review for Rush Hour 3 on AllMovie

Rush Hour 3 (2007)
by Jeremy Wheeler review

With their gas tank of gags running on fumes and big paydays held high over their heads, the triumvirate of Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, and Brett Ratner officially hit the wall on Rush Hour 3. To be fair, it's not as if the series was a hoot to begin with, but the first two films presented a certain kind of breezy buddy-film fun that non-choosy audiences tend to eat up. Now here's Part 3, and what do you know -- it's the same schtick all over again. Tucker, once a fresh comedic talent hot on the scene, smells as old as two-week-old turkey in the film. Most often substituting crooning for comedic flair, the actor reaches hard for every laugh, but ends up empty nearly every time. Chan is another sad case, a true talent who must be officially considered a senior citizen by Hollywood terms, since he's allowed to do little to no fighting throughout the picture outside of his usual chair and coat tricks. Thus, this once-action comedy series now turns into an exercise in rudimentary silliness as the team rehashes all of the same jokey material as before, but this time with an amped up jingoistic skew. Of course, the Americans in France storyline sets this up from the get-go, though Tucker putting a gun to a Parisian cabby's head and making him sing the "Star Spangled Banner" lifts this sucker up into a whole other uncomfortable category.

Ratner himself seems to have no filter for the funny business -- which in this case, is not a good thing. He lets his two stars humiliate themselves throughout the picture, all the while adding in his own fetishistic touches to the proceedings -- the best of which is a sexy and stylish song-and-dance number set to Serge Gainsbourg's "Bonnie & Clyde." Not surprisingly, the artful choreography is ruined by another song number, this time an embarrassing duet between Tucker and Jackie that finds the latter brandishing his bravado on top of a frilly swing above the nightclub's crowd. Audacity-wise, the flick's got guts -- fearlessly riding one lame bit after another as it races to yet another preposterous getaway ending, after which, the two leads once again go dancing into the credits -- forever reminding audiences of the better times that were had before, even if they weren't so hot the first two times around.