Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Hiroyuki Sanada, Youki Kudoh, Max Von Sydow, Yvan Attal, Noemie Lenoir, Zhang Jingchu, Tzi Ma, Dana Ivey, Philip Baker Hall, Roman Polanski
Written by: Jeff Nathanson
Directed by: Brett Ratner
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of action violence, sexual content, nudity and language
Running Time: 91
Date: 07/30/2007

Rush Hour 3 (2007)

1 Star (out of 4)

Crappy 'Hour'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Nine years have passed since Rush Hour and six since Rush Hour 2, and everything about Rush Hour 3 feels tired and old. Chris Tucker's humor has the stale stench of jokes from a century ago, made for people who found the Three Stooges too witty and sophisticated. At the start of this inept, brain-dead new sequel, his detective James Carter has been understandably demoted to directing traffic, while Chief Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan) has been assigned to protect a Chinese Ambassador, who in turn is assigned to bring down the Triads. Of course, the ambassador is murdered and Carter and Lee find themselves flying to Paris to find a secret list that contains the names of the top 13 Triad leaders.

If you can't make the connection between an assassinated Chinese ambassador and Paris, neither can writer Jeff Nathanson, who leaves plot holes big enough for the Eiffel Tower to pass through. Nathanson and director Brett Ratner's biggest crime, however, is their inability to combine comedy and action, and their ineptitude at each element by itself. The wobbly plot stops dead every so often so that Tucker can perform his shtick, then resumes when he's finished. Tucker appears to be acting entirely outside of the film, whereas the cheerless Chan appears to be performing from too far within it; he looks constantly sad and worried, as if all the "fun" were really getting him down. As a result, these two characters never connect or form any kind of chemistry.

Meanwhile, Ratner still hasn't learned how to photograph Chan's fighting style, and he sacrifices clarity for a junky jumble, too close and abrupt. (In contrast, Chan himself has directed over a dozen movies with skill far beyond Ratner's.) Despite all this, Ratner has somehow attracted some impressive talents to his movie: Ingmar Bergman veteran Max Von Sydow, French supermodel NoƩmie Lenoir, and none other than Roman Polanski as the chief of Paris police. Despite his creepy mastery as a suspense director, Polanski's acting abilities tend toward the broad side; his last job in front of the camera was a Polish comedy, Zemsta (2002), that was every bit as awful as Rush Hour 3. I'll take the Stooges.

DVD Details: New Line's two disc set comes with a commentary track by Brett Ratner, a trailer, outtakes, deleted scenes (with commentary), a making-of featurette and a production diary. The cardboard sleeve has one of those 3-D things; when you tilt it, the characters change expression. Rush Hour 3

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