In the realm of film trilogies, the third time is very rarely a charm.  In the case of Rush Hour 3, the third time is very clearly a dud.  The series, which took the buddy cop flick genre to new heights of hilarity initially, wore out it’s welcome with the derivative sequel. Rush Hour 3 continues to stomp over the very well worn ground of the first two films.

Once again a wildly out of left field crisis has united Hong Kong inspector Lee and helium-voiced detective James Carter.  Apparently in the time since the last film, Lee and Carter have had a falling out.  Carter shot Lee’s girlfriend or something or other, but honestly, the film doesn’t seem to care much about that plotpoint so why should I? They quickly make up, but not before Ambassador Han is shot by the Triads in some needlessly convoluted plot to secure some list of gangleaders. 

Lee and Carter’s investigation(if it can be called that) is about as hapless as it can get. There never actually seem to be any clues.  They just sort of show up and people attack them, and the two reasonably assume they were attacked because their investigation is getting too close.  Not exactly Sherlock Holmes stuff here. And while I’m sure I shouldn’t expect keen deduction skills out of this pair, I do reasonably expect for the two to have to actually detect something.  Just dropping them off in Paris and them conveniently run into key figures is lazy.

This wouldn’t be a Rush Hour film without scores of Asian people to show up and be humiliated by Chris Tucker. They must buy them by the gross or something. They literally fall from everywhere. Big Asians, little Asians, French Asians, young Asians, old Asians. Tucker mercilessly shreds  them all with his quick yet unfunny  tongue. It’s the same jokes about them you’ve been hearing for the past two films: Asians are small; Asians can fight; Asian women are hot.  Get this guy a shot for his Yellow Fever and move on already!

If you were a fan of the first two RH films, there’s a good chance you’ll still enjoy this one. The theater i was at was positively rolling with laughter, but I found the entire film tiresome. Chris Tucker’s Michael Jackson impersonation long ago showed it’s age, and his voice is positivel irritating now. No grown man should sound that way unless he’s had vital parts of his reproductive organ forcibly removed.  Jackie Chan, no spring chicken himself, looks old and tired. It’s genuinely sad to see him doing the weak stunt work involved in this clunker. I saw better action sequences in DOA, and those were by Jaime Pressley. I had to go home and watch Rumble in the Bronx just to cleanse my pallet. 

If it were up to me, and it’s not unfortunately, this film would bomb and the Rush Hour franchise would quietly fade into distant memory. But that won’t happen, and I have little doubt that a fourth installment will be on it’s way in 3 years or so. I’d sooner see another Shanhai Noon than anymore of this dreck.