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March 8, 2008
Rush Hour 3 Blu-Ray Movie Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
27/9/200713/2/2008Village RoadshowBrett Ratner
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
VC-1DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1MChris Tucker
Jackie Chan

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They're back, bigger and louder!
As a franchise few come bigger then this. Rush Hour grossed $US244 million worldwide. Rush Hour 2 grossed $US347 million worldwide. Was there ever any doubt that there would be a third movie made? What was surprising was that the third movie took well over six years to make it to cinemas. The problem with such a lengthy gap is that studios run the risk that the franchise loses favour with the audience, and that they have moved onto other things. That doesn't seem to have been the case here. Despite weaker reviews Rush Hour 3 still managed to take in an impressive $US255 million around the world. Now available on Blu-Ray this is another stunning release from New Line.

Rush Hour 3 sees Detective James Carter (Chris Tucker) and Chief Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan) living quite separate lives following an unfortunate incident between the two. When an assassination is aimed toward Ambassador Han, whom Lee is now a personal bodyguard, the two former friends are thrust together to solve the case. It's a case that takes them to Paris where they confront deadly Triads, beautiful women, an angry cabbie and an invasive French inspector to uncover the secret at the heart of the Triad syndicate, and a secret which Inspector Lee has kept to himself for years.

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Soo Yung returns, older and needing a bra!
It's probably not a surprise to hear that you don't need to read the reviews to know if you'll enjoy this movie or not. Basically if you liked the first two Rush Hour movies then you're more then likely to enjoy this, even if it is the inferior picture of the three. Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan slip back into their roles perfectly and it's clear their chemistry grows with every picture, and the movie is filled with all the comedy and action sequences one could ever hope for including a brilliant climax on the Eiffel Tower. Sure most of it is CG'd (as you can see in the special features on this release), but it looks wonderful with some quite intense moments and great stunt work.

Fortunately the supporting cast is also impressive and includes some big names who have become fans of the series for years. Legendary director Roman Polanski plays a French Policeman and is pretty hilarious, Max von Sydow plays the role of Varden Reynard, Tzi Ma reprises his role as Ambassador Han, and Yvan Attal as the cab driver George is a real gem for this movie as he transforms from someone who hates everything American to someone totally in love with the lifestyle - until his wife steps in! Noémie Lenoir who plays the leading lady Genevieve is someone that Brett Ratner had had his eye on for some time and we can see why. Not only is she simply gorgeous but can act when required.

While I enjoyed Rush Hour 3 very much as a movie, it is fair to say that it is the weakest in the trilogy. There are still quite a few laughs, and some of the action sequences are impressive, but the plot is pretty thin (yes, thinner then the original movies!).

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Max von Sydow plays the role of Varden Reynard.
Using the VC-1 codec the video quality on this release is quite astounding. Details are rich and I was quite astonished to see that the bitrate typically hovers around the 12-20Mbps mark, well below many other releases, but it's a transfer that far exceeds many others using a much higher bitrate. Obviously the fact that the movie was released in cinemas only months ago means we get a pristine transfer which is devoid of any dirt or film artifacts while even the grain levels are extremely low. We did notice there were a couple of scenes that were slightly blurrier then we remembered seeing them in the cinema. Having said that, all-in-all this is another stunning Blu-Ray transfer from New Line.

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Carter directing traffic, among other things.
Equal to the task is the brilliant audio on this Blu-Ray release. New Line have provided a cracking DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track however, as usual, we were restricted to the 1.5Mbps core DTS track due to the limitations of the Playstation 3.

Having said that even in this 'dumbed down' version this was one of the best audio presentations we have ever experienced. From start to finish there is an aggressive use of directional sound as well as sub-woofer. Even if you're limited to 5.1 audio you're going to be impressed, with 7.1 you're going to go nuts about this movie. Dialogue is always clear, the only exception being the dialogue from the almost 8 foot tall Chinese giant Sun Ming Ming who plays the Kung Fu expert fighting Lee and Tucker in the Karate club - his dialogue is somewhat muffled, but given his size is understandable.

Music has always been a major part of the series and yet again Lalo Schifrin has composed the score for the movie, which ties in perfectly to the scores which he created for the two previous movies in the series. Brett Ratner had always wanted to used Lalo Schifrin since he saw the classic 1973 movie Enter the Dragon starring Bruce Lee.

Besides the cracking English DTS-HD Master Audio track the disc contains no other audio tracks, and there is only one subtitle track, that being English. The subtitle track is quite accurate to dialogue on screen.

In typical New Line fashion the extras provided on this 2-disc set are very impressive indeed. As well as an interesting audio commentary this release comes packed with almost 3 hours of brilliant documentaries and featurettes all of which are presented in High Definition.

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Yvan Attal is hilarious as cab driver George.
Audio Commentary with Director Brett Ratner and Writer Jeff Nathanson: The two participants provide some great detail about the production of this movie, where they were filming, the actors and so on. The two participants get on quite well, and this is well worth a listen. Then again you could watch them talking in the Enhanced Visual Commentary which contains exactly the same audio.

Enhanced Visual Commentary with Director Brett Ratner and Writer Jeff Nathanson: This is the same content as the Audio Commentary however the two participants can now be seen in a small window so you can see them talking. To be honest this was disappointing as, unlike the 'Beyond the Beat' visual commentary on Hairspray which had behind the scenes footage and concept art shown, this Visual Commentary only shows two people sitting still while talking. In terms of actual content they do discuss some interesting points about the films development so it is still worth watching (well, listening to anyway).

Theatrical Trailer (2:16/HD): The theatrical trailer for Rush Hour 3. Presented in High Definition using the VC-1 Codec.

While the first disc has some good extras it's the second disc that contains the bulk of the content which we shall now look at.

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The gorgeous Noémie Lenoir as Genevieve.
Outtakes (2:33/HD): A series of fluffed lines and goofs during filming. Pretty amusing although a little on the brief side.

Deleted and Alternate Scenes (7:33/HD): Seven deleted or alternate/extended scenes are presented in High Definition. There's some pretty good stuff here and it's well worth looking. These scenes also include an optional commentary with Director Brett Ratner and Writer Jeff Nathanson

Making Rush Hour 3 (88:11/HD): Now this is what we call a documentary. With a runtime which is equal to that of the movie this documentary covers almost every aspect of writing the movie, designing costumes and sets, filming, audio effects, and creating the score. There is plenty of detail here, and tonnes of behind the scenes.

Visual Effects Reel (2:03/HD): A far to brief look at the visual effects created for the movie by ILM. This short clip focuses on the Eiffel Tower fight sequences. It certainly demonstrates how much CG was used, but is only set to music so we don't learn anything at all about the processes that took place to create the stunning visuals.

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Where does Brett Ratner get these hot bad-asses?!
Le Rush Hour Trios: Production Diary (65:05/HD): A great Handy Cam diary by Brett Ratner which focuses on the entire production of Rush Hour 3 from scouting locations, to costume test, to filming and post production. This is all fly-on-the-wall type video footage which offers some more fantastic details about the movie although I desperately wanted an audio commentary on this as well. Still we do see some dates, and titles for different parts so we know what is going on. This feature is presented in HD using the VC-1 codec although the quality of the video is quite variable, wile the audio is 2 channel DTS at 255kbps.

Rush Hour 3 is a movie which I enjoyed quite a bit. It's not quite as good as the first two movies, but the chemistry is still there between Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker and some of the set pieces are amazing, including the movies climax. Yet again Village Roadshow has produced a 2-disc Blu-Ray release worthy of the format with a brilliant transfer and a selection of extras that is sure to satisfy. This is well worth adding to your collection.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Village Roadshow. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.