Rush Hour 3 Blu-ray Review
PictureEven if the movie itself is not as good as the previous two, the Blu-ray presentation is certainly one of the better representations on the market, coming blasting to your screen in 1080p High Definition glory in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio or 2.35:1 widescreen. Detail is fantastic throughout, from the facial close-ups to the longer shots - you can see the beads of sweat on the actors' faces - and there is no noticeable softness, grain or digital artefacting. Sure you expect a clean, pristine look for such a recent production but it is still nice that it does not disappoint. The colour scheme is broad and vibrant, with the many different tones depicted realistically, up to and including the solid blacks that allow for superb shadowing and night-time sequences. Overall it is a wonderful-looking movie on Blu-ray.
SoundAnd if the video quality does not impress you then the outstanding DTS 7.1 track should. Sure, few of us have the capabilities of getting the most out of this track but between this and the alternative Dolby Digital EX offering, the results are amazing. Dialogue comes across never less than crystal clear and coherent (in so far as the script intends it to be!), largely from the fronts and centre channels. The sound effects are often from the physical comedy - body blows, furniture damage, car crashes, shootouts, sword-fights and so on - and are given great spatiality and directionality across the surround channels, encroaching upon the rears whenever required. The score is your standard Rush Hour affair, perfectly suited to the material and, of course, having the familiar Rush Hour theme included on it too. The music is well chosen and brings the scenes alive during the action sequences, also giving the surrounds plenty to do. There is even some LFE action, which is somewhat unusual in an action-comedy vehicle like this. Overall it is a superb effort.
ExtrasFirst up, Director Brett Ratner and Writer Jeff Nathanson provide a Picture-in-Picture Video Commentary, which is basically just an Audio Commentary where you can see the two guys who are recording it. Not that I'm complaining - it's great to finally see some PIP stuff on Blu-ray after over a year of getting their software right, but at the same time HD DVD has been providing better offerings than this for quite some time now: i.e. PIP tracks which offer behind the scenes footage and interview snippets with other cast/crew members, not just show you the two guys talking. To rub it in further, it should be noted that the Audio Commentary is exactly the same, except without the picture in the corner of your screen - how pointless is that? From a background information point of view, there are plenty of snippets about creating a new Rush Hour instalment, making the stunts good, giving the cast room to shine (I laughed when I heard that they had to write in Polanski's cameo at the last minute - as you can clearly tell that it is an utterly unnecessary addition) and getting the script right! The end result is amusingly far from the picture that they appear to be describing, but fans will still like to hear all of the trivia about this production, and I'm glad that production companies are finally starting to churn out PIP stuff on Blu-ray, even if it is a little wasted here. The only other extra on the first disc is the Theatrical Trailer.
On the second disc we get a newfound wealth of bonus features. Here we get a two-and-a-half-minute Outtakes Reel, which has plenty more line fluffs, incomprehensible dialogue and some painful-looking stunts, almost all involving Chan's poor English and his lightning-fast moves backfiring. Not quite as good as the Outtakes at the end of the movie, they still mark a welcome addition for any fan of the stars or the franchise. There are also 7 Deleted/Extended Scenes with Optional Commentary by Director Brett Ratner and Writer Jeff Nathanson. Some of them are extended by a few lines, others are entirely new scenes and whilst there is nothing outstanding here (no extended fighting) most of it could have been left in - it would not have done any harm in what is an extremely short production.
The “Making Rush Hour 3” Documentary is split into The Story, The Script; Casting the Rush; Teaming Up; Creating the Rush (split into 9 key action sequences); and Cuts, Sounds and Music. Totalling an hour and a half of Behind the Scenes information, this is actually longer than the main feature itself. We get everything from some nice interviews with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker to plenty of b-roll footage of the movie being rehearsed and shot. Sure, it can be a little too promotional (not only do they state that this is better than the first two Rush Hour movies put together, but they also use far too much final film footage to pad out the proceedings) but this is still a mammoth, comprehensive offering that has plenty to offer.
Le Rush Hour Trois Production Diary is almost as overwhelming, split into no less than 25 sections (normally locations seen in the movie) and lasting over an hour. Much less glamorous than the Documentary, it offers a much more fly-on-the-wall approach to the production, giving you camcorder footage of the cast and crew preparing and performing for the movie. Brett Ratner takes centre stage and the offering is presented in such a disjointed fashion (each segment lasting mere seconds) that it can be hard to sit through at times, but there are some momentary gems, including screen tests and contributions from the main leads. The Companion Visual Effects Reel almost pales into insignificance alongside the rest of the Behind the Scenes material, taking a paltry two minutes to dissect the closing Eiffel Tower fight, breaking it down using CG models and split-screen comparisons. I have no idea why they couldn't include this as one of the parts in the Making-of as it seems somewhat out of place on its own here the other two monoliths.
VerdictRush Hour 3 is another unnecessary sequel, made by the man who single-handedly botched up the X-Men franchise. As a long-time fan of Jackie Chan, and even the first Rush Hour movie, it was a true shame to see that things have gotten this... mediocre. This is not even a so-bad-it's-good movie, it's just plain average. Technically, the Blu-ray release of this movie is outstanding, a far cry from the quality of the movie itself, and we even get a second disc packed with extras that fans will enjoy checking out, but this is still one strictly for those fans - and anybody else would probably be better off buying Chan's earlier efforts or even the previous Rush Hour movies. With very little new to offer, this one is only really worth a cautious rental.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.79
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