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RUSH HOUR 3 (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 12, 2009 by  



“’RUSH HOUR 3′ may simply be the weakest of the trilogy thus far but the Blu-ray release is absolutely wonderful.  Awesome picture and audio quality plus two discs of special features.  Fans of the film will definitely enjoy this High Definition transfer!”

Images courtesy of © 2007 New Line Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: RUSH HOUR 3

DURATION: 86 minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 2:35:1 Widescreen, English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

COMPANY:  New Line Home Entertainment

RATED: PG-13 (For Sequences of Action Violence, Sexual Content, Nudity and Language)

Release Date:  December 23, 2007

Directed by Brett Ratner

Characters by Ross LaManna

Written by Jeff Nathanson

Executive Producers:  Toby Emmerich

Produced by Roger Birnbaum, Andrew Z. Davis, Jonathan Glickman, Arthur M. Sarkissian, Jay Stern

Co-Producer: Leon Dudevoir, James M. Freitag

Associated Producer: David Gorder, Darryl Jones

Music by Lalo Schifrin

Director of Photography: J. Michael Muro

Edited by Mark Helfrich, Dean Zimmerman, Don Zimmerman

Casting by David Kang, Ronna Kress

Production Design by Ed Verreaux

Art Direction: Chad S. Frey, Grag Papalia

Set Decoration by Kate J. Sullivan

Costume Design by Betsy Heimann

Starring:

Christ Tucker as Carter

Jackie Chan as Lee

Max von Sydow as Reynard

Hiroyuki Sanada as Kenji

Yvan Attal as George

Youki Kudoh as Dragon Lady

Noemie Lenoir as Genevieve

Jingchu Zhang as Soo Yung

Tzi Ma as Ambassador Han

Dana Ivey as Sister Agnes

Henry O as Master Yu

Mingming Sun as Kung Fu Giant

Roman Polansi as the French Police Official

When a Chinese criminal mastermind flees to Paris, there’s only one culture-clashed, crime-fighting duo for the job.  Ready to raise hell in the city of lights, Chief Inspector Lee (Chan) and Detective Carter (Tucker) instead get caught in an explosive battle between the French police, the Triad gang and two gorgeous female fatales!  With everybody kung fu fighting to the top of the Eiffel Tower, this one-two punch of hilarious action doesn’t let up until the final heart-stopping au revoir!

For those who have been fans of the previous two “Rush Hour” films, it had been six years since the second film and many people highly anticipating the reunion of Director Brett Ratner (“X-Men: The Last Stand”, “Red Dragon” and “Money Talks”) and talents Jackie Chan (“Supercop”, “Shanghai Noon” and “The Forbidden Kingdom”) and Chris Tucker (“Jackie Brown”, “Money Talks” and “The Fifth Element”).

Joining Brett is fellow “Rush Hour 2” screenwriter Jeff Nathanson (“The Terminal”, “Catch Me If You Can” and “Speed 2: Cruise Control”), composer Lalo Schifrin (“Mission: Impossible” films, “Money Talks” and “The Sting II”) and cinematographer J. Michael Muro (“Southland”, “Traitor” and “Crash”).

Because six years have passed, the film came out in the Summer of 2007 and with the excitement and comedy of the first two films, many fans were awaiting what would be in store for the third film.

The film was not exactly well-received by critics but “RUSH HOUR 3” is a film that manages to bring people to theaters who want a comedy/action flick to enjoy for the Summer.  The film which cost $140 million to make, grossed over $255 million worldwide and thus, paving way for a new “RUSH HOUR 4” film scheduled anywhere between 2010-2012.

The film revolves around Lee (Jackie Chan) providing the security for Ambassador Han (Tzi Ma) who is addressing the World Criminal Court in regards to the fight against the Triads, he makes the startling announcement that he knows the whereabouts of Shy Shen.

Immediately, a bullet is shot and pierces the windows and hits Han.  Lee sees the assassin climbing down from a building and immediately pursues.  This catches the attention of Lee’s former LAPD partner Carter  (Chris Tucker) who goes out to lend his help to Lee.

When Lee catches up to the assassin, he finds out it is a person he knows from his past, a man named Kenji (Hiroyuki Sanada).  Kenji taunts Lee, knowing that he won’t shoot (because they grew up from the same orphanage and have treated each other as brothers).  When Carter arrives, Kenji escapes and Lee is surprised about his confrontation with Kenji.

When Lee and Carter arrive to the hospital to check on Ambassador Han, his daughter Soo-Yung (Zhang Jingchu, and a character who was seen from the first film) is now grown up and has both Lee and Carter promise to her that they will do what they can to stop the assassin and both make their promise.

Immediately, assassins come to kill Ambassador Han in the hospital but are stopped by Carter and Lee.  Soo-Yung tells them that her father gave her an envelope with important information in regards to the Triad and they must retrieve the letter at the martial arts school that she works at.

After another brush with assassins, the group learn they must go to France to look for whatever Shy Shen may be.  After a failed bombing incident, Soo-Yung is left to the care of the French Ambassador, Reynard (Max bon Sydow), who is the chairman of the World Criminal Court.

While in France, immediately both Lee and Carter are treated badly by the French police commissioner (Roman Polanski) who has them beaten by telephone books and does a cavity search.  Their taxi driver George (Yvan Attal) complains about “Americans always are the most violent on Earth” and gets on their case.

But although their first day in France may not be the best experience, Carter meets the beautiful Genevieve (Noemie Lenoir) and Lee meets a woman (played by Youki Kudoh) who says she can provide him answers to the person he is looking for.

But both men learn that the women they meet are not exactly nice women and Lee will need to confront Kenji once again.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

When “RUSH  HOUR 3” was released on Blu-ray back in December 2007, the Blu-ray release received the highest marks for its picture and audio quality.  With the Blu-ray release now over a year old, I am revisiting the film and seeing how it compares to the current releases of today.

The film sports a 1080p High Definition (2:35:1) transfer.  The film is definitely vibrant with many outdoor shots during the sunny day and detail featured during the Los Angeles and French scenes in the film.  The picture quality is not soft, lighting is definitely featured prominently in this film as its one thing to get vibrant colors during the outdoor scenes but in one nightclub scene, the colors that come through during the choreography screen shows how low-light combined with the various blue and purple lighting are equally vibrant and blacks are a nice and deep.

Even today, “RUSH HOUR 3” is still a vibrant looking film that retains its grain and overall, a great looking film on Blu-ray.

As for audio, I really enjoy these 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless soundtracks and one thing you will notice from “RUSH HOUR 3” is that the soundtrack sounds absolutely nice.  Maybe not as much punch as a “Quantum of Solace” or “Transformers: The Movie” but the film manages to utilize all channels on my 7.2 system setup.  Rear surrounds are used primarily to enhance the music and certain sound effects which were nice.  Surrounds definitely made certain scenes feel immersive but for the most part, dialogue is clear (although some scenes by both Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan may be a bit difficult to understand at times and you may need to rewind the scene to better understand what is going on). Overall, a solid lossless audio soundtrack.

As for subtitles, subtitles are presented in English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“RUSH HOUR 3” is definitely a Blu-ray release that deserves attention for picture and audio quality but the film also manages to include hours of special features which were quite enjoyable and all are featured in 1080p HD.

DISC 1:

  • Audio commentary by Director Brett Rather and Jeff Nathanson – People can listen to the commentary throughout the film or by enabling the Enhanced Visual Commentary which features both men in a picture-in-picture screen.  The Enhanced Visual Commentary didn’t need any changing of Blu-ray audio setup like some Blu-rays will need for P-I-P display.  But as far as the commentary is concerned, both men go into the making of the film, working with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker again and the other talents used in the film and much more.  A very entertaining commentary by both men.
  • Trailer – The original theatrical trailer for the film.

DISC 2:

  • Outtakes – (2:33) The outtakes from the film.
  • Deleted/Alternate Scenes – (7:12) People can watch seven deleted and alternate scenes including an alternate ending with optional commentary by Director Brett Ratner and Screenwriter Jeff Nathanson.  Here is what is included:  Extended Airplane, Extended Taxi, Extended Elevator, Hotel Hallway, Spotlight Guy: Follies, Extended Eiffel Tower, and Alternate Ending.  For the most part, both are rather humorous when discussing these scenes, scenes they wish they didn’t cut out but most interesting is Ratner and Nathanson’s discussion about the alternative ending and not sure why they created that.
  • Making of “RUSH HOUR 3” – (1:28:10) Literally, the making of “RUSH HOUR 3” from the script to the cast and the music.  Interviews with crew and talent and more.  Very in-depth featurette of what Nathanson wanted to accomplish with the script and what Ratner wanted to accomplish with the casting a worldwide talent of characters and more.  Here is what is included in this segment (can be watched ala “View All” or separately):

– The Story, The Script

– Casting the Rush

– Teaming Up

– Creating the Rush: Scene by Scene

– Cuts, Sound & Music

  • Visual Effects Reel – (2:03) An interesting look at various scenes and using digital characters instead of real life characters and going through scenes that looked real but were in CG.
  • Le Rush Hour Trois Production Diary -(1:05:05) A very candid look at Bret Ratner making “Rush Hour 3” and the challenge the crew faced with the making of this film.  Including behind-the-scenes footage of certain scenes, what happened off camera and more.  Very fun to watch and informative.

EASTER EGGS:

There are two Easter Eggs.  The first is on Disc 2 and pressing up on “Visual Effects Reel” in the main menu.  You will see a logo show up and when you click on it, you will get a short video with Jackie Chan and Hiroyuki Sanada’s characters fighting with light sabers.  The other is on subtitles and selecting the New Line Cinema logo to access credits for the film.

I really enjoyed “RUSH HOUR” and “RUSH HOUR 2”.  Both films manage to showcase a good amount of humor and action and this odd couple manage to successfully bring in people to the theaters because you know that it’s a fun film to watch.  Both Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker are so unlike and they are the ultimate odd couple on screen but they manage to make it work.

But “RUSH HOUR” films are not films to expect a deep storyline.  If anything, there are many racial jokes on both sides of the film and as evident from the special features, there are lines that Jackie Chan has no idea what he’s saying, nor does he know what they mean.

“RUSH HOUR 3” is simply a film that you just don’t want to expect anything more from.  The laughs, the actions, the camaraderie are enough.

But with the Ratner and crew trying to come up with a new story six years later, I felt the movie felt as if it was rushed.  I felt that the duo dynamic was subdued. Similar to the “Odd Couple”, these two are quite the opposites and both Lee and Carter who have now become good friends, like brothers was fine but it’s been far too long since these Ratner, Chan and Tucker have worked with each other.

Chris Tucker did a fine role as Carter but for some reason, as much as I know Jackie Chan is a popular singer in Asia, I suppose that I wanted to see more action-based scenes with him rather than many singing scenes. It just seemed out of place. But knowing that Chan who was 53-years-old at the time, is not going to be doing a lot of action scenes as he did back in 1998 when the first film was released in theaters.  And if the fourth film is released in 2012, I’m not sure how much we can expect from, especially now as he wants to focus on serious films in Asia.

Also, I felt the character of George (The taxi driver) was a bit overused.  Fine for the first time but seeing him evolve as a character, again, with the film focused on Lee and Carter, seeing the character George being so prominent seemed a bit off.

Max von Sydow has always managed to have this mysterious allure to him.  From the 1975 film “Three Days of the Condor” to “RUSH HOUR 3”, the roles that he tends to play makes those familiar with his work automatically know where his character as Reynard is going to go.   But I felt there could have been much more potential with his character.

I really enjoyed Hiroyuki Sanada as Kenji.  His role as an action star in Japan was definitely showcased in “RUSH HOUR 3”.   It was also great to see Ratner utilizing other worldwide talents such as Jingchu Zhang, Youki Kudoh and Noemie Lenoir.

But in the end, I was entertained by “RUSH HOUR 3”.  There are some major laughs and action sequences in the film that manage to capture the soul of the “RUSH HOUR” films and on Blu-ray, you get a wonderful transfer with outstanding picture and audio quality and hours of special features which were enjoyable to watch.

For fans of the film or the trilogy, “RUSH HOUR 3” is a wonderful Blu-ray release.  Unfortunately, the film’s storyline doesn’t quite match the awesomeness of the Blu-ray release but nevertheless, it’s a very entertaining, solid Blu-ray!  Definitely worth checking out!

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