Rush Hour 3
I can just about understand what the French see in Jerry Lewis, why the Americans embraced Roberto Benigni in Life Is Beautiful, and how some people believe Lee Evans is a comedy genius. But Chris Tucker I just don't get. Least, not as Detective James Carter in the Rush Hour films, which is the only role he's played in the last decade. (I seem to remember I enjoyed seeing him get shot in the trunk in Jackie Brown.)
They paid him $25 million to reprise this role for second time, so it's obvious a lot of people feel differently. But talk about overpaid! All he does in this movie is chat up every woman he lays eyes on, drive like a maniac, and start a couple of fights Jackie Chan has to finish. Oh, and he squeals a lot.
In fairness to Mr Tucker, even Bernie Mac would have his work cut out to make this script seem fresh. Screenwriter Jeff Nathanson has written all three Rush Hour films, and become a favourite writer for Steven Spielberg over the last few years (he has credits on The Terminal, Catch Me If You Can, and the fourth Indiana Jones movie). But it can't have taken him more than a couple of evenings to bash out this thoroughly routine assignment for director Brett Ratner and New Line Pictures.
Carter and Lee (Jackie Chan) cross paths again when the Hong Kong ambassador is shot, just seconds before revealing the identity of a mysterious, possibly mythical Triad uber-boss. Anyone who has ever seen a movie before will have no problem deducing the identity of the villain, but our cops have a harder time - even though we're told the ambassador (1) has survived the assassination plot and (2) he has written down the name and placed it in a locker, which somehow they never quite get into.
Following a trail of wild hunches they wind up in Paris, presumably because Nathanson has finally exhausted the comic potential of pairing an African-American with a Chinaman. Time for some fresh jokes about French neutrality (?), their antipathy towards Americans, and their reliance on those same Americans to come over and kick ass. (So what if it's really Chan who does the ass-kicking?)
This is very lazy stuff. I particularly hated the idiotic scene when Carter takes on a whole martial arts dojo just because, well, the movie needs an action-comedy scene every five minutes. Then again, the scene where a nun translates insults between the two cops and a French thug was pitifully unfunny for longer, and without the action element (unless torture counts as action these days?). But now that I think of it, doesn't the entire dumb plot unravel if the Genevieve character has the slightest consistency?
Ah well. At least Ratner is competent when it comes to staging action. There's a reasonably exciting chase sequence, and even though he's over 50, Chan still shows his chops when he's placed in a novel enough environment to inspire him. Case in point the climax atop the Eiffel Tower. Not coincidentally, Chris Tucker is basically sidelined by then.
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