Jackie Chan is old, he’s slow, and if the rumors are true he’s started using stuntmen. The only thing older and slower than Chan is the Rush Hour franchise, which ran out of gas about the same time he did. It’s downright depressing watching Chan attempt to convincingly pull off stunts without any of the blinding speed or amazing ability which made him such an awesome action star in the first place. It’s even more depressing watching Rush Hour 3 go through the motions of being a worthy successor to the previous two movies which, even though it’s probably not cool for critics to admit it, were an awful lot of fun.
Rush Hour 3 actually starts out promising enough, with Chris Tucker doing his usual, but still occasionally hilarious, oversexed black man shtick. Chan may be tired and broken down, but Chris Tucker’s weight gain and mild sag hasn’t done much to damage his… well whatever it is he does that people seem to like. His squeaky voice?
The movie invents a reason for Inspector Lee (Chan) and Detective Carter (Tucker) to get back together without wasting any time. Lee is in LA providing security for a Chinese Ambassador on the verge of breaking up the biggest criminal organization in the world, the Chinese Triad. Just before the Ambassador can reveal his vital information (who didn’t see this coming) he’s shot. Soon Chan and Tucker are on a plan to France, to root out the criminal syndicate’s leaders and bust them up.
From there things just stop making sense and they wander around encountering people and fighting with people for sometimes inexplicable reasons. The script's a mess, but at least for the first three fourths it remains funny. In the last quarter of the film though, Rush Hour 3 gives up entirely and resorts to rehashing bad action scenes from other lame movies. The film’s big finale takes place on top of the Eiffel tower, and it’s exactly like every other Eiffel tower cop movie finale you’ve ever seen, except more boring. Part of the blame for the ending is the familiarity of it all, but another part of it is simply that it’s one of the movie’s action bits Chan and isn’t any good. It’s blatantly obvious in every frame of the film that the guy just can’t cut it anymore, but by then his attempts to be the Jackie of old have gone from sad to intolerable. By that time, the movie and everyone involved is simply going through the motions, ready to latch on to anyone and anything as way to end Rush Hour 3 and get the hell off the screen. That’s alright, since you’ll be more than ready to get the hell out of your seat and into the parking lot.