It has been 15 years since “Rush Hour 3” underwhelmed moviegoers worldwide, and underperformed at the worldwide box office to the tune of $258 million on an obscenely bloated $140 million budget, and absolutely no one is clamoring for more — save for Jackie Chan. The tireless, seemingly indestructible movie star might’ve turned 68 this year, but he’s still in superb physical shape, and game to risk life and limb (within reason) for our viewing pleasure.
Jackie is a marvel. He’s made some of the greatest action movies of all time (e.g. “Drunken Master II,” “Project A” and “Police Story”), and, at the age of 68, has more than earned the right to wind down as he enters his later years. And yet I’d be disappointed if the Energizer Bunny of martial arts stars up and quit the business while he’s still upright. Making movies is his lifeblood. I fully expect him to be at it in his nineties like Clint Eastwood.
So I’m not surprised that Chan revealed at this year’s Red Sea Film Festival that “we’re talking about” a potential “Rush Hour 4.” I just hope that this “we” doesn’t include Brett Ratner.
A well-earned exile
A singularly untalented director, Ratner rode the genius of Chan and Chris Tucker to the A-list of Hollywood directors. He was notorious for texting during takes (Pierce Brosnan confirmed this at a 2004 roundtable for “Laws of Attraction” that I attended), and appealed to the vanity of filmmaking legends to burnish his reputation. In 2017, Ratner was accused by several women (including Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge) of sexual misconduct, at which point Warner Bros. cut ties with the director-producer (whose RatPac-Dune Entertainment, LLC had participated in the financing of critical/commercial hits like “American Sniper,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and “Wonder Woman”).
Ratner was lobbying to return to the director’s chair for “Rush Hour 4” (which has been in various stages of development for a solid decade) back in 2018, and I worry that, four years later, his shamelessness and tenaciousness could carry the day at a studio in flux. I’d like to believe Chan would have nothing to do with Ratner, but his support of China’s Communist Party suggests that his principles are malleable. While I enjoyed the first two “Rush Hour” movies, the only way this movie should move forward is if the seemingly unrepentant Ratner is cut out of production at every single level.
It’s been eight years since Chris Tucker gave a lovely supporting performance in Ang Lee’s “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.” I’d love to see him cut loose in a full-on comedic role again. There’s never been a more replaceable director than Brett Ratner. Bounce him from the project, and I’ll come back