Rush Hour 3
"Rush Hour 3" is more of the same
Me and Ratner's latest get into a fender-bender of sorts
(Aug. 13) In a summer filled with trilogies, Brett Ratner's "Rush Hour" franchise gets perhaps the most pointless "threequel" of the bunch.
I'm sure you've heard of this film's predecessors, which involve two detectives with very different backgrounds working together to solve crimes. If you haven't, then you aren't missing too much - except for maybe Hollywood's latest reinvention of the Martin and Lewis formula of filmmaking.
That being said, fans of Ratner's East-meets-West crime series aren't too interested in plots or character development.
No, they're filling seats to watch two unlikely buddies, Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, be themselves for 90 minutes.
There's something elegantly simple in watching Chan climbing up stuff like a monkey, catching things with his feet, then kicking them back at would-be assassins.
There's also something to be said about Tucker yelling expletives in an absurdly high-pitched voice while dealing out his own style of martial arts (typically involving Michael Jackson dance moves and a rousing chorus of "Everybody was Kung-Fu Fighting").
Basically, if you've seen the previous two films, you've already seen this one - that's about as clean-cut as I can make it. Although the locales are different (trading out Los Angeles and Hong Kong for Paris), the thinly padded plot takes a backseat to elaborate stunt sequences and set pieces.
Three years after the events in "Rush Hour 2," Lee (Chan) is the bodyguard for the Chinese ambassador. During a World Criminal Court discussion, as the ambassador addresses the importance of fighting the Triad (a sweet Yakuza-style gang), he announces that he knows the identity of its leadership.
An assassination attempt on the ambassador's life takes place and he gets shot, which forces Lee into action as he pursues the assassin and eventually catches him.
Lee discovers the "shocking revelation" that the assassin is none other than his godbrother, Kenji (Hiroyuki Sanada). When Lee hesitates to shoot Kenji, Carter (Tucker) shows up. But he is too late, allowing Kenji to make his escape.
That, of course, leads the pair to Paris, where they must track down Lee's godbrother and find out the mysterious truth about the Triad's leadership. Well, anyway, that's what a classical plot synopsis would tell you. Truth is, though, none of that is important.
All that matters is played-out jokes and ridiculous "who's on third?" dialogue, combined with martial arts mayhem. Allow me to be completely honest with you, dear reader, in saying that "Rush Hour 3" is not an entirely awful movie.
It is a shallow, simple buddy movie that never takes itself seriously, and hey - that's not so bad. There's certainly a niche for that kind of movie in the world of cinema. Who cares if this is all Ratner seems capable of doing - shallow, style-over-substance pieces of fluff? I don't.
If you enjoyed the other two movies, you'll like this one. I guess that's all there is to it. If you're looking for more than Tucker yelling, "DAMN" or Chan doing clever karate stunts, then I suggest looking elsewhere.