Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray
|Featuring:||Chris Tucker, Jackie Chan, Vinnie Jones, Hiroyuki Sanada, Noémie Lenoir, Max von Sydow, Yvan Attal, Sun Ming Ming, Julie Depardieu, Youki Kudoh, Tzi Ma, Roman Polanski, Simon Rhee, Jean-Michel Richaud, Roselyn Sanchez, Jingchu Zhang|
|Director:||Brett Ratner (“Red Dragon,” “Rush Hour,” “Rush Hour 2,” “The Family Man,” “Money Talks”)|
|Producer:||Roger Birnbaum (‘Memoirs of a Geisha’), Andrew Z. Davis, Leon Dudevoir, Leon Dudevoir, James M. Freitag, Jonathan Glickman (‘The Pacifier’), David Gorder, Arthur M. Sarkissian, Jay Stern|
|Distributor:||New Line Cinema|
“Kicking it in Paris”
What do you get when you put Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, crazy stunts and snappy dialogue together? Why you get yet another “Rush Hour” movie, of course!
“Rush Hour 3,” was not, in my opinion, as tight a comedy as the first two, as Chris Tucker tried persistently to steal the show, and pretty much succeeded. Unfortunately, this “Rush Hour” was not as much about the thrilling stunts that Jackie Chan is known for, as it was about promoting the comedy aspect. Yet, it delivered some great stunts in the end. If you love Jackie Chan, go for just that one thing. If you can ignore Tucker’s in your face humor, the ending is thrilling and well worth the price of admission.
On the other hand, if you are looking for an action flick you can take the whole family to, forget this one. It is riddled with unnecessary foul language, uncomfortable jokes about everything from the gay lifestyle to the Viet Nam war, and lots and lots of half-naked women.
Chinese Chief Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan) is escorting and protecting the highly respected Ambassador Hann to the World Criminal Courts, while James Carter (Chris Tucker) goes about his duties as a traffic cop. From the beginning, it is evident that Carter is not just your garden variety cop. He’s got flare and lots of, at times too much, energy. Lee, as usual, is the calm in the eye of the storm—until he pairs up with Carter, then let the rest of the world (and the underworld) watch out!
As Ambassador Hann addresses the Criminal Court, he uncovers the fact that he has finally tracked down the identity of the elusive Chi Chen of the feared Chinese underworld Triad Society. During the time Inspector Lee is guarding the life of the Chinese ambassador, Hann is suddenly struck down by a bullet intended to kill him. From that point on, Carter and Lee are on the case, and the chase begins to rid the world of the 500 year old Triad Society, save Hann’s niece Soo Yung (Jingchu Zhang) from certain death, and in the meantime play a game of cat and mouse with Varden Reynard (Max von Sydow) Chief Director of the World Criminal Court, who might not be the good guy he appears to be.
This time around, the duo must travel from China Town to Paris to battle The Triads, uncover the real link between the Triad’s criminal Chinese roots and its American connections, while getting into all kinds of ridiculous, but never the less hysterical, trouble along the way.
Carter falls for the lovely Genevieve (Niemie Lenoir) who is in mortal danger from the Triads, as Lee discovers his long lost brother Kenji (Hiroyuki Sanada) is on the opposite side of the law. Carter and Lee garner an ally in the form of French cab driver George (Yvan Attal) who secretly wants to be an American super spy.
The comedy is a bit bumpy in the beginning, but finally gets a jump start after the pair go into action in Paris. That’s the good news.
The bad news, especially for discerning Christian parents, is that this flick is full of profanity, implied sexual situations, half-nudity and, because most of it takes place in the French underworld and Parisian night clubs, a plethora of scantily-clad female showgirls.
I stopped counting swear words about 20 minutes in. Be prepared for side humor that includes just about everything: porn (“…dirty movies, only 9.95”), gay sex (“Hey, I’m Brokeback Carter”), cavity searches (“I’m not constipated any more”), America’s strength in her wars (or implied weakness is more like it)—the Iraq War and the Viet Nam Wars combined. Everything is covered about how Americans are portrayed in France as being self-centered, violent, uncaring and bigoted. I was really put off about all this, because in past Jackie Chan vehicles it was pure comedy and slapstick stunts, this time around the writers tried too hard to pull sex and politics into the humor, and it hit a nerve for me as a Christian. I just came for a good-natured time, not political correctness, sex and violence, please.
In an opening scene Carter attempts to arrest a couple of girls whom he has bent over a car in order to ‘frisk’ them, and the camera centers on their generous backsides. There is a scene where a French-speaking nun is brought in to assist Carter and Lee during an investigation, and although she and her faith are not ridiculed, the language she has to interpret is borderline obscene. Characters are shown drinking, gambling, carousing and enjoying many vices that most Christians try hard to avoid.
Carter listens through a door as Lee is fighting for his life with a female martial arts Master. It is obvious that Carter assumes they are making love and is listening to two people during love-making. The Carter character lures the Genevieve character to the bedroom, where she exclaims she’s a “bad girl” to which he utters “hallelujah.” Chris Tucker does a lot of Michael Jackson-esque dance moves and, as is his comedic style, injects lots of humor with sexual overtones.
Overall, the movie is about fighting for what’s right. There is no problem identifying the bad guys from the good guys. To the writer’s credit, there is no shading the line between what is good and what is evil, as in some action movies of late. Strong friendships can weather life’s storms and are worth fighting for and protecting. Even when Lee’s brother is portrayed as sinister and thinks nothing of murdering Lee, Lee on the other hand shows mercy and compassion, even attempting to save his brother’s life in the face of Kenji’s obvious deceit. Lee and Carter both go to any lengths needed to save Hann and Soo Yung, even risking their own lives to do so.
There is a very funny highlight where a scene is played out akin to the “who’s on first” rendition by Abbot and Costello, this time done using Chinese surnames. “He’s Mi and I’m Yu…” Very funny stuff. All references to other nationalities were done with a good natured tone, and it was obvious all actors were having a great time with this aspect of the script.
However, parents should not be fooled into thinking that just because the film is PG-13 rated and is a Jackie Chan film that it is okay to send their kids off to this movie, unaccompanied without parental supervision. Waiting to view this film as a rental when it comes out on DVD is advised for parents of ‘tween’ and pre-teen kids. Don’t let the PG-13 rating fool you. The subject matter is not that subdued or innocent.
That said, I did have a good time watching this movie. I couldn’t help it, as I am an avid Jackie Chan fan, and although some, or even most, of the dialogue was objectionable to me, the terrific stunts made up for it. Your reaction will depend on your beliefs as a Christian and how far ‘funny’ can go.
If you enjoy the end credit sequences that have become a signature to every Jackie Chan movie, then this one will not disappoint.
God created us in His image, therefore I believe He has a sense of humor. It is just when human beings begin to degrade that sense, that we get into trouble.
It is a shame to note that in our time, with technology at our fingertips created to make our lives easier, that Christian parents have to work that much harder to sift through the myriad of information and entertainment and come up with a way to shield their children from unacceptable input.
Never the less, be vigilant, stand strong in the faith, honor your values and morals and after that—have fun at the movies.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy