There’s action and drama to be found this week, and not just with your family at Christmas dinner. And if you couldn’t make it out of town for the holidays, you’re in luck; this week’s DVDs take you to Paris (Rush Hour 3), Saudi Arabia (The Kingdom) and London (Eastern Promises).
It had been six years since we’d last seen Chris Tucker cracking jokes and Jackie Chan cracking heads on the same screen. This past summer director Brett Ratner brought them back together for the third installment of the Rush Hour franchise. Although critical reception for the series has been lukewarm at best (Rush Hour scored 57% and Rush Hour 2 scored 50% on the Tomatometer), the critics were really unhappy with this one, even in spite of appearances by the legendary Max Von Sydow and Roman Polanski.
Director Peter Berg assembled an extremely talented cast (Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Chris Cooper, and Jeremy Piven, Jason Bateman) for his film’s blend of action and Middle Eastern political drama. Many critics lauded the performances and the action scenses, but most agreed that the film falters under the weight of formulaic plot and muddled politics.
After a very successful collaboration in 2005 on A History of Violence, David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen teamed up again for the highly acclaimed Eastern Promises. This harrowing tale of muder, deceit, and retribution among Eastern European mobsters living in London also stars Naomi Watts, and critics agreed that the film is a tightly-plotted, efficient, and compelling thriller. It was also nominated for three Golden Globes, including Best Picture and Best Actor (Mortensen).
Casting Arrested Development’s Will Arnett and SNL’s Will Forte in the same film should have worked out better than this. But most critics thought the film stretched the idea of the man-child (two of them) way too far.