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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Rush Hour 3 (review)

Can you understand the words that are comin’ outta my mouth? This is racist, bullying garbage. Okay, fine, if Chris Tucker, a black man, can stand whoring himself out to play a blackface caricature, with his ignorant buffoonery, singsongy voice, and unleashed horniness, like something out of KKK propaganda, that’s his choice, and who am I, as a white woman, to refuse him that freedom? But the passive-aggressive celebration of unbridled American belligerence at the center of this pointless three-quel? That I feel totally justified in railing against. As Tucker’s and Jackie Chan’s (Around the World in 80 Days) cops race around Paris, trying to discover the name of the secret leader of the Asian mob (his identity is perfectly obvious from a quick glance at a list of the cast), they corral a French cab driver (Yvan Attal [Bon Voyage]; I hope to god the paycheck was worth the debasement) whom Tucker forces at gunpoint to say he loves America; later, the driver’s Stockholm syndrome comes full circle as he discovers “what it feels like to kill for no reason,” just like a real Yankee! The “passive” part comes only in that this is meant to be “comedy,” and hence supposedly offered with fingers crossed behind the back, an out for the filmmakers to call it “satire” when called on it. The attitude is all aggressive, and represents a new low in bad-Americanism. On the other hand, it makes it hardly worth complaining about the juvenile level of the “humor” — which ranges from making fun of fat women to subjecting the “heroes” to anal violation — or fauxteur Brett Ratner’s (X-Men: The Last Stand) inept, inelegant direction. Maybe the title refers to the traffic jam of people rushing to exit the theater?

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MPAA: rated PG-13 for sequences of action violence, sexual content, nudity and language

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb
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