Prior to watching Rush Hour 3, I sat real low in my seat and took a look around the theater. This particular screening had a section roped off for critics, and everyone around us were, for lack of a better description, your average urban moviegoer. Essentially, the target audience for a film like this. My row, the one in front and one in back, consisted of white, middle-aged (or older) film critics; some of whom spoke about their tickets to an upcoming opera. And that's when it dawned on me -- these people are going to hate Rush Hour 3. Say what you want about film critics, but a 60 year-old guy in a sports jacket with tickets to the opera is not going to dig Chris Tucker making bootie jokes while trying not to direct traffic. The rest of the audience, however, devoured the Tucker/Chan shtick as if it were the best all-you-can-eat buffet in town. Sadly, I wasn't as hungry.
It took six years and millions of dollars to convince Chris Tucker to return to his most lucrative role, and fans of the actor will be happy to see him back doing what he does best: shouting ... loudly. The story is exactly the kind you'd expect from a third installment; Jeff Nathanson (Rush Hour 2) returns with a script that felt as if it were ripped out of a Food Network recipe book: 1) Take the African-American male and the Asian male, then combine using a mixture of ethnic jokes, wild stunts and predictable villains. 2) Microwave on high for 90 minutes. 3) Plate your dish, and garnish with something pretty so that the audience is convinced what they're watching is something fresh and original, instead of old, stale and repetitive. 4) Serve your meal with a smile, and cross those fingers -- $25 million is a lot of money for a piece of meat that's been sitting in the freezer for six years. Enjoy!