Sunday, July 13, 2014

Rush Hour 3 (2007) Review:

Rush Hour (1998) and Rush Hour 2 (2001) both proved to be extremely successful with Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan matching up to stop major crime bosses. Then its third installment in the franchise slowed,... going into a dormant sleep. Almost paralleling its release dates to that of The Mummy (1999) series, Rush Hour 3 (2007) was released a little over half a decade later. And no doubt did it perform well no matter what critic disliked it. To be honest though, this is still a very entertaining sequel. However, it's also becoming apparent that this duo's story is starting to repeat itself.

Past vs Present
Rush Hour (1998) took place in America, Rush Hour 2 (2001) took place in Hong Kong. Now, our heroes end up traveling to Paris France, not for a vacation though. This time, Lee's (Jackie Chan) past comes back to haunt him, when a childhood friend, Kenji (Hiroyuki Sanada) kidnaps Soo Young, the girl he and Carter (Chris Tucker) rescued from the original film as ransom for something important in return. The thing to be returned to Kenji isn't explicitly described until halfway through the film and by that particular time, it doesn't feel as clearly put as it should. Jeff Nathanson's screenplay does work but everything pertaining to the plot feels skimmed over to the point of just having our cop duo perform action sequences.

That's not to say that the action sequences don't entertain though. Who doesn't enjoy sword fights, hand-to-hand combat and gunshots? It's a mix of all three types of violence. Still, even with it being the third entry, the action is still energetic and comical at points too. Nathanson's script preserved the funny dialog that made the last two funny for this as well. It is strange though because sometimes it feels like some gags were repeated. For example, when Tucker's character mistakes an Asian man's name between "Yu" and "You". Wasn't that done already? Nonetheless, it is funny but recycling also means that the fresh and creative ideas are beginning to fade, like its plot.

Thankfully, Nathanson introduced a minor new character that helped make interactions funny and that was the cab driver George (Yvan Attal). Although at first, I'm not sure if his dialog was supposed to represent a certain group or just being crass, but over time he does have his moments. It's also strange because it felt like Carter and Lee and even George could get away with even more chaos and trouble than usual than having to face the authorities. Are they that untouchable? Also, story line wise, the ending felt too soon. It did end with closure but only for its main characters and nobody else. Ummm for a trilogy, shouldn't it be tied up a little neater than this?

Didn't see that coming
The cinematography by J. Michael Muro looked good. Considering that it took place mainly in Paris (at least the real shots), it looked good. Seeing a European city is always a different viewing experience. Instead of always seeing tar, now there's stone roads and other types of street terrain that normally Americans don't drive by. Veteran composer Lalo Schifrin's score works at being as frantic as the action scenes are and replicate the correct emotion being portrayed on screen. You would think though after two other successful installments, he would've come up with some type of main theme by now. A way of making memorable characters even more memorable is by giving them a catchy theme. With all this, it is still good fun though.

It's plot just feels like a reason to see Carter and Lee again, but then again who wouldn't? Rush Hour 3 feels recycled but it still is fun to watch.

Points Earned --> 7:10

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