Rush Hour was a pretty good movie. It highlighted fast-paced action and often witty racial comedy. For that reason, it spawned a sequel, the fairly disappointing Rush Hour 2. Amid a summer of blockbuster trilogy finales, Rush Hour 3 was squeezed out, a bit under-the-radar. After seeing Rush Hour 3 today at Eton Square Cinema, I can say that it was way too rushed. It was not a very good movie.
The premise of all the Rush Hour movies is something like this: an Asian cop (and martial arts master) teams up with a jive-talking African-American cop and together they try to tell jokes and fight crime. It worked fairly well in the first movie. It was getting pretty dull in the second movie. In the third, the series is definitely at the end of its rope. Instead of being a high-octane action-comedy where each element is exploited to the max, it was like the movie’s stunts and jokes were puttering along on a broken-down scooter. It was not in any way a rush.
The thing is, I’m a big fan of Jackie Chan. It’s not for his acting; I don’t think he’ll ever win an award for that. I’m used to cheesy plots and slapstick humor filling in for a few minutes between action scenes that highlight big explosions, creative stunt-work, and often death-defying acrobatics. But Jackie Chan’s getting old and most of his movies for the last 5 years have made that really obvious. You won’t find much creative stunt-work or death-defying acrobatics here, though they seem to have squeezed in a few minutes where they could. Rush Hour 3 only even had one explosion (something that’s not dependent on the abilities of the main characters) and it was a pretty minor one at that. That’s how almost all of the action in the movie felt: minor. It wasn’t heart-pounding and it certainly didn’t elicit any ooh’s and ah’s.
But the action only took up about ¼ of Rush Hour 3. That should be a relief. However, the other ¾ of the movie was filled with Chris Tucker’s remaining jokes. There apparently weren’t too many left over from the other two movies and they’re not very good. Only a few of his jokes seemed somewhat creative and elicited a laugh, but they were far too few. Apparently, they were trying to make them as funny as the first movie by making them mostly about the same subject matter. They just came across as old and contrived.
Most of the time I felt like I was sitting through an attempted movie. Rush Hour 3 attempted several action scenes, few of them succeeded. They attempted lots and lots of jokes, few of them were funny. They attempted a creative international-crime plot, it barely came through. The movie wasn’t horrible. But it wasn’t good either and it’s certainly not what I’d call a success. There are plenty of other movies in the action-comedy genre that should be able to satisfy you without having to see this one.
If you’re really nostalgic for a bit of racially-fueled action comedy, then by all means, re-watch the first Rush Hour. But don’t waste your time by rushing out to see the third one. I give it a thumb’s down.