Rush Hour [1998]

Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker head for the City of Lights in the somewhat threadbare but sporadically exciting Rush Hour 3, the second sequel to director Brett Ratner's 1998 cop-buddy hit. Chan's Inspector Lee and Tucker's Detective Carter hop from Los Angeles to Paris in pursuit of a Chinese triad only to find a mixed reception, including a brutal warning from a French cop (Roman Polanski) and anti-American sentiments from a cab driver (Yvan Attal) who eventually becomes an important and funny ally. Lee and Carter, when not fighting their way out of rooms full of martial arts gangsters and crazed assassins (Sun Ming Ming), follow a trail to a beautiful woman (Noemie Lenoird) who literally carries a vital clue on her person. Lee also holds secret meetings with a United Nations authority (Max Von Sydow), but his personal struggles with a criminal mastermind (Hiroyuki Sanada)--who happens to be an important figure in his life—are at the heart of this movie. The aging Chan still seems to defy the laws of physics with some of his more spectacular stunts. But it's true those stunts take a little more time than they used to, and judicious editing makes Chan look spry as ever. He frets charmingly in Rush Hour 3, while Tucker revives his brash character's motormouth guile and whiny womanizing. There isn't a lot left to be discovered about Lee and Carter's compatibility, and even with a minor crisis over their loyalty to one another in Rush Hour 3, their all-important relationship is almost too easy to take for granted now. Fortunately, the film's biggest thrills come from several wild fight scenes, especially a climactic battle on the Eiffel Tower that is rich in imagination. --Tom Keogh

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