Rush Hour 3
Cast: Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker
Direction: Brett Ratner
Rating: * * & 1/2
Chan’s the man. So what if all of his 53 years are showing all over that Botoxed face. The pint-sized glamour box is still alive and kicking and — though you have seen that gravity-defying cool for donkey’s years now — you don’t mind watching him go all over again. He’s a bit like apna Rajnikant — gone past 50, behaving 25, yet pulling it off with rockstar finish. Two out of that two-and-half star rating’s just for Jackie Chan.
Onto the film (and before anything, I’m a fan of the first two Rush Hour films). The problem is by now director Brett Ratner probably makes Rush Hour films in his sleep (he directed the first two, too). He knows the drill — it’s a question of mounting the formula in a bigger production, in a sexier city. So, after romancing LA’s mean streets in the first and the Hong Kong hungama in the second, Rush Hour 3 takes you to Paris via LA.
It comes six years after Rush Hour 2, and the long layoff is the best thing going for 3. The series has obviously gone past its expiry hour and this very filmy buddy cop routine is getting a bit tiresome now — particularly Chan’s co-star of the franchise, Chris Tucker.
Sure, Tucker’s living testimony to verbal diarrhoea — LA cop James Carter — was meant to be irritating. Over two films, it was funny-irritating at least. In Rush Hour 3 it’s just plain irritating. Tucker clearly can’t do anything else but pull irksome faces while blabbering politically incorrect lines. No wonder his CV of the past decade flaunts just three films (no prizes for guessing which three).
In a line, the plot: detectives Lee (Chan) and Carter travel to Paris this time, to track down a Chinese mafia gang that has shot a diplomat in LA. The regular menu of Chan-chops and Tucker-tripe gets smart casting garnish: the prop cast of Max von Sidow and Hiroyuki Sanada (as gang lord Kenji) works well. And here’s an interesting one — watch out for ace filmmaker Roman Polanski as crazy French cop Revi. If only Ratner revealed similar eccentric gall while deciding the script itself...