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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Rush Hour 3

So one of this weekend’s openings at the Essex Cinema was Rush Hour 3. I don’t know about you but just those words make me throw-up in my mouth a little bit. It’s not because of the movie necessarily. It’s just that when I hear “Rush Hour 3”, I think of being forced to listen to a third 60-minute segment of that Vicodin-popping Republican gasbag on the radio, and I’d rather put an electric drill into my ears than have to endure that torture.

As for the movie
Rush Hour 3, one can take some joy in just knowing that said drugged-up gasbag would hate, hate, hate it, if for all the wrong reasons. Jabba-the-Limbaugh would no doubt despise the buddy flick first because it stars two minorities, proving in his pea-brain that it is a liberal-backed and funded assault on American values to make a film about an African-American cop and a Chinese detective. He’d tell you that the black cop got his job thanks to an unfair and biased Affirmative Action program and that the Chinese detective is probably an illegal alien stealing away a “true” (in ditto-head speak that means “white”) American’s job. Second, much of the movie is filmed on location in Paris, meaning that Nancy Pelosi-loving Democrats were funneling money into studio stocks so that New Line Cinema (“obviously a front for Hilary brown coats”) could support the anti-Bush, war-fearing cowards of France. Thirdly, the movie even goes so far as to include a minor role for ex-pat Roman Polanski, who our pill-popping preacher would be quick to point out, is a dirty commie child raping pedophile. Oh, and last, but certainly not least, Limbaugh would never miss an opportunity to mention that this evil piece of propaganda was directed by a… wait for it, you know it is coming… a homosexual, so it is more than just a “buddy picture” as it presents itself as being. It is a piece of the Harry Reid-sanctioned “Radical Gay Agenda” of the Democratic party, meant to turn every young military-serving-aged fighting man into a preening, fawning fan of Zac Efron and Lance Bass’s lance. I marvel at the way his brain doesn’t work.

So all this being said, I think everyone should go see
Rush Hour 3 at least four or five times just to drive the old right wing-nut even crazier than he’d be without his illegal prescriptions for Viagra.

As it turns out, even without the anti-endorsement of “Limpnaub” (as he tries to disguise his flaccid affliction),
Rush Hour 3 is a lot of fun on its own merits. Whether you’ve seen the original or its subsequent sequel won’t matter, Rush Hour 3, now at the Essex Cinemas, does a terrific job delivering laughs without the viewer needing the back-story on how the two main characters ever got to know one another in the first place. It’s obvious from the beginning that Chris Tucker (Jackie Brown), as Detective James Carter, is an inadvertent screw-up and self-proclaimed ladies man (even if he is more a legend in his own mind than in the minds of the women he meets) while Jackie Chan (Around the World in 80 Days) plays the more serious half of this team, Chief Inspector Lee.

Rush Hour 3 opens Chief Inspector Lee is on his way to a special meeting of the World Court in Los Angeles as the guardian of Chinese Ambassador Han (Tzi Ma; Akeelah and the Bee), who is going to testify to the heads of state present about a notorious Chinese gang that has become known as world-wide terrorists. Meanwhile, poor Detective Carter has been reduced to directing traffic because of whatever he did wrong in Rush Hour 2. Of course this lasts about sixty seconds before the Ambassador is nearly assassinated and the guys are fatefully reunited and put on the case of protecting the stricken leader, and his (hot, naturally) daughter Soo Yung (Jingchu Zhang; Moon to aka Protégé).

That doesn’t work out smoothly, so in case the Ambassador ends up taking a dirt nap, the guys take off to Paris in search of the answer as to who has the supposed list of the secret members of this vicious killer gang. Okay, if you are thinking it is a bit of a stretch that the Chinese gang has chosen the French capitol as its headquarters you are not alone, but I’m guessing it is because director Brett Ratner (X-Men 3: The Last Stand) was looking for something different than the expected Asian locales, and it works out nicely for Chan’s fantastically choreographed stunts as well. Think Eiffel Tower, of course.

What follows are several stand alone bits that don’t particularly advance the plot but are funny or highlight Chan’s martial arts skills. A run-in with a French Detective (Roman Polanski; The Revenge) proves a pain in the butt (literally) for both Carter and Lee, and a visit to a Kung Fu class offers laughs with the guys foolishly taking on a giant (Sun Ming Ming, a real life 7’ 9” basketball player) guard and then stumbling into a play on Abbott and Costello’s old “Who’s on first?” routine featuring a blind sensei named Yu and an instructor named Mee. You can pretty much figure out where this one is going, but it is funny even if it’s older than dirt and Joan Rivers.

Speaking of Joan, the Chinese version also makes an appearance as a notorious Dragon Lady (Youki Kudoh; Memoirs of a Geisha), the none-too-hospitable hostess of a gentlemen’s club the
boys visit in Paris. I’m still not sure what her role in the bigger gang story was supposed to be, but her “special favors” will keep you on the edge of your seat. She may look a bit over the hill, but she can definitely scale it at an Olympic pace if need be.

The plot does thicken when Chan’s Lee finds out that the evil he is fighting isn’t quite as anonymous as he is used to and that only complicates matters. So does Genevieve (Noémie Lenoir; The Valet), an unwilling dancer/model taken into protective custody but acting more like she’s a hostage most of the time instead of being rescued from slaughter. More fun is George (Yvan Attal; Munich), the hapless cabbie who goes from hating Americans to wanting desperately to be one as a result of his interactions with Lee and Carter, despite the fact that in the process his taxi becomes lighter and airier with each meeting whether he wants it to or not.

It’s rare that the third installment of a series would inspire a beginner to want to go back and watch the first two films, but I emerged from Rush Hour 3 with a real desire to see Rush Hour and Rush Hour 2. It’s just that funny!

I wonder if playing all three consecutively in the presence of Mr. Dittohead would cause his head to explode. Hey, it’s worth a try. Call me a Liberal. At least I don’t rattle from all the illegal pills I’ve popped when I walk, like some radio hosts I know.

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