This Film is NOT a Future Release.
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February 5th, 2007:
Hong Kong Police Chief Inspector Lee’s (Jackie Chan
) latest assignment is to escort and protect Chinese Ambassador Han as he delivers a major address before the World Criminal Court Summit in Los Angeles. In his speech, Han is expected to reveal important findings on the world’s biggest crime syndicate, the Chinese Triads. While delivering his address, however, he is shot and nearly killed. Meanwhile, former LAPD Detective James Carter (Chris Tucker
), who has recently been demoted to a far less flattering position of a traffic cop, just happens to be listening in on the radio when the tragedy occurs. He rushes to the scene of the crime to help, but instead interferes with Lee’s pursuit of the culprits. Determined to reclaim his Detective status, he teams up with Lee once again to help track down the assassins. With the trail leading the duo on a chase to Paris, France, both will find themselves in unfamiliar territory. With the infamous city also chosen as the site of the next World Criminal Court Summit and additional lives at stake, the two will be forced to battle the French police, the Triads, and the foreign culture if they are going to solve the mystery in time.What to Expect:
The third installment in the Rush Hour series has been “just about underway” for some five years now. With the original grossing $141 million domestically and $245 million worldwide on a $35 million budget and the sequel surpassing those totals with $226 million in U.S. box-office receipts and nearly $350 million in worldwide ticket sales, the delay in the production of a second sequel seems difficult to understand. Why hold up such a winning formula? Article continues below
According to both Jackie Chan and director Brett Ratner
, Chris Tucker has been the primary reason. The comedian’s fickleness prevented the producers from “sealing the deal” on the third installment and thus delayed any plans. In an interview, Chan admitted that he thought Tucker was asking for too much power and believed that his on-screen partner needed to slow down a little. Reportedly, Tucker wanted to have script approval as well as rights to the final edit of the film. Producers refused the demands and the two parties negotiated back and forth. In the meantime, everyone waited patiently. Ratner moved on to direct three other films, Red Dragon, After the Sunset, and X-Men: The Last Stand
. Now, six years after the success of Rush Hour 2, with Tucker finally satisfied and ready, the production has been fast-tracked for a late summer 2007 release. It may be a little late, but fortunately for everyone involved, it’s probably not too late.
Although the $120 million Ratner has been given is $30 million more than on Rush Hour 2, the production has been rumored to be going over budget. That’s not surprising considering the lucrative deals that the film’s two leads have made thanks to New Line Cinema
’s generosity. Jackie Chan will reportedly be paid $15 million and will receive an additional 15% of the gross, while also securing the film’s distribution rights in China and Hong Kong. Depending on the source, Tucker will be paid either $20 million or $25 million for the flick and he’ll receive 20% of the gross. As part of the deal, the actor did have to give up script approval and has had to make a commitment to another, still unknown, project for a matching salary. What Tucker has been able to accomplish is astounding for several reasons. The deal puts him in the same league as the likes of Tom Cruise
and Eddie Murphy
. The sum is even more impressive considering the fact that in the past 10 years, Tucker has not done anything else other than the two Rush Hour movies. You have to go way back to Tucker’s small contribution to the 1997 drama Jackie Brown to see him in anything else. He must have one phenomenal agent to negotiate for him because I’m not sure what he would be doing right now if the studio decided to pass on his demands. And I’m even more curious about what his follow-up project will be.
Jeff Nathanson, who wrote the screenplay for Rush Hour 2, has been brought back on board for the third installment. He’s been keeping out of trouble since the first sequel, writing scripts for much more impressive projects like Steven Spielberg
’s Catch Me if You Can and The Terminal so there’s hope that he may have picked up some new tricks along the way. Regardless of what the screenplay is like, Rush Hour 3 is bound to follow the same tired and proven formula. In the first movie in the franchise, Jackie Chan’s character was the fish out of water when he found himself working in Los Angeles. The sequel was set in Hong Kong where Chris Tucker’s character was the odd one out. Approximately 99% of the humor in each movie was derived from those premises. With the second sequel taking the story to Paris, France, both characters will be taken out of their element, which will generate more familiar hilarity. And that’s essentially how you make movies, especially sequels, for the masses. Another popular ingredient in most blockbusters is a classic, feel-good song that can be enjoyed by the characters as well as the audience. We’ve already seen both Chan and Tucker singing along and marching to the tune of “War” so it’s time that the producers move on to something a little different. “Lady Marmalade” seems like a cute and fitting replacement that will once again showcase the stars in that silly and playful light. Throw it into a quick montage, and that’s essentially how trailers are made.
The most interesting developments in the Rush Hour 3 production have all revolved around some of the intriguing casting choices. Brett Ratner approached Gong Li
, Aishwarya Rai
, and martial artist Tony Jaa to be in the movie, but they all declined. Rai was going to play James Carter’s girlfriend, but that part eventually went to Noémie Lenoir
. Li did not show much interest in making an appearance, while Jaa has been too busy with his own projects. Due to his friendship with Chan, Steven Seagal was reportedly offered the part of the main villain, but he declined as well. At one point there was a rumor that Jean-Claude Van Damme was asked to take the same role and while he would have been a quirky and curiously amusing choice, that rumor was soon revealed to have originated with Van Damme himself. The part was eventually given to a relatively unknown martial artist named Hiroyuki Sanada
(The Last Samurai), who is probably a better actor than Van Damme, Seagal, Chan, and Tucker combined. Speaking of tremendously talented thespians, the great Max Von Sydow
(Minority Report, Intacto) should be an outstanding chief villain, as he has been on a few occasions in the past. Since Oscar winning director Roman Polanski happens to be Brett Ratner’s favorite actor and filmmaker, Ratner asked Nathanson to write him into the script after a chance encounter brought the two together. Polanski, not a veteran actor by any means, has had some amusing parts in the past and this one should be no exception. He’ll appear in several scenes as a local Parisian cop who harasses the two heroes of the story.
One of the most promising action scenes in Rush Hour 3 will be an homage to the infamous battle between Bruce Lee and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the 1978 movie Game of Death. Ratner found the 7’9” professional Chinese basketball star Sun Ming Ming for the sequence, which takes place in a Parisian dojo. The roles will be slightly reversed this time around since instead of a scrawny Chinese guy taking on a gigantic Black man, it will be a small Black man taking on a towering Chinese antagonist. Tucker will be so outmatched that he will not even be able to land any punches. Chan will get in on the battle as well, but I’m most concerned about the whole sequence maintaining a level of excitement. Given his stature, Ming Ming has looked understandably awkward during filming so I hope that his sluggishness will not translate onto the screen.
With its $120 million budget and Paris setting, one would expect some scenes to be shot at the Eiffel Tower and fortunately Ratner has obliged. A major action sequence does take place at the site and one of the stunts even required Jackie Chan to jump over the rail near the top of the tower. Although he was tied to a safety rope, the stunt was still very dangerous.
Rush Hour 3 will offer more of what the first two movies have already offered. As usual, Jackie Chan has been getting hurt doing his own stunts and as usual, doctors have continued to clear him to continue. Of course, even with this being the third film in the franchise, still no one is going to understand the words coming out of his mouth. Personally, I find Tucker more difficult to understand, or perhaps simply more annoying. As it has been customary in the past, Chan has been breaking his bones trying to deliver some more highly original stunts, while Tucker has been watching from the sidelines, no doubt talking to his agent to help him secure the next deal of the century. I already know that Ratner has preferred Tucker’s obnoxious antics over Chan’s physical prowess since the very first film in the series, so I expect there to be no shortage of dreadful humor. Really, only the setting and the supporting characters have changed, everything else is old hat.In Conclusion:
Despite my negative view of this series and the vast majority of Ratner’s past work, I am fully aware of the brilliance in the Tucker-Chan pairing, at least commercially speaking. This sequel would have been better off coming out a couple of years ago, but even after six years, audiences will be ready for more, especially given the film’s Paris setting, which is easily the most spectacular of any in the three movies. In fact, the long break may actually help the flick bring in a whole slew of crazed masses. This is going to be precisely the type of poorly written and poorly conceived big budget action comedy that audiences cannot resist. I can think of worse ways of spending a weekend, but I can also think of many better ways as well.Similar Titles: Rush Hour
, Rush Hour 2
, Hollywood Homicide
, Money Talks