As a franchise, Rush Hour has never been one to inspire. Yes, the first two films were mildly entertaining – showcasing some spectacular action from Chan and even greater racial stereotyping from Tucker – but they never pushed the boundaries of the buddy cop formula. They didn’t even try. Rush Hour 1 and 2 slipped comfortably into the genre that spawned them and did nothing to develop or advance it.
Some variety or a twist in the way they were made (whether it be through script or performance) would have gone that much further to increase their appeal. Let’s face it, by the end of part one the franchise had already over-stayed its welcome.
When Chief Inspector Lee’s (Jackie Chan) boss is injured in an assassination attempt, it falls on him and loud mouth Detective James Carter (Chris Tucker) to apprehend the assassin and foil a sinister plot involving the triads. Their mission (if you can even call it that) sees them head to Paris where more ‘hilarious’ hijinx ensue.
Rush Hour 3 is, as another reviewer has stated, redundant. As the, hopefully, closing chapter of a trilogy it represents a style of filmmaking that was born in the late 90s and one which, ultimately, got trapped there.
It has been seven long years since Brett Ratner directed Rush Hour 2. With almost a decade having passed, he now reaffirms, with Rush Hour 3, that he is possibly Hollywood’s most insipid and uninspired director.
Chan and Tucker simply go through the motions without even breaking a sweat. And, while Chan and his action set pieces are (aside from the outtakes at the end) the only redeeming factors in this film, it is the dynamic between Tucker and the rest of the film’s world that is the most painful to watch.
The bigoted character of James Carter has had ten years to come to terms with the differences that exist between himself and the entire Asian community. Ten years to get over the fact that Jackie Chan’s character is Asian, that he himself is not Asian and possibly to have developed a better understanding of the culture that has weathered the brunt of what has made Rush Hour memorable for so many.
Sadly, like most of Rush Hour 3, the cultural differences that gave the first film its novel (if somewhat offensive) angle are utilized in exactly the same manner. The same things are repeated (ad nauseam) once again to an audience who has grown up.
I would love to see the Western world’s reaction to an Asian film that does the same thing Rush Hour does but with the characters of Carter and Lee flipped around. I somehow don’t think American audiences would find things quite as amusing.
Rush Hour 3 is obsolete filmmaking at its worst, as well as being a terrible waste of your time and money. Here’s hoping that Brett Ratner doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night with a sudden desire to make a fourth installment.