Well, let us get this over with, finally. If you have read the reviews of Rush Hour (1998) and Rush Hour 2 (2001), you might have noticed my lack of enthusiasm. The next logical question then is: why do it? There is nobody anywhere telling me to continue writing The Legionnaire. The only explanation I can give you is that it is Faith. There is something calling me to look at every movie on which I can lay my eyeballs (with exceptions) and tell you about them. This started with new films coming out in the theaters. Then the pandemic happened, but the drive did not abate. If there is one thing that the overwhelming majority of us have it is streaming services. The grandaddy of them all, Netflix, has seen fit to host the once hugely successful trilogy that is Rush Hour. The hope is that you might be a Catholic and/or Christian, lost in the sea of what to choose from the innumerable options, and you look to The Legionnaire to inform your entertainment options. Since I have done the first two in this series, I carry on my mission by giving you Rush Hour 3 (2007).
For reasons that will not be discussed, it has been a few years since the last one when we get to Rush Hour 3. Things have happened in between that we do get to see, but are mentioned in offhand comments. At any rate, Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan) is back protecting his friend and former boss from Hong Kong, Ambassador Solon Han (Tzi Ma), who is about to give a speech to the World Court in Los Angeles. In a nearby part of town, Detective James Carter (Chris Tucker), is doing little detecting and instead is conducting busy downtown traffic. There had been a falling out between the two that happened in the events immediately following the last film, also not pictured. At any rate, Ambassador Han is about to reveal the existence of Shy Shen, a person they believe to control the fate of the Chinese organized crime syndicate known as the Triads. Before he can say too much, he is shot by an assassin’s bullet from a building across the street. The resulting chase goes through the area that Detective Carter is monitoring, and he decides to help his old pal track down the bad guy. It turns out to be a Triad enforcer known as Kenji (Hiroyuki Sanada), and later it is revealed that he and Inspector Lee had been raised as brothers in Hong Kong even though Kenji was an orphan from Tokyo. This explains the hesitation Inspector Lee has in killing Kenji outright, and the criminal gets away when Detective Carter’s bungling help arrives. Later on, they go to meet Ambassador Han, who survives the attempt on his life but has to remain in the hospital. Getting there shortly after they do is Ambassador Han’s now grown-up daughter Soo-Yung (Zhang Jingchu). She makes them each vow to find out who is behind these attacks. She also tells them of the existence of items Ambassador Han had left to her, which she kept in a kung fu studio where she practiced. Another action interlude occurs before the teacher of the school finally comes out and informs our heroes that Soo-Yung’s belongings had already been taken by other men with guns. Seemingly back to the beginning, they return to the hospital in time to stop another group of people from killing Ambassador Han. They manage to capture one of them, and with the help of a nun who is conveniently on hand, are able to discover from this French speaking thug that they, too, are marked for death by the Triads. Believing that this includes Soo-Yung, they take her to the French embassy and leave her in the care of Varden Reynard (Max von Sydow), a trusted colleague of Ambassador Han. He also reveals that Shy Shen is a list of all the members of the Triad, and that it could be in the hands of a person called Geneviève (Noémie Lenoir). So, it is off to Paris because why not? After a painful (and unnecessary) visit with the French authorities, they are picked up by a taxi driver named George (Yvan Attal). He wants nothing to do with Americans because he thinks they are all violent. His suspicions (more stereotypes, actually) seem to be proven true when they are chased out of the casino where they had been told Geneviève could be found, and a car chase ensues. Surprisingly, George finds he is into it, and now wants to kill somebody because he thinks that is what Americans do. For Detective Carter and Inspector Lee, there is yet another falling out between them as they once more disagree on tactics. This is almost not worth mentioning because they end up working together again anyway, but it explains why they arrive separately at the theater where Geneviève performs. More violence happens as Triad lackeys are on hand to murder Geneviève, but our dynamic duo gets her out alive. Eventually, they take Geneviève to Reynard, who has come to Paris as well, but he also (insert fake gasp) is in league with the Triads. He has taken Soo-Yung hostage, and sends Detective Carter and Inspector Lee to the Eiffel Tower (of course) to exchange Geneviève for Soo-Yung. Inevitably, Inspector Lee and Kenji face off against one another, while Detective Carter rescues Soo-Yung. Finally, George saves them all from Reynard by shooting the crooked member of the World Court in the back, thus making him feel like a “real” American.
As I have said about the other installments in the series, Rush Hour 3 has all the same ridiculous stereotypes that it relies on because it thinks its audience is dumb. I was particularly disturbed by the American ones. There are stereotypes for every ethnicity depicted in the film. A fitting symbol for this nonsense is the Eiffel Tower. It just had to be in the movie. Check out a far superior movie, Midnight in Paris (2011), with the actual city in the title, and you will barely see the world-famous landmark. That is because it is actually creative. Interestingly, there is one less known stereotype on which I would focus my Catholic energies for Rush Hour 3. The hospital that Ambassador Han is taken to is a Catholic institution. Why else would there be a nun on the premises? Either way, I knew what I was looking at from the statuary in the establishing shots for the hospital. By the way, the Catholic healthcare system in this country is quite large. This fits with one of the roles the Church has played since its inception of helping others. Indeed, giving assistance to a sick person is what the Church refers to as a corporal act of mercy. Additionally, there have been many advancements in medicine done by Catholics. I bring this up just in case you see Sister Agnes (Dana Ivey) and wonder why such a person is in this scene.
A film like Rush Hour 3 turns some conventions on their head. For example, there are a lot of things that happen in the film that you might not find out of place, whereas Sister Agnes is perfectly normal to me. Maybe I need a different film review blog to explain aspects of films that do not make sense to me? Until then, I would find another movie.