Thursday, August 9, 2007

Rush Hour 3, Audience Nothing

Comic hijinx that make you root for the bad guys in...
Rush Hour 3

Summer sequels tend to dredge up all sorts of negative feelings for me. The screeching freak show known to captive audiences far and wide as Chris Tucker also taps a plentiful well of disgust and contempt deep within me. So, needless to say, Brett Ratner summer sequels that keep Chris Tucker gainfully employed inspire dizzying levels of spite and malice. There is simply too much hate here to focus properly.

What’s there not to hate about this end of the summer suck fest? Martial arts has-been Jackie Chan and comedy never-was Chris Tucker take the tired buddy-cop routine overseas yet again, this time traveling to France to battle the Chinese Triads, which of course makes perfect sense. It should really be a warning sign when a franchise’s sequels visit more foreign locations than 80’s sitcom families during one-hour season finale episodes. The whole tired ordeal would be bad enough on its own. But now, add Brett Ratner and Chris Tucker.

Brett Ratner and Chris Tucker are a destructive pair of hellish minions to say the least, two highly paid professionals who are given piles of money for talent that has yet to be fully demonstrated. It’s actually a bit difficult to decide which one is the bigger hack.

Apart from a couple of Urban Comedies and Dramas, Tarantino’s disappointing Jackie Brown, and a supporting role in Luc Besson’s stunningly obnoxious and atrocious Fifth Element, Chris Tucker has mainly been Ratner’s demonic little imp, mugging for the camera and pretending to be funny while hundreds of stunt coordinators and special effects artists do their best to entertain the audience and distract them from the excruciating pain inflicted by his high-pitched screeches meant to pass as humorous dialogue.

Ratner’s may have racked up a bit more than Tucker’s six movies in ten years, but this is partly because he takes time out between his own series installments to completely fuck up other respectable franchises. Not just content on poisoning the entertainment pool with his own stream of action/comedy urine, he went out of his way to take a huge dump on Brian Singer’s X-Men movies and completely bastardize the classic Red Dragon adaptation Manhunter, proving that any franchise he touches becomes corrupted and vile. He even tried to start up another one by producing a Money Talks 2, so we could have an even bigger annual exposure to Chris Tucker.

The one I feel bad for through all of this is Jackie Chan. Granted, America’s love fest with Jackie died out around quite awhile ago, even if it didn’t end in time to stop Around the World in 80 Days from happening. But love him or hate him, the man is a veteran of the action film industry both in front of and behind the camera, with over a hundred films to his name and a fan base so fanatical that it makes the Elvis crowd seem unmotivated. (If you disagree with the Elvis statement, just tell me how many women set themselves on fire because they’d never be Mrs. Presley. I didn’t think so). Meanwhile, good old Brett manages to negotiate a $20,000,000 paycheck for Tucker’s Rush Hour 3 performance, undoubtedly so high because Chris Tucker is such an amazingly popular actor that he’s appeared in no other films except Ratner’s since 1997.

There really isn’t an ending to this film that would inspire me to watch it, but I do dream of a specific ending to the franchise. My little fantasy involves stunt rehearsals for Rush Hour 4: New Zealand Triads, with Jackie Chan walking Chris Tucker through a fight sequence the two will be performing together. Jackie decides that the time is right, and when the two of them go into a dive roll together, he slips his arm around Tuckers neck and snaps it like a stale pretzel rod. The sound of cartilage ripping and vertebrae separating stuns the onlookers into frozen silence, and they all watch what they will later describe as Jackie’s fruitless attempts at CPR, but which are actually powerful blows delivered to Chris Tucker’s sternum to ensure that his heart beats no more. They will easily mistake his tears of joy for agonized bereavement, and while they will later swear that he called out for someone to call for an ambulance, the sentence muttered under his breath in his native tongue is a solemn vow, “The nightmare ends here.”

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