Should movies make money, then the Hollywood rule of thumb is to make another, and another, until the franchise runs out of steam. The original Rush Hour was a Jackie Chan vehicle of sorts to break into Hollywood, and it made a lot of money with the mis-pairing opposite Chris Tucker in a buddy cop movie formula filled with action and comedy. Rush Hour 2 was made 3 years later and made even more money, but it took 6 years for the second sequel to be made, and 9 years for the entire trilogy to be done (pray tell, will there be another sequel?)
Is the franchise tired? Probably, yet probably not. Face it, it's Jackie Chan, and most of his films (with the exception of missteps such as Around the World in 80 Days) make Hollywood studios smile. You can rely on him to deliver the goods in any action comedy, but age unfortunately has caught up with him, not to mention as well the safer-than-safe minimal risks that studios in the West tend to take with its stars. The action sequences in Rush Hour 3 look a bit tired, tame, and very uninspiring, and what Jackie Chan can probably still do, has been whittled down to sequences that are just a pale shadow of what could have been.
Which leaves us with the comedy, thankfully still having its moments especially for those punchlines which deliver. Tucker again gets most of the snarky lines, and a target for those politically incorrect jokes, while dishing some of his own. If there's any hint of rudimentary character development after these years, is that his James Carter, besides having been relegated to traffic duties, managed to "half-chinese" himself, and no longer is that helpless cop who without his gun, can't kick a ball for nuts.
The plot is no rocket science, and in fact, the previous two movies just had something which could coast along from scene to scene, providing a platform either to get our heroes Lee (Chan) and his brother-from-another-mother James (Tucker) into fisticuffs, or provide something for laughs. The first had a kidnapping of a Chinese Consul's daughter which the duo had to investigate in the US, while the second brought them to Hong Kong on the trail of a counterfeiting scam. The third pits the detectives against Triads, and brings us full circle with the return of that little girl in the original movie, who's now all grown up, played by Chinese starlet Zhang Jingchu.
Zhang Jingchu follows in the footsteps of fellow compatriot Zhang Ziyi who starred in the previous sequel. But unlike Ziyi, Jingchu's role is sans martial arts, despite her character being a kungfu instructor. It's unfortunately a purely flower vase role, though she looks more fleshed and healthier than her druggy role in Protege. Yvan Attal's supporting role as a French cab driver is actually more of a scene stealer - listen out for those jibes at America, though it's a little of a cop out how that eventually plays out. Some of the more totally insane moments involve those deliberate lost in translation moments, which are the more enjoyable moments in this movie.
Rush Hour 3 is similar in structure with its predecessors, and it does seem a tad familiar at times in the way the story gets developed, with only a change in locale, now set in Paris. It's basically an attempt to reunite the two stars in order to make another dent in the box office, so though they're back, this movie can't be taken all too seriously. It plays out like a cartoon for adults, though the local distributor decided to edit portions of the French revue scene to obtain a rating that everyone can go to.
If anything, stay behind for the outtakes, which triumphs over the main offering, hands down.
war hu yeah what is it good for absolutely nothin.
war hu yeah what is it good for absolutely nothin say it again y'all.
war hu good god what is it good for absolutely nothin listen to me
war I despise cause it means destruction of innocent lives
war brings tears to thousands of mothers eyes
when their sons go to fight and lose their lives.
I said war hu good god y'all what is it good for absolutely nothin say it again
war hu oh oh oh lord what is it good for absolutely nothin
listen to me war it aint nothin but a heart breaker
war friend only to the undertaker oh war
is an enemy to all mankind the thought of war blows my mind
war has caused unrest within the younger generation induction then destruction
who wants to die
oh war good god (background hu) y'all what is it good for absolutely nothin
say it say it say it
war hu what is it good for absolutely nothin listen to me
war it aint nothin but a heart breaker
war it's got one friend thats the undertaker oh
war many young mans dreams made him disabled
bitter and mean life is much too short and precious to spend fighting wars
these days war cant give life it can only take it away oh
war hu good god y'all what is it good for absolutely nothin
say it again
war hu woah oh oh oh lord what is it good for absolutely nothin listen to me
war it aint nothin but a heart breaker war friend only to the undertaker
peace love and understand
tell me is there no place for the other day
they say we must fight to keep our freedom
but lord knows theres got to be better way oh
war (background good god yall) hu what is it good for do tell yes
say it say it say it war hu (background good god y'all)
what is good for stand up and shout it nothin