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Brett Ratner
Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Hiroyuki Sanada, Youki Kudoh, Max von Sydow, Yvan Attal, Noémie Lenoir, Jingchu Zhang, Tzi Ma, Roman Polanski, Henry O
Writing Credits:
Ross LaManna (characters), Jeff Nathanson

They're rushing through the hours quick.

Chris Tucker returns to the big screen after a six-year absence as he reunites with the all-star team of co-star Jackie Chan, director Brett Ratner, and screenwriter, Jeff Nathanson (Rush Hour 2, Catch Me if You Can) to deliver the third installment of the blockbuster Rush Hour franchise. Rush Hour 3 sees the beloved action comedy duo of Tucker and Chan reprising their roles as LAPD Detective James Carter and Chinese Chief Inspector Lee respectively. This time around, the two must travel to Paris to battle a wing of the Chinese organized crime family, the Triads.

Box Office:
$140 million.
Opening Weekend
$49.100 million on 3778 screens.
Domestic Gross
$139.885 million.

Rated PG-13

Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
English Dolby Digital EX 5.1
English DTS 6.1 ES
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 90 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 12/23/07

DVD One:
• Audio Commentary with Director Brett Ratner and Writer Jeff Nathanson
• Theatrical Trailer
• Sneak Peeks
DVD Two:
• Outtake Reel
• Deleted Scenes with Optional Director’s Commentary
• Visual Effects Reel
• “Making Rush Hour 3” Documentary
• “Le Rush Hour Trois” Production Diary


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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Rush Hour 3: Platinum Series (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 14, 2007)

After a six-year absence, the Rush Hour franchise returned in 2007. Did anyone care? Yeah, but not as many people as one might expect. After a $141 million gross for the first flick and a spectacular $226 million take for its 2001 sequel, 2007’s Rush Hour 3 ended up with $139 million. That’s not a bad total, but given high expectations for a resurgence in the series, it disappointed and made the chances of Rush Hour 4 seem slim.

Rush 3 picks up in LA with our old buddies Detective Carter (Chris Tucker) and Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan). An event a few years earlier strained their friendship, and Carter also finds himself stuck on traffic duty. In the meantime, Lee acts as bodyguard to Chinese Ambassador Han (Tzi Ma), the official charged by World Criminal Court Minister Reynard (Max Von Sydow) with the fight against the notorious Triad gang organization.

Lee’s assignment doesn’t go well, as during a speech, someone shoots Han. Lee gives chase and discovers that the assailant is Kenji (Hiroyuki Sanada), a figure from his past. Their history means that Lee feels unable to harm Kenji, so the would-be assassin escapes.

Carter and Lee want the assignment to go after him, but LAPD Captain Diel (Philip Baker Hall) won’t let them near that job. Instead, they get to watch after Han’s daughter Soo Yung (Zhang Jingchu), the little girl from the first flick who’s now an adult. Her dad sent her a package for her protection, so Lee and Carter get involved with its secrets as they inevitably relate to the Triads. Someone beats them to it, so the guys head off to locate it, discover the secret of Shy Shen, and solve the case. This leads them to Paris and all sorts of shenanigans.

Whatever charms the Tucker/Chan pairing once boasted pretty much evaporated during the bombastic Rush 2. Their six-year break didn’t help reinvigorate their chemistry or the franchise. Indeed, Rush 3 feels like it’s still 1998, as it uses virtually the same kinds of “culture clash” gags from beginning to end.

Rush 3 offers a serious case of déjà vu. The various story threads all seem familiar, and the humor does virtually nothing to alter the formula from the first two flicks. I guess that makes sense from the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” category; given the success of those movies, why change things?

Because those methods make Rush 3 feel dated and stale. At times you might think they shot this flick back in 2001 and kept it in the can since then, though Tucker’s moderate girth belies that notion; he now looks more and more like Ice Cube.

Other than Tucker’s expanding waistline, though, there’s virtually nothing to allow us to differentiate between this flick and its predecessors. The plot seems reminiscent of the first movie, as Soo Yung gets kidnapped again and Asian gangs come into the mix. I wouldn’t call it a true remake, but the plot similarities seem too close for comfort.

Usually the story exists for little reason beyond the delivery of jokes, though. Remarkably, during his commentary, director Brett Ratner extends the claim that the movie’s gags are organic and stem from the plot. Did he see the same flick I watched? In my opinion, the attempts at comedy fuel the tale, which is a backward way to do things. I get the feeling the filmmakers came up with a lot of gags and plot fragments and then attempted to construct a narrative around them.

Take the choice of locale, for example. Does anyone really believe there’s any reason for the film to spend so much time in Paris other than as a new setting for our heroes? They did LA and they did Hong Kong, so they needed someplace new. With its many iconic spots, Paris opens up various possibilities, virtually none of which have anything to do with logical storytelling. The film puts the cart in front of the horse too much of the time.

Perhaps this wouldn’t matter if more of the comedy worked. Oh, Rush 3 gets in a few laughs, which seems inevitable. I think Tucker still has talent, and he throws out enough goofy cracks that at least a handful have to stick.

Unfortunately, too much of the comedy seems stale and brings little zest to the flick. The absolute nadir comes from the miserable scene at the martial arts studio. Not only does this pit our heroes against some little kids – always a bad sign – but also it attempts the 10-millionth variation on Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s On First” routine. Frankly, I never thought the original bit was all that funny, so a version with Asian names isn’t any better. In fact, it’s painful.

It’s also a bad sign when a movie gives us a cheap gag about a woman with a big butt and we’re still in its first three minutes. Rush Hour 3 isn’t a terrible film, but it veers much closer to “bad” than to “good”. It rarely makes sense and the comedy doesn’t amuse well enough to allow us to ignore its problems. After six years, was this really the best they could do?

The DVD Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus A-

Rush Hour 3 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Though usually quite attractive, the transfer suffered from a few distractions.

Particularly during its first third or so, softness could be a minor issue. A few shots such as those at the martial arts studio tended to look a little ill-defined. However, the majority of the flick seemed concise and sharp, and it improved as it progressed. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, but some mild edge enhancement interfered at times. I noticed no source flaws.

Colors usually appeared strong. A few scenes like those at the Follies appeared a bit dense, but most of the time I thought the hues were lively and dynamic. Blacks were reasonably dark and dense, but I thought contrast seemed off at times, as the movie could seem a little too bright. Shadows suffered due to that, since they weren’t as natural as I’d like. Still, despite these minor issues, the movie looked good enough for a “B”.

As was the case with Rush 2, Rush Hour 3 came with both Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and DTS 6.1 ES soundtracks. As was also the case with the prior flick, I noticed virtually no differences between the two mixes. I thought they sounded identical.

Another echo from Rush 2 came from the soundfields, as they seemed competent but not as involving as one might expect. Music received the most attention, as the score spread to all five channels in a satisfying manner. Effects were a less involving element, though – at least in terms of our expectations for a big action flick like this. The various channels provided a good sense of ambience but didn’t present the life I’d anticipate. They broadened matters to a decent degree but weren’t particularly active or engrossing. This left the soundfields as satisfactory but not memorable.

Audio quality was fine. I thought music could sound a little dense, as the score seemed a little compressed, but that side of things ras reasonably vivid. Effects were clear and concise, and they featured good bass when appropriate. Speech also sounded natural and distinctive. No edginess or other problems interfered with the dialogue. As with the picture, the audio seemed good enough for a “B” but never really excelled.

In terms of extras, DVD One includes an audio commentary with director Brett Ratner and writer Jeff Nathanson. They provide a running, screen-specific chat. The track looks cast, characters and performances, challenges involved in the third chapter of the series, influences and inspirations, sets and locations, the film’s tone, story and the approach to the material, stunts, music, visual effects, and a few other areas.

If you’ve listened to prior Rush Hour commentaries, you’ll know what to expect here. The chatty Ratner dominates, which is usually a good thing, though his propensity to praise everything he sees gets tedious. Nonetheless, he also includes a lot of good information and helps flesh out our knowledge of the production. Nathanson throws in some useful notes as well, but this is Ratner’s baby, and he makes it a reasonably interesting and enjoyable session.

A few ads start DVD One. We get promos for Be Kind Rewind, Blade: House of Chthon, and Ocean’s Thirteen. In addition, these appear in the Sneak Peeks area, and we also get the theatrical trailer for Rush 3.

Over on DVD Two, we open with Outtakes. This two-minute and 33-second reel gives us the same kinds of goof-ups found during the end credits. I’m happy it doesn’t just repeat the same clips, but that doesn’t make these particularly funny.

Seven Alternate/Deleted Scenes run a total of seven minutes, 16 seconds. These include “Extended Airplane” (1:34), “Extended Taxi” (0:58), “Extended Elevator” (1:02), “Hotel Hallway” (0:40), “Spotlight Guy: Follies” (0:36), “Extended Eiffel Tower” (1:02) and “Alternate Ending” (1:22). Most of these give us pretty insubstantial additions to existing scenes, so they don’t contribute much. At least “Hallway” clears up some plot holes, and the “Alternate Ending” allows a prominent character from the second flick to return.

We can watch these with or without commentary from Ratner and writer Jeff Nathanson. They give us some insights into the shooting of the scenes and also let us know why they cut them from the final film. The remarks prove useful.

A documentary called Making Rush Hour 3 lasts one hour, 27 minutes and 56 seconds. It mixes movie clips, shots from the set, and remarks from Ratner, Nathanson, producers Arthur Sarkissian, Jay Stern, Roger Birnbaum, Jonathan Glickman and Andrew Z. Davis, production designer Edward Verreaux, costume designer Betsy Heimann, director of photography J. Michael Munro, 2nd unit director/stunt coordinator Conrad Palmisano, US stunt coordinator Eddie Braun, special effects supervisor Clay Pinney, visual effects supervisor John Bruno, choreographer Marguerite Derricks, editors Mark Helfrich and Don and Dean Zimmerman, sound designer/sound re-recording mixer Tim Chau, composer Lalo Schifrin and actors Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Roman Polanski, Yvan Attal, Julie Depardieu, Noemie Lenoir, Youki Kudoh, Hiroyuki Sanada, Zhang Jingchu, Sun Ming Ming and Tzi Ma.

“Making” looks at the development of the story and staying true to the Rush Hour series, cast and performances, sets and locations, costumes, cinematography, stunts and various effects, shooting the action sequences, music and choreography, editing and audio, and a few other production elements.

The first 35 minutes or so of “Making” offer fairly superficial thoughts about the film. They include some basics but these come with a lot of praise and fluff, so they can be tedious at times.

Once we get 35 minutes into it, though, matters improve as we get a “scene by scene” take on the flick. That side of things fills about 38 minutes and gives us plenty of good looks at the set. We learn a lot about the production via these shots and various comments, so they help make the show more involving. Some happy talk still emerges, but at least we learn a lot along the way.

Next comes a two-minute and two-second Visual Effects Reel. It shows elements like digital doubles for actors, 3D models of sets, and comparisons between rough effects and the finished product. It provides a quick but interesting view of these pieces.

Finally, ”Le Rush Hour Trois” Production Diary goes for one hour, five minutes and two seconds. This divides into sghkjdsagd different segments that all provide “fly on the wall” glimpses of the shoot. I like this kind of material, and we get plenty of fun takes here. There’s nothing remarkable but it’s enjoyable to feel like we’re there on the set.

After six years, the Rush Hour franchise returned with a thud. Rush Hour 3 did passable business but seemed to disappoint on all levels. Anyone who expects great comedy or action from this messy affair probably won’t go home satisfied. The DVD presents generally positive picture and audio as well as a very nice roster of extras. I can’t complain about this good DVD, but the movie itself is fairly forgettable.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.125 Stars Number of Votes: 8
2 3:
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