The plot, what there is, revolves around another pairing of China’s Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan) and Los Angeles detective James Carter (Chris Tucker) as they track a Chinese Triad assassin to Paris and try to protect the one person who is in possession of a list of the heads of the secret crime organization.
It’s been six years since the last Rush Hour installment and one can’t help but ask one’s self if the story on screen here is the best that the creative folks behind the camera could come up with. The plot is a thin retread of numerous other buddy-cop films, without any apparent attempts to dress it up in a new way. There is not a plot point or story beat that this movie hits that is unexpected in any way.
The jokes that make up the comedy portion of this alleged action-comedy are as threadworm as well. Bits like a riff on the classic “Who’s On First?” but with Chinese names or an overheard fight between Chan and a female assassin is mistaken for sex land with clunky thuds. Equally cringe-worthy is a sequence where Chan and Tucker break into a song and dance routine while protecting someone in a Parisian nightclub. Other jokes, including a cameo by Roman Polanski as a cavity search loving Paris police official, are not only unfunny but in bad taste as well.
Director Brett Ratner claims to be an enthusiast of Asian action films, even appearing on several DVD commentary tracks for movies he was not involved in the making of. However, it doesn’t appear that he has really learned anything from this adoration, as his direction of action scenes leaves something to be desired. Picture composition is frequently cramped and the editing moves too fast to really get a feel or appreciate what the martial artists are doing. And when you’re dealing with a talent like Chan, such neglect seriously hurts the film.
It may be hard to imagine, but the usually irritating Tucker is even more shrill and grating here. Tucker once again tries to prove his seeming philosophy that the louder one delivers a line, the funnier it will be. Unfortunately, he doesn’t make a very convincing argument. Instead of inciting laughter, Tucker just leaves one reaching for aspirin. This is a performance definitely not worth the $25 million that was paid out to the actor. It should also be noted that Tucker has not appeared in any other films outside of the Rush Hour franchise in a decade. I think that fact speaks volumes that are even louder than his performance.