Saturday, August 11, 2007

Struck in slow lane

Rush Hour 3

Directed by: Brett Ratner
Starring: Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Vinnie Jones, Hiroyuki Sanada, Noémie Lenoir, Max von Sydow

There’s a standard practice in the comic book industry. When a particular comic book character or an adventure becomes popular, they release other shorter, stand alone episodes, not full-length adventures, but something to keep the fans entertained. The new Brett Ratner sequel to Rush Hour (1998) and Rush Hour 2 (2001) falls into this category. You can’t compare this one with the earlier two movies. This is just a reminder of how entertaining the previous two films were, and coming after a gap of six years, that’s saying a lot.
Oh, those good ol’ days! (This reviewer remembers standing in a queue for two hours in front of Vijay Talkies in 1999. Now, they don’t even show English films there anymore!) The world has changed. But not the characters of Chan and Tucker. One is still playing the sincere cop in his own funny way and other is still enjoying his speech qualities without realising how crude he sounds. Ladies and gentlemen, presenting Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker and Inspector Lee and detective James Carter, two matured men behaving like two adolescents with extra-hormone and getting away with it.
The scene is Paris, Eiffel Tower included where the climatic actions occur where Lee and Carter get embroiled into a Chinese underworld gang, which according to one character, is the largest criminal organisation in the world. (And you are made to believe that there’s one Chinese to every Frenchman in Paris, not bad!) Yeah, cool. Now you expect some trademark action. And boy, you are disappointed. This time around what you see are the highlights of the first two movies (remember the flag that saved Chan’s life in the first film. It makes an appearance again, this time as a makeshift parasuit). For a 53 year old, Chan is still flexible and agile, but there are no more new tricks up in the old man’s sleeves. Tucker’s pick up lines elicit laughter, agreed. But they are boisterous, crude, over-the-top in a very adolescent short of way.
On the brighter side, you get to see the bustling streets of Paris. But the screenplay is not exactly a cracker that will force you to sit up and take notice. But you do sit up and take notice when Roman Polanski and Max von Sydow make their appearance in two inconsequential cameos. Why on earth, you ask. Polanski should stick to his place behind the camera. And, does Von Sydow miss Ingmar Bergman, who died last week? We guess, he surely does. But pray, this is no place for him to continue acting.
What’s left? Did we mention the story? Never mind if we did not. You know it already, if you have seen the first two films.
After suffering and surviving so many ‘threequels’ last few months, you come to a logical conclusion that sequels are usually pathetic. And when it comes to the third one, please, please exercise caution and don’t rush into things. Hey, why there’s no rush out here?

Rating **

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