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‘Rush Hour 3’
Common Sense Media: Pause. For ages 12 and older.
..(out of five stars)
Running time: 90 minutes
Common Sense review: Edwin Starr’s anti-Vietnam war song became a buddy anthem in the original “Rush Hour” — which found perennial Los Angeles Police Department muck-up Carter (Chris Tucker) joining forces with Chinese Chief Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan) even though they were barely able to understand each other. The jokes about cultural ignorance were obvious, but the charismatic players brought different skills to the movie: Mr. Chan the inventive martial artist and Mr. Tucker the motormouth.
Two films later, the combination is tired. This time, following the shooting of Ambassador Han (Tzi Ma, who also was in the first film) the guys make their way to Paris, which, apparently, is a stronghold for Chinese Triad gangs. Supposedly there to protect World Criminal Court chief General Reynard (Max von Sydow), the two indulge in one raucous scene after another. Not incidentally, they also end up saving two beautiful women, Han’s daughter Soo Yung (Jingchu Zhang) and model-singer-gambler Genevieve (Noemie Lenoir).
The action is nonstop and includes several urban chase scenes, martial-arts slapstick and shootouts in a hospital and a nightclub.
In Paris, the pair are accosted by Detective Revi (Roman Polanski), who dons a rubber glove to search their nether regions, and befriended by a cabbie named George (Yvan Attal). Both characters embody Carter’s generally anti-French sentiments. Initially dismissive of Americans, George soon is won over by Carter and Lee’s thrilling chaos in the form of car chases and guns. Now, George says, he knows what it means to be an American: to “kill people for no reason.”
Common Sense note: Parents need to know that this third installment in the “Rush Hour” franchise is a lot like the first two. It has lots of extremely boisterous comic violence, with a mix of martial arts, slapstick and shoot-‘em-up aesthetics that sometimes lead to bloodied faces and painfully twisted bodies. Motormouthed co-star Chris Tucker’s brand of verbal comedy includes plenty of sexual references and dicey language that seems designed to get around the PG-13 rating.
Families can talk about Lee and Carter’s loyal cross-cultural friendship. Why is so much of the movie’s humor based on differences in the characters’ cultures and backgrounds? Is Carter’s ignorance really funny, or do the jokes seem forced? Why? How does this movie compare to the first two? What changes would you make if you were the director? Families also can discuss how the film represents women.
Sexual content: Carter makes frequent sexual references; in one scene, he grabs his crotch. Close-up shots of women’s bottoms and cleavage. Genevieve wears lots of revealing costumes. Another woman’s fight with Lee sounds like rowdy sex to Carter.
Language alert: Variations on milder expletives, plus several insinuations of an extreme expletive, but it’s not said outright.
Violence alert: Repeated fights feature hard-hitting, imaginative stunts as well as shooting. An ambassador is shot at the film’s start, which leads to chaos and an urban chase scene with lots of falling, jumping and fighting and some gunfire. Shootouts feature shattered glass, bodies flying and colliding, and bloody faces. (A couple of villains fall dead.) Carter threatens several others with his gun. A car explodes.
Social-behavior alert: Carter’s comic shtick is relentlessly offensive. Cultural differences are used repeatedly as the basis of jokes.
Drug/alcohol/tobacco alert: George smokes cigarettes. Bar scenes show customers smoking and drinking liquor.