I Hate America 

Thanks a Lot, Rush Hour 3

It should be noted that I actually kind of liked the first two Rush Hour movies. I didn't love them, and I'm in no hurry to see them again, but they didn't inspire bewildered anger in my heart, which is more than I can say for Brett Ratner's latest crapfest.

The ridiculous plot of Rush Hour 3 is hardly worth delving into here: Suffice it to say that Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan have to take down the "world's largest criminal organization," which is run by Chinese bad guys, even though the movie is set in Paris. I'm sure you know the formula: Chris Tucker sings falsetto; Jackie Chan tries to stay awake through the final stage of his career; and the two of them close the movie by singing the song "War (What Is it Good For?)" at the base of the Eiffel Tower.

But taken with just the most rudimentary level of analysis, Tucker, the movie's "loveable" star, is the embodiment of America's crass, violent arrogance. Early in the movie, we learn that he's in trouble with his police sergeant for illegally imprisoning American doctors of Iranian descent. His defense? "You know they looked like terrorists! Just because they cured cancer in a bunch of mice doesn't mean they aren't planning to blow shit up, too!" (Big audience laugh here). Later, when Tucker and Chan run into some surprisingly well-articulated anti-Americanism in Paris, Tucker's character puts a pistol to a Frenchman's head and makes him sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at gunpoint.

What's more perturbing, though, is that director Brett Ratner seems to be directly endorsing this type of mentality. Ratner goes out of his way to include these topical references in his movie, but the message seems to be that this is just a charming part of being American, and that all will be forgiven if you simply follow unprovoked brutality with a snappy one-liner like, "Yeah, I'm his brother... from another mother!" That, and shuffling away to an anti-war pop song while countless dead bodies lay at your feet by the River Seine.

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