August 16, 2007

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Rush Hour 3 (PG-13)
Jackie Chan Jackie Chans his way through the well-choreographed fight scenes while Chris Tucker Chris Tuckers his way through cheap comedy in the frayed and tired action comedy Rush Hour 3.

Chinese Chief Inspector Lee (Chan) and LAPD detective Carter (Tucker) bump into each other once again in Los Angeles, this time with Lee chasing the man who just attempted to assassinate the ambassador he’s protecting and Carter brushing off traffic cop duty to join in the high-speed-pursuit fun. Despite what at this point are tiring protestations from Lee against working with Carter, the men eventually team up and travel to Paris to find the international gang of criminals who are behind the assassination plot and perhaps future deadly attacks on Lee’s friends and associates. Along the way, the men meet Genevieve (Noemie Lenoir), who fulfills her job of being a hot woman in front of whom the men can make asses of themselves.

During the gag reel at the end of the movie, we realize that Chan really can’t speak English all that well. Despite this seeming obstacle to success as an American actor, it’s actually Tucker who is completely unnecessary to the movie. As Arnold Schwarzeneggar proved, an occasionally hard-to-understand accent is no impediment to a solo career as an action star (or, for that matter, to major political office). Chan brings physical acrobatics that, despite his 53 years, are still fascinating to watch. Tucker brings hackneyed delivery of jokes so weak it must embarrass him to deliver them. Maybe you can’t build a great movie on nifty kicks and clever feints alone but such a movie — especially if stripped of this Scriptwriting 101 plot — would be far more entertaining than this bundle of clichés and worn gags. Also shorter. See all the benefits? D+

Rated PG-13 for sequences of action violence, sexual content, nudity and language. Directed by Brett Ratner, who apparently doesn’t care what you think, and written by Jeff Nathanson and Ross LaManna, Rush Hour 3 is a surprisingly long hour and 30 minutes and is distributed in wide release by New Line Cinema.