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RUSH HOUR 3 – Lalo Schifrin

Original Review by Clark Douglas

Perhaps the least necessary sequel of the summer, “Rush Hour 3” still managed to scrape up a decent amount of money, proving… um… some terribly depressing point, I would imagine. The film stars Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker as a couple of cops who have to find terribly contrived and exotic ways to solve various crimes. The talented supporting cast includes Philip Baker Hall, Max Von Sydow, and Roman Polanski, and not one of them has a single interesting thing to do. It’s a pretty mediocre movie, and as with the previous two “Rush Hour” efforts, the highlights are Jackie Chan’s stunts (much more limited in this installment) and Lalo Schifrin’s score.

Schifrin’s score for the first film was a wild, chaotic ride of “Enter the Dragon”-inspired energy. Despite being a bit headache-inducing at times, it was a fun score. “Rush Hour 2” basically took the same material, made it a little bigger, and removed a lot of the energy. It wasn’t a bad album, but I always found myself returning to the first score. Now we have “Rush Hour 3”, and I am pleased to report that Mr. Schifrin has managed to top himself this time, offering the sharpest and most entertaining score album of the series to date.

Schifrin opens the score with his somewhat famous main theme, this time given a very nice reworking by Schifrin and Salaam Remi. The theme is content to take a bit more of a backseat this time around, instead allowing various action ideas and sub-themes to dominate the proceedings. Oh sure, it still shows up a good deal, just not as noticeably, and not as often. The name of the game in “Rush Hour 3” is action, and Schifrin provides tons of it. “Chasing the Assassin” is an early highlight, a thrilling piece of music with just the right amount of modern flair and eastern flavor. Schifrin’s “Enter the Dragon” roots appear frequently too, just listen to “Su Yung Returns/Dojo Arrival” and “Giant Kung Fu” early on.

More action gets going in “Hospital Gunfight”, and it doesn’t let up until “Reynard’s Plea”. One piece after another, Schifrin provides extremely stylish, flavorful, entertaining action music that demonstrates just how far ahead he is of so many of the youngsters of today. “With Genevieve” is a nice, slightly nervous piece of romance, and a couple pieces of drama lead us up to the climax, beginning with “Swordfight” and continuing in action-packed style until the very end.

The album concludes with another interesting remix of the main theme, this one done by Ruy Folguera and Lalo’s son, Ryan Schifrin. It’s pretty cool, but not as fabulous as the opening remix. While I bemoan the fact that Schifrin is hardly given anything to do these days except write music for the “Rush Hour” films, I’m certainly glad that he’s doing something. This is top-flight action, a good dose of adrenaline for those who like their music fun, fast, and smart. Absolutely recommended!

Rating: ****

Track Listing:

  • Title — Rush Hour Theme (performed by Lalo Schifrin and Salaam Remi) (1:27)
  • The World Court (2:10)
  • Chasing the Assassin (4:19)
  • Su Yung Returns/Dojo Arrival (2:11)
  • Giant Kung Fu (2:34)
  • Hospital Gunfight (2:47)
  • Hiding Su Yung/Two Americans in Paris (1:49)
  • Dragon Lady (1:55)
  • Bikers (2:48)
  • In the Sewers (2:52)
  • Reynard’s Plea (1:39)
  • With Genevieve (3:10)
  • Shi Shen (2:17)
  • Eiffel Tower Meeting (4:27)
  • Swordfight (4:32)
  • Farewell to Kenji (2:35)
  • The Return of the Triads (2:35)
  • Parachute Down (2:14)
  • Rush Hour Theme Remix (remix by Ruy Folguera and Ryan Schifrin) (2:35)

Running Time: 50 minutes 56 seconds

Varese Sarabande VSD-6834 (2007)

Music composed and conducted by Lalo Schifrin. Orchestrations by Ira Hearshen, Ruy Folguera and Patrick Russ. Recorded and mixed by Gustavo Borner. Album produced by Lalo Schifrin.

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