Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan) and detective Carter (Chris Tucker) are back to their mismatched shtick as they travel to Paris in hopes of finding a secret list of notorious criminals.
Big question: Can "Rush Hour 3" hold the interest of its existing fans and supply some entertainment for those who just wonder why Tucker hasn't made a non-"Rush Hour" movie in 10 years?
Skip it: "Rush Hour 3" finds humor in Carter's insistence that Iranian scientists at UCLA are terrorists and his forcing a "smelly" French cabdriver--who later reveals he longs to be an American--to sing the Star Spangled Banner at gunpoint. The detective is just an ugly American posing as a hero, and there's not a laugh on this entire hate-driven highway, which only goes from terrible to bad when the stunts do the talking.
Catch it: Abbott and Costello fans may or may not like Carter's "Who's on first?"-style routine in which he's confused by Chinese men named Mi (Me) and Yu (You). He also threatens to wrap them up like a California roll, and why take the time to differentiate between Chinese and Japanese cuisine when the material is this hilarious?
Bottom line: Chan's English still isn't good enough to achieve any comic timing, and Tucker must not need to be funny since the loudmouth can take his $25 million payday and laugh all the way to the bank. If the rest of the world sees "Rush Hour 3," consider America's reputation totaled.
Bonus: More tolerant wisdom from the movie: After Carter hears a Chinese man speaking French, he quips, "You're Asian! Stop humiliating yourself!" Later, Chan orders fried chicken as a way of relating to his partner. Tucker also scores two women for himself and his partner but informs Lee, "The fat one's yours."
Matt Pais is the metromix movies producer.
'Rush Hour 3'
Directed by Brett Ratner; screenplay by Jeff Nathanson with characters by Ross LaManna; photographed by J. Michael Muro; edited by Mark Helfrich and Don Zimmerman; music by Lalo Schifrin; production design by Edward Verreaux; produced by Roger Birnbaum, Andrew Z. Davis, James M. Freitag, Jonathon Glickman, Arthur Sarkissian. A New Line Cinema release; opens Friday. Running time: 1:30. MPAA rating: PG-13 (for sequences of action violence, sexual content, nudity and language).
Inspector Lee - Jackie Chan
Det. James Carter - Chris Tucker
Kenji - Hiroyuki Sanada
Soo Yung - Jingchu Zhang
Varden Reynard - Max von Sydow
George - Yvan AttalCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times