Good news! Rush Hour 3 isn’t nearly as pointless and dimwitted as Rush Hour 2! And that, my friends, is called damning with faint praise. And trust me, the praise will be faint indeed.
In RH 1, they were in LA! In RH 2, they were in Hong Kong. Now, running out of plausible locales, the misfit duo of Carter (Chris Tucker) and Lee (Jackie Chan) find themselves in Paris. Why Paris? Because it’s pretty and has great scenery, so a chase scene through its streets will look marvy. Oh, and something about a big important conference is taking place there.
After Chinese Ambassador Han is attacked, Carter and Lee must again confront the legendrarily elusive Triads and protect a French woman who has knowledge about the Triads’ leaders. Oh, and the ambassador’s hot daughter’s been kidnapped, too, although she’s now a grown woman. (Little pun there.)
The movie works in part because Tucker isn’t allowed to be nearly as obnoxious and unwatchable as he was in the second movie; he’s reigned in just enough. Oh, don’t get me wrong, he’s still needlessly crass, but it seems he talks less often. Flapping those gums only leads to madness, I tell you. But this time, there’s much more emphasis on action: chase scenes, hand-to-hand combat, and so on. Me likey the fighty. Me no likey the talky, especially when it’s Mr. Nails on a Chalkboard himself.
Another debit is the movie’s predictability. Really, if you can’t figure out who the stealth bad guy is – that’d be the guy who you’re supposed to think is good but then turns out to be bad – right near the beginning of the movie, well. You should watch more (and better) movies, that’s all I’m saying.
Helpful, though, is the supporting cast. Max von Sydow as a French minister? (I guess they figure he can play any “ethnic” role.) Yvan Attal as the bestest sidekick ever, George? Noémie Lenoir as the French chanteuse? All awesome. They help inch this puppy up to, say, tolerable. Rather than dreckish.