Rush Hour 3
Even Jackie Chan Gets Older

Yet another installment of the Chief Inspector Lee and Detective Carter franchise has hit the theaters. For the enlightened fans of this series there will be much rejoicing. For those like me, it will just be great fun. There is nothing too deep in this filmjust a fun time with a movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The beginning is a good mix of tension and comedy; but after the first 15 minutes, I just sat back to enjoy the show. There are some clever lines and equally clever chase scenes. Probably the only distraction I noticed was that Jackie Chan is no longer lightning-fast: careful editing had to be employed in order to give Chan the hope of even surviving his fights. But that is not a real problem. The fact that Detective Carter is even still on the force suspends belief enough to allow the rest of the film to follow.

The movie is a bit slow, paralleling Chan’s aging body. Rush Hour 3 shuffles along like I imagine Carter and Chan will in Rush Hour 4. Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan appear to be great friends, and in that respect this vehicle is probably not unlike the venerable Hope/Crosby Road Pictures. Perhaps a comparison with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis would be more appropriate.

Jackie Chan as Lee in Rush Hour 3Anyway, leaving that little diversion behind, Rush Hour 3 shares some components with both of these predecessors: it is high in camp, low in suspense, and filled with wisecracks and private jokes. Despite the enjoyable chemistry between the two main stars, my favorite character is Paris cabby George, played by Yvan Attal. He is a hoot and a scene-stealer.

Now to the part that I found most enjoyable: I sat in this movie amidst a group of friends who had “scored” free passes to this movie. They were mostly African American and whatever you or I may think of this movie, my little group had a great time. This crowd at the theatre absolutely loved the film. Chris Tucker’s jokes and racial stereotypes drew great guffaws and nods of agreement and approval. It was quite refreshing in a sort of politically incorrect way. It was a little discomfiting to hear Tucker’s character shout so loudly many things that polite society doesn’t say. And yet it was simultaneously hilarious to observe how unequivocally the movie crowd loved and approved of it. As Tucker’s lines became more and more “offensive” the public in the theatre ate them up.

The film demonstrates that there is something really refreshing about deconstructing our society’s political correctness. In any given conversation, we agree that some things just aren’t said. But in Rush Hour 3, our inside-the-box social realities can be totally disregarded—and not only disregarded, but completely thrown aside—without repercussion. I think what makes this type of humor so effective and fun is that it exposes where so much social constraint really comes from: those who may be imposing their own preferences and ingrained racism, or worse, presumptions of the veracity of the very stereotypes themselves. Whether Society’s Thought Police are correct or not, we (generally) believe them and therefore feel it is their duty to stop the offenses of the vulgar caste.

Actually, though, picking at our human foibles and traits may simply endear us to each other. We can truly rejoice in one another’s humanity and individuality. At least that is what our Rush Hour 3 Petri dish reveals.

Rush Hour 3 is rated PG-13 for “sequences of action violence, sexual content, nudity and language.” This is a serious PG-13, and not to be taken lightly. If you’re familiar with Chris Tucker or director Brett Ratner, you won’t be surprised. If this is your first time out, you have been warned.

Courtesy of a local publicist, Mike attended a promotional screening of Rush Hour 3.