc Savlov
John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
Welcome back, Mister Wick: Everyone's favorite merciless killer gets more human and more intriguing

May 17, 2019

Carmine Street Guitars
Spend time with the quiet artisans who make the instruments that rock & roll is built upon

May 10, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Rush Hour 3, Brett Ratner, Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Vinnie Jones, Max von Sydow, Noémie Lenoir, Hiroyuki Sanada, Youki Kudoh

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle