In its third incarnation, this once-amusing, East-West, globe-trotting franchise simply fizzles, particularly in comparison with The Bourne Ultimatum.
When Chinese Ambassador Han (Tzi Ma) and his now-20-year-old daughter Soo Yung (Zhang Jingchu) are in Los Angeles, hes shot in an assassination attempt just as hes about to publicly identify a gangland leader at the World Criminal Court. (These two Asian characters appeared in the original Rush Hour.)
In his capacity as Hans bodyguard, Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan) pursues the culprit, only to discover that the hit man is Kenji (Hiroyuki Sanada), a brother with whom he grew up in a Chinese orphanage. Kenji works with an international crime syndicate known as the Triads, now based in France. Teaming up, once again, with LAPD detective Carter (Chris Tucker), who has been demoted to traffic duty and witnessed Lees chase after Kenji, the ever-bickering duo take off for Paris, where most of the action takes place.
Experienced Rush Hour screenwriter Jeff Nathanson and director Brett Ratner maintain the odd-couple, buddy-cop concept if not the momentum. The climactic acrobatic conflict is staged at night on the exposed beams high atop the Eiffel Tower.
Despite their obvious camaraderie, Jackie Chan is aging, stunt-wise, and Chris Tuckers comedy has gone stale. Newcomers on the scene are Yves Attal as a virulently anti-American taxi driver, Julie Depardieu as his Parisian wife, Noemie Lenoir as the exotic and mysterious Genevieve, and Max von Sydow as enigmatic Reynard, head of the World Criminal Court. Director Roman Polanski appears in an uncredited cameo as a sadistic Gallic police chief. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Rush Hour 3 is a formulaic 5 which probably will not discourage loyal fans from lining up at the box-office.