Should there be a Rush Hour 4, the studio could save a lot of money. They don’t need writers to pen a script. Simply have Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker walk around and screw things up. Given the abysmal quality of this sequel, it is safe to say the best part remains the blooper reel at the end of the film. In previous Rush Hours, the bloopers were merely a bonus.

Rush Hour 3 even references the outtakes of the previous film in this series, having Chris Tucker as for gefilte fish, one of the more memorable gaffes in that edition’s credit reel.

This is a film completely out of credible, creative ideas as to where to Rush Hour should be going. It is almost as if it was written by someone who thought to put a movie called Speed on a cruise ship… oh wait, it was.

Jeff Nathanson, who to his credit also wrote the Tom Hanks gem The Terminal and Spielberg award winner Catch Me if You Can, relies on clichés and stereotypes to fuel this trilogy ender. When Lee (Chan) and Carter (Tucker) have a misunderstanding, they learn that they need to be together. How? Lee orders fried chicken and sweet potato pie from room service. Ouch.

Of course, there are plenty of conversations where Tucker mocks Chan for being white, and Chan returns the favor in his own way. Not only was this covered repeatedly, Tucker’s loudmouth antics grew tiresome in the second film. Now into the fifth hour when combining the series together, it is more of a bother than entertaining. Who could forget the dojo scene either, which is of course run by the old master complete with long white beard?

Moving into France, of course the finale has to take place on the Eiffel Tower, because that is the only landmark any American’s would know of in the entire country. Better to be safe than sorry apparently. Chan livens up the ending, providing some wonderful stuntwork as he slides around the structure’s girders, but that was not enough for director Brett Ratner and crew.

Amazing physical feats are boring for the average American audience according to him, so why not have Lee battle his foe while bouncing around on a safety net, or dodging gunfire while using a flag as a parachute? The sheer joy of watching Jackie Chan work is lost when he sits in front of a green screen. He makes the physical demands seems plausible. Ratner makes them appear implausible.

There are certainly multiple gripes still left with Rush Hour 3. Once could easily wonder what everyone was thinking giving Roman Polanski a role where he performs a rectal exam on Lee and Carter, but that just brings up memories. The stage sequence where the two are forced to sing for an audience that actually buys their performances is another lightning rod for proof of the non-comedy taking place, and the butchering of the classic “Who’s on first?” skit does not even deserve a nod. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Movie]

An early release to the format, it is impressive how this VC-1 encode from New Line holds up. Standards are immediately set by gorgeous pan shots of the city behind the opening credits. Bright, colorful, immensely detailed, and razor sharp are the qualities these early shots carry over into the main film.

While some minimal crush is intrusive, the blacks are effective with stunning depth. Even in low light, such as the brawl inside the gentleman’s club, they remain firm, keeping the film looking crisp and defined. Colors are wonderfully saturated, maintaining accurate flesh tones while delivering brilliant primaries.

Detail is impressive, with textured faces consistently showcasing what this transfer can do. Few scenes show any noticeable drop, the worst case being on the plane as Lee and Carter are going to France. Definition of the environments is likewise outstanding, such as the concrete/roads during the opening chase scene.

Contrast can run slightly hot, noticeable only in a few select scenes. Ringing is sporadic, first caught during the nun interrogation, and peaking around Reynard as he is given the information he was seeking late in the film. Some artifacting is evident on Reynard’s red shirt at 47:30, and some aliasing is visible on vehicles (17:30 being the first on Carter’s car). Grain is fine, always unobtrusive. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Video]

Bass can certainly be punchy during this DTS-HD 7.1 effort, producing a wonderful blast when a car explodes. Gunfire can also hit the subwoofer effectively. Music is lively, with an aggressive bleed into the surrounds, and that same hard-to-miss bass when Carter briefly speaks to an accident victim who is blaring his car stereo.

For a 7.1 effort though, the rear channels are surprisingly mundane. There are moments, such as the brawl in the dojo and the various chases (vehicle tracking is noted), but they seem lost. The stereo channels offer better positional work. The hospital shoot out, despite a few ricochet shots and glass shattering, loves the right front more than anything.

Everything seems saved for the finale, where gunfire finally is allowed to breathe. Directionality comes alive, and the crisp bullet effects are wonderful. Combined with the dialogue and score, it provides everything a listener was waiting for. It’s a shame it takes a while. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Audio]

A commentary from director Brett Ratner and writer Jeff Nathanson can be viewed traditionally, or via a picture-in-picture window. The latter has some bonuses like storyboards. The second disc has the good stuff though.

A brief outtakes reel is funny, but the ones over the end credits were better. Seven deleted scenes (with an optional commentary from Ratner/Nathanson) run just over seven minutes. A visual effects reel shows the progression of various shots, including what was CG.

The great stuff includes a nearly 90-minute making-of, split into five parts. This type of extra that makes you appreciate bonus features again in the midst of all the mundane congratulatory promos being tossed our way. Le Rush Hour Trois is an hour long video diary shot mostly by Ratner. This raw footage kicks into gear once shooting begins. [xrr rating=5/5 label=Extras]

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