out of Five
Running time: 90
Disappointing threequel that lacks the spark of the previous two films and resorts to grafting dreadful jokes and lacklustre action sequences onto a nonsensical plot.
What's it all about?
When Ambassador Han (Tzi Ma) is assassinated before he can reveal evidence against the Triads, Detectives Lee (Jackie Chan) and Carter (Chris Tucker) head to Paris, in order to foil a global conspiracy. Along the way, they encounter a body-search-happy French cop (Roman Polanski), a deadly knife-wielding assassin (Youki Kudoh), an American-bashing cab driver (Yvan Attal) and a beautiful woman who may hold the key to the mystery (Noemie Lenoir).
The fight scenes themselves are nicely handled but they're devalued by the intelligence-insulting plot. Similarly, the filmmakers' attempts to inject emotional depth by giving Chan's character a brother who's turned to the dark side (Hiroyuki Sanada) fall horribly flat.
The best bits come during the out-takes at the end, notably during one particularly painful-looking moment when Chan smacks himself in the face with a chair.
No one could ever accuse the Rush Hour franchise of being highbrow entertainment, but even judged against the previous two instalments, this is a shocking disappointment. The dialogue is appalling, the jokes aren't funny and the plot takes suspension of disbelief to ridiculous new heights. At one point you're expected to believe that the villain and his captive show up immediately after Lee and Carter have randomly parachuted into the area.
It doesn't help that Chan is obviously getting too old to handle all his action sequences (body doubles are clearly visible on several occasions) and that Tucker's shrill persona is even more annoying than it was last time around. In addition, some supposedly funny sequences, like Carter forcing Attal's cab driver to sing the National Anthem at gunpoint, are actually deeply offensive.
A pretty poor effort all round. Let's hope this is the last instalment because it really feels as if everyone involved in the franchise has just stopped caring.
Rush Hour 3 (12A)