Rush Hour 3 is an abomination of a movie. No part of its story, comedy, or action is worth even a second of your time. Which isn’t surprising, when you consider that it was directed by the all-around cretin that is Brett Rather and has an uncredited cameo by Roman Polanski.
However, while Rush Hour 3 fails with all of its cinematic intentions, I must finally admit that there’s one element of the 2007 buddy-comedy action flick that always delivers for me.
I am, of course, referring to the blooper reel that plays during its closing credits, which always made me giggle like a child. When I first watched Rush Hour 3 upon its release in 2007, that was the only aspect of the film that actually made me laugh. A lot. Not enough for me to pay to see it again. When people criticized the movie, while I’d agree with their conclusion, I’d also quickly add the caveat, “At least the bloopers were funny.” It always fell on deaf ears. In fact, I would often feel them quietly judging my taste.
I was really hoping that, years after Rush Hour 3’s release, I wouldn’t still find the sight of Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker goofing around on set, messing up their lines, and having such a fun time making this drivel so enjoyable.
A few days ago, inspired by this momentous anniversary, I decided to put my sense of humor to the test. Maybe I’d matured since the last time I’d watch the movie, years ago. Maybe my childish love of Rush Hour’s bloopers was just a phase. Maybe I’d be so disgusted by my previous predilection for this tomfoolery that I’d then order and maybe even read a P.G. Wodehouse novel.
Instead, I was once again utterly delighted by Rush Hour 3’s on-set mistakes. Instantly, I could see just how happy Chan and Tucker were to be reunited with each other in front of a camera. I also enjoyed the tiny insight into how much sweat and effort is required by the pair to either create a laugh or complete a stunt. All of which just comes naturally to them.
The rush of nostalgia also convinced me to instantly click onto the blooper reels for its two predecessors, too. After briefly wondering exactly where and when my cultural taste had soured, I decided to forget the naysayers and actually embrace this guiltiest of pleasures.
Rush Hour 3 is full of predictable, scripted jokes that are telegraphed from a mile way. But its bloopers are funny because you can never see them coming. Tucker saying, “For the last three years, I’ve studied the ancient teaching of booty,” instead of, “Buddha,” shouldn’t provoke such a hysterical reaction. But there’s clearly so much pressure on the cast and crew to deliver a fun and entertaining movie that when someone makes an innocent mistake like this, it gives everyone on set the chance to relax and break the tension.
The booming sound of laughter from behind the camera is so pure and contagious that the good vibes travel through the screen and inspire you to feel the same.
My own personal favorite goofs are Tucker screaming at Hiroyuki Sanada’s villainous Kenji, “You’ve been trying to kill us ever since the start of this damn movie,” and then Tucker pleading to Chan, “I’m not your brother? [After] all the stuff we’ve been through—Rush Hour 1, Rush Hour 2.” These quips are just so simple and instant, there’s no time to even think about why they’re funny. You just have to laugh at their quick-paced absurdity.
Seeing the way that Tucker and Chan interact during these spontaneous moments proves just how much affection they genuinely have for each other, too. Even when Chan is struggling with his lines, Tucker sits next to him patiently and offers an encouraging giggle. Their organic patter helps explain how the Rush Hour trilogy went on to gross just under $850 million worldwide, despite such middling reviews.
It’s not just laughs that the Rush Hour 3 bloopers provide. You even get to see how much Chan is willing to put his body on the line for these movies. An errant knife just misses him as he dangles off the edge of a doorknob and he flips a wooden stool straight into his throat. Sure he’s being paid handsomely. But rather than using a stunt double, he’s the one going to incredibly lengths all for our entertainment. At the age of 53, too.
Does all of this suddenly make Rush Hour 3 a good movie? No. It’s still dumb and forgettable. But the bloopers are a reminder that no one makes a bad film intentionally, and everyone involved is just trying their best. Even when they mess up.