Rush Hour 3
R1 - America - New Line Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Noor Razzak (16th January 2008).
The Film

Brett Ratner has received a lot of flack of late, hardcore fans hated what he did with the third instalment of the "X-Men" (2000-2006) movies which put him on the geek hit list. I've heard and read many statements about the director that call him a 'hack' and targets his films. While a lot of the sentiment towards Ratner is unfair, I still find it hard to forgive him for the travesty that was "X-Men: The Last Stand" (2006)...yes I am one of those geeks that couldn't believe Marvel and Fox hired Ratner to direct the end to a series that was for all intents and purposes Bryan Singer's baby. But I certainly think there are other filmmakers out there that are much worse and certainly do not deserve to make movies on a big scale, Uwe Boll, Paul W.S. Anderson, Renny Harlin and Jan de Bont are but a few examples. Ratner has made a few entertaining films, I loved the first "Rush Hour" (1998) film and liked the second. Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker took the tried and trusted buddy comedy and made it their own. Even though just about every Hollywood film Chan has appeared in pretty much follows the same buddy movie structure. Ratner in essence took a rather rudimentary plot and populated the film with two characters so different from one another that it was bound to produce some laughs, mix some action and you've got a winner. The box office doesn't lie and the first two installments made some decent coin for the studio.
It was a long time before a third film was released though; one of the film's stars, Chris Tucker took his time to finally ink a deal for the third film. I always wondered what happened to Tucker. His star seemed to rise in the 90's with appearances in "Dead Presidents" (1995), "The Fifth Element" (1997) and "Jackie Brown" (1997), but after he made the first two "Rush Hour" films he seemed to disappear. "Rush Hour 3" is his first film since "Rush Hour 2" which was 6 years prior. Perhaps he knew he was a one-trick-pony and decided to be very nit-picky about his future project?
"Rush Hour 3" takes on from the last film, its several years later and Detective James Carter (Chris Tucker ) is reduced to traffic duty, while Chief Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan) has been placed in charge of protecting Ambassador Han (Tzi Ma). He fails his duty and Ambassador Han is assassinated, Lee discovers that his brother (from his orphanage days) Kenji (Hiroyuki Sanada) is behind it. Further investigation leads to Triad involvement and Lee and Carter travel to Paris to find and protect a woman, Genevieve (NoƩmie Lenoir) with knowledge of the Triads' secret leaders.
As I mentioned before the first and second films were actually quite funny, but somewhere in the 6-year absence of Tucker things got stale. I think I cracked a smile once throughout the entire film. Most of the time I was rolling my eyes at how unfunny everything was even though the filmmaker's were clearly trying, perhaps that's the problem...they were trying too hard to recapture what made the first two films so much fun.
The jokes here are rehashes of what we've seen before, Tucker dancing, acting stupid and being loud with Chan fighting bad guys and making comments that Tucker can't understand...although their relationship has grown in this instalment I felt that these guys were simply there to get paid and move onto the next film.
There's no point in commenting on the plot, as it's simple but tries to be complex and clever with twists and turns but it fails to impress. The addition of the character George (Yvan Attal) the taxi driver must have been insulting to all French people, at the start he's a 'anti-American' because of their aggressive stance on war and so on, but during the course of the film having hung out with Lee and Carter he gets a taste for action and actually harbours fantasies of killing, what the fuck? This all comes full circle when he eventually shoots someone. Ok, anyone else dumbfounded by this character?
In fact the only thing that kept me watching was the action scenes which were 'ok' at best but the Eiffel Tower fight was quite fun.
After about 90 minutes or so I was rather unimpressed and happy the film was over, there were elements of a thriller, an action-comedy, a buddy movie, they were thrown in and really never hit any chords as I felt that overall it didn't really work as well as the filmmakers thought it would, even Roman Polanski's cameo wasn't worth it and his character's change of attitude at the end of the movie made no sense.

Video

Presented in the film's original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio this anamorphic transfer is a solid effort from New Line. Being a recent film release the image is in perfect shape for this DVD release. The image is generally sharp although some sharpness is lost in shots that feature a lot of CG composited backgrounds (check the Eiffel Tower fight as a few close up aren't that great and give away the fact that it was shot on a green screen stage). Colors are solid and rich, skin tones appear natural and black levels are nice and bold although some dimly lit interiors appear a bit flat. Grain is nowhere to be found, the print is clean and features no major compression related flaws or edge-enhancement.

Audio

Presented in the film's original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio this anamorphic transfer is a solid effort from New Line. Being a recent film release the image is in perfect shape for this DVD release. The image is generally sharp although some sharpness is lost in shots that feature a lot of CG composited backgrounds (check the Eiffel Tower fight as a few close up aren't that great and give away the fact that it was shot on a green screen stage). Colors are solid and rich, skin tones appear natural and black levels are nice and bold although some dimly lit interiors appear a bit flat. Grain is nowhere to be found, the print is clean and features no major compression related flaws or edge-enhancement.

Audio: Three audio tracks are included in English DTS-ES 6.1 Matrix as well as English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround. For the purposes of this review I chose to view the film with its DTS-ES track, being an action film there's plenty of sound effects mixed into the film ranging from explosions, car chases, bullet hits, glass breaking etc. The mix is active and uses the surround channels to put you in the middle of the action. So what we have here is an aggressive and highly active soundtrack that will put your home theatre through an intense workout, additionally dialogue is clear and the films score adds further depth.

Optional subtitles are included in English and Spanish.

Extras

New Line has included a ton of extras for this 2-disc release, they include an audio commentary, a multi-part documentary, a series production diaries, deleted and extended scenes, outtakes, visual effects reel, a series of trailers and some DVD-ROM content. Below is a closer look at these supplements broken down per disc.

DISC ONE:

First up we've got a feature-length audio commentary that includes director Brett Ratner and screenwriter Jeff Nathanson. This is largely a screen-specific track as the two talk about how the story evolved for this installment, on setting up the character's situations and plot. They comment on many aspects of the production including shooting locations, budget constraints, how the comedy comes from the situations the characters are placed in among other things. They make not of coming up with "fresh" sequences that didn't feel too familiar, Ratner also comments on the cast, shooting in Paris and getting Polanski to appear in the film as he takes us through the approach they had for this film.

Next up is the film's original theatrical trailer which runs for 2 minutes 22 seconds.

Also featured are some bonus trailers for:

- "Be Kind Rewind" which runs for 2 minutes 28 seconds.
- "Blade: House of Chthon" which runs for 31 seconds.
- "Ocean's 13" which runs for 31 seconds.

Rounding out the extras on this disc are some DVD-ROM content which can be accessed through your PC DVD player and include:

- Web links
- Interactive movie viewer
- Production photos
- Storyboards
- Bookmark you favorite scenes

There's also 2 pages of DVD credits listed on this disc.

DISC TWO:

The second disc opens up with an outtakes reel that runs for 2 minutes 33 seconds and features the usual stuff, line flubs mostly and missed cues, they're not that funny as the ones included during the credits.

Following that are series of 7 deleted and extended scenes that feature optional audio commentary by director Brett Ratner and screenwriter Jeff Nathanson. In the tracks they comment on the scenes and why they were not used in the final cut, these scenes can be viewed individually or with a 'play all' function and include:

- "Extended Airplane" runs for 1 minute 34 seconds, Lee and Carter argue while on the plane to Paris.
- "Extended Taxi" runs for 58 seconds, additional footage inside the Taxi as Lee and Carter sing along with the radio.
- "Extended Elevator" runs for 1 minute 2 seconds, Carter argues with the French woman in the elevator.
- "Hotel Hallway" runs for 41 seconds, Lee tells Carter about his relationship with Kenji.
- "Spotlight Guy: Follies" runs for 36 seconds, Lee bribes the spotlight operator to turn off the lights.
- "Extended Eiffel Tower" runs for 1 minute 2 seconds, this is a slightly different version of the scene when the henchmen arrive.
- Alternate Ending" runs for 1 minute 23 seconds, Lee and Carter board a private jet to Fiji.

Following those scenes is the extensive multi-part documentary "Making Rush Hour 3" which features the following:

- "The Story, The Script" runs for 5 minutes 49 seconds, this portion of the feature deals with the film's plot and research done on Triad history and on the continuation of these character's stories in a third installment of the franchise as well as focusing on balancing comedy, action and thriller elements.
- "Casting the Rush" runs for 18 minutes 38 seconds and takes a look at the film's main cast members including the two leads, their characters and on working with the director and what having a history with him means to the series. The focus here was to cast an eclectic and diverse collection of talent for the various supporting roles as well.
- "Teaming Up" runs for 10 minutes 45 seconds and takes a look at the collaboration between director Ratner and his crew, in using people he trusts and has developed a relationship with over the three films plus others he's made in his career. Looks closely at the production design, costumes, photography and overall focuses on the design of the film including the practical and visual effects.
- "Creating the Rush: Scene by Scene" this section is further broken down into 9 clips that take a closer look at specific scenes as we go behind-the-scenes and look at key elements in the success of these scenes:
- - "Introduction" runs for 1 minute 22 seconds, this film has some big set pieces as we look at some of the key ones.
- - "The Opening" runs for 3 minutes 45 seconds, we go behind-the-scenes of the shoot in downtown L.A. as we get a look at the significance of opening the film in a traffic jam.
- - "The Hospital Shoot-out" runs for 3 minutes 16 seconds, takes a look at coordinating the stunts and action for the sequence.
- - "The Karate Studio" runs for 4 minutes 29 seconds, looks at the use of wires for this sequence.
- - "The Hospital Morgue" runs for 3 minutes 2 seconds, takes a look at how shooting in a real morgue added to the scene's success.
- - "The Interrogation Scene" runs for 2 minutes 20 seconds, takes a look at the scenes which features Polanski in his cameo role.
- - "Lee Vs Dragon Lady" runs for 5 minutes 26 seconds, takes a look at the complicated fight scene and the unavoidable injuries.
- - "The Follies" runs for 3 minutes 44 seconds, takes a look at the choreographing a dance sequence.
- - "The Eiffel Tower" runs for 11 minutes 14 seconds and takes a look and the many layers required to sell this sequence from footage shot on the real tower to sets and green screen stunt work.
- "Cuts, Sound and Music" runs for 14 minutes 6 seconds, this final portion deals with the film's editing process and getting a cut ready, also looks at the sound design and how it differs from the previous two films and finally the recording of the film's score by Lalo Schifrin.

Next up we've got a collection of 25 "Le Rush Hour Trois", these are production diaries that can be viewed individually or with a 'play all' function. This is raw behind-the-scenes footage taken during the film's production and take a look at the filmmaking process in a fly-ob-the-way manner and cover some key moments in the film's production and include:

- "Pre-production" runs for 1 minute 33 seconds.
- "Paris, France" runs for 1 minute 50 seconds.
- "First Day of Filming" runs for 1 minute 24 seconds.
- "Avenues Des Champs-Elysees" runs for 51 seconds.
- "Hotel Plaza Athenee" runs for 43 seconds.
- "La Fountaine De Trocadero" runs for 3 minutes 15 seconds.
- "Ambassade Francais" runs for 42 seconds.
- "Motorcycle Chase" runs for 32 seconds.
- "Paris-Charles De Gaulle (CDG)" runs for 42 seconds.
- "Theatre Des Champs-Elysees" runs for 44 seconds.
- "Welcome to Paris" runs for 58 seconds.
- "Stunt Rehearsals" runs for 5 minutes 43 seconds.
- "Los Angeles" runs for 3 minutes 30 seconds.
- "Card Club" runs for 4 minutes 6 seconds.
- "The First Cut is the Deepest" runs for 2 minutes 46 seconds.
- "Hospital Shoot-out" runs for 3 minutes 53 seconds.
- "Sewer" runs for 3 minutes 24 seconds.
- "Karate Studio" runs for 6 minutes 42 seconds.
- "World Criminal Court" runs for 1 minutes 5 seconds.
- "Cheese and Chase" runs for 58 seconds.
- "Follies" runs for 3 minutes 18 seconds.
- "Downtown Los Angeles" runs for 33 seconds.
- "Behind the Red Curtain" runs for 2 minutes 13 seconds.
- "Fight on the Tower" runs for 10 minutes 32 seconds.
- "Los Angeles Premiere" runs for 3 minutes 5 seconds.

Also featured on the disc is a visual effects reel that runs for 2 minutes 2 seconds and is a progression of VFX shots from models to final shot as seen in the film.

Rounding out the extras is some DVD-ROM content that includes:

- Web links

There's also 2 pages of DVD credits listed on this disc.

Packaging

This DVD is packaged in an amaray case that is housed in a cardboard lenticular slip-cover.

Overall

The Film: D Video: A Audio: A+ Extras: A Overall: B-

 


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