There's a scene near the end of Rush Hour 3 that pretty much sums up how the entire film plays out. Inspector Lee (the indefatigable Jackie Chan) is fending off a few thugs while Detective Carter (the wearisome Chris Tucker) runs his mouth, shouting encouragement wrapped in criticism cloaked in a veneer of pop culture savvy. It feels awfully tired, and indeed, Rush Hour 3 never coheres, failing to spark and show any signs of life that were apparent in the first two Rush Hour films. I believe the technical term for this is "Showing up to collect your check."
No one, except maybe the heads of New Line Cinema, were clamoring for another sequel to the surprise hit, so why did director Brett Ratner, screenwriter Jeff Nathanson and stars Tucker and Chan feel compelled to make one six years after the last installment? There's certainly no reason for the film to exist other than filthy lucre -- the plot barely hangs together, the high-wattage guest stars (Roman Polanski, Max von Sydow) don't seem as if they're all in the same movie and even Tucker and Chan seem bored by the whole enterprise.
The narrative, such as it is, revolves around the mysterious Shy Shen, a list kept by the murderous Triad gangs that details who is involved with the outfit. After the Chinese ambassador is wounded in an attempt to locate Shy Shen, Carter and Lee follow the case to Paris, where they meet up with an overzealous local cop, a mysterious woman and plenty of vengeful Triad henchmen. Aside from a truly dazzling denouement atop, inside and outside the Eiffel Tower, there's very little in the way of captivating moviegoing to be found here ... well, aside from Tucker's penchant for the occasional one-liner.
Rush Hour 3 was the kind of flick I forgot almost as soon as the credits began to roll -- there's quite literally nothing there. If the actors involved could've mustered up a bit of enthusiasm, rather than going through the motions, a little bit of fun could've been had. Not that the previous Rush Hour films were high art, but they were high energy. Here, you just wait for this 80-minute (pre-credits) bid for box office dollars -- a relative failure, incidentally, (the film, which cost around $140 million to make, has only grossed $139 million as of early November) to limp to its conclusion.
Say what you will about the relative quality of the film but it looks gorgeous in this 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Colors are vivid, the detail is spot-on and overall, it looks like a million bucks. If there were any defects, I couldn't see them. An exquisite, near reference-quality image.
Armed with a DTS-ES 6.1 track and a Dolby Digital 5.1-EX track, Rush Hour 3 comes to play and play hard on the aural end of things. Plenty of gunfire, explosions and immersive surround activity will keep your home theater speakers hopping throughout, all the while making sure every quip and hostile exchange is heard without distortion or drop-out. Optional English and Spanish subtitles are also included.
Even the packaging is a bit of a bonus here: The dual-disc keepcase is housed in a lenticular slipcover featuring Tucker and Chan. On the first disc, aside from the film, director Ratner and writer Nathanson contribute a self-congratulatory, slightly smarmy commentary track and the film's theatrical trailer is included. The second disc houses the meat of the supplements: Two minutes, 32 seconds of outtakes (presented in anamorphic widescreen); seven deleted/alternate scenes (presented in anamorphic widescreen with optional Ratner/Nathanson commentary) playable separately or all together for an aggregate of seven minutes, 15 seconds; the extensive, five-part documentary "Making Rush Hour 3" (presented in anamorphic widescreen; playable separately or all together for an aggregate of one hour, 27 minutes); the "Le Rush Hour Trois" production diary, a collection of 25 featurettes playable separately or all together for an aggregate of one hour, five minutes (presented in anamorphic widescreen) with a 30-second Easter egg -- tucked away under the heading "Visual Effects Reel" -- that re-imagines Rush Hour 3's climactic duel with light sabers. DVD-ROM content is also included.
Rush Hour 3 never coheres, failing to spark and show any signs of life that were apparent in the first two Rush Hour films. I believe the technical term for this is "Showing up to collect your check." Rush Hour 3 was the kind of flick I forgot almost as soon as the credits began to roll -- there's quite literally nothing there. If the actors involved could've mustered up a bit of enthusiasm, rather than going through the motions, a little bit of fun could've been had. Not that the previous Rush Hour films were high art, but they were high energy. See it for the Eiffel Tower finale and the few funny Tucker one-liners. Rent it.