Who's in It:
Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Max von Sydow
The Basics: They fight some bad guys in Paris. But whatever. The most important thing about this movie is that it may, in fact, be the last cinematic outpost of the word Chinaman. Tucker is allowed free reign with this retro insult in the same way that Chan is given a pass to, in one scene, visually substitute a plate of fried chicken for time spent with his "brother from another mother." Lowest-common-denominator exploitation or post-racial-tension enlightenment? The discussion can begin.
What's the Deal? Call me lowbrow, but I like it when Tucker squeals and sings stupid songs and screams like a prepubescent. I just do. And I'd like it better if the things he screamed were just this much more funny than they are. Because it wouldn't cost anyone anything for the script to be sharper. You could still have all the dopey slapstick gags and still appeal to people who don't quite get all the jokes. At least in a perfect world, you could do that. As it is, I laughed several times here, but now I don't remember any of the things I laughed at.
Jackie Chan Minus Stunt Insanity Equals Him Being Just Some Guy: Clearly, he's now getting too old to do all his own stunts, or this movie wouldn't be so dependent on cutaway shots of him rolling on the ground after the major jumping/leaping/crashing task is completed. And that leaves charm, acting and comedy skills. And in English, those are still none of his strengths. Just see the flabbergastingly awesome Drunken Master 2 if you think I'm lying.
My Favorite Part: I'd say it was the hospital shootout scene, but they goof it up by staging it so that the hospital is magically free of patients, doctors and nurses, and only the main guys are in any danger. Nothing takes you out of a movie like a "Hey, what gives?" thought like that. Or I'd say it's the fight scene that takes place high up on the Eiffel Tower, but then that seems superfake-y, too, no matter what Mr. Chan claims in interviews. So I think my favorite bit is the scene where they eat lunch as this sidewalk café that I ate at last summer when I went to Paris. It took me out of the movie, too, but at least I could think, Wow, I had a croque-monsieur there!
What's Funnier Than This Movie: The interview that director Brett Ratner recently gave to The Advocate about all sorts of dirty stuff that I can't really repeat here. But it goes where this movie would like to if only it were allowed to be anything more than PG-13.