Friday, May 29, 2009

In Defense of Brett Ratner

Brett Ratner gets a lot of shit thrown his way thanks to the internets. Especially the folks over at /Film (my main source for movie news). A search on their sight for "Brett Ratner hack" brought about 5 pages of responses at 10 links per page. Obviously /Film isn't the only entity out there with a mad-on for Ratner, they're just one example of man. Now, granted, some of the criticism is appropriate (X3), but after watching Rush Hour 3 I think the dude has gotten a bad wrap. Much like Michael Bay, who you know I'm a fan of (especially when teamed with Kurtzman and Orci), Ratner makes big, summer popcorn movies with lots of explosions and fights and I don't see anything wrong with that.

I had a great time watching Rush Hour 3 (2007). I've seen the other two, but don't really remember them, and I probably won't remember too many of the details of this one, but I was looking for something fun to watch on the train and I got it.

One thing that occurred to me while watching was that it actually felt like an 80s action/comedy (like Fletch or Beverly Hills Cop) but with more explosions and bigger action set pieces. I like that Chris Tucker plays a character much like Fletch or Axel, in that he's really good at improvising once he's in a bad situation, while still being funny. You don't get that a lot anymore. It's the same kind of story as those aforementioned flicks, but with a presumably bigger budget.

I also really like how Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan played off of each other (they felt like they'd know each other for a long time, which is the case considering the first Rush Hour came out almost 10 years prior). Watching RH3 was like getting back together with some dudes you sat near in high school but were never really that close with, fun but not deep.

The story is fairly typical by 80s standards: cops trying to track down something the bad guy (who also happens to be kinda related to one of the cops) wants, all the while kicking ass, taking names and saving pretty girls.

Looking through the rest of Ratner's filmography as a director, I was surprised with how many of these movies I liked. You've got the Rush Hour flicks of course, X3 which I didn't hate as much as my nerdy brethren though it wasn't very good, I remember liking Red Dragon when I saw it, After the Sunset was pretty good when I saw it in college, plus he directed the pilot of Prison Break, a show I loved before I missed most of this last season. Add to that some music videos and that Guitar Hero or Rock Band commercial from earlier this year (who can keep it all straight?) and that's a pretty good record in my book. He's not making the kinds of movies I'll remember forever or even put in my DVD collection (for the most part), but, like a candy bar, I will enjoy it while chomping down on those flying bullets, one-liners and pretty ladies.

On a completely different note, IMDb is weird. On Ratner's page it lists something called Untitled David Diamond/David Weissman Project (2005) (TV). Now I get why something like this would be there in the "In Production" section or something, but why is it still around four years later if it was never made/saw the light of day? If you click through the link it's got a full actor list including John Leguizamo, Claire Forlani, John Cho and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. There's no notes on the story or anything, so I'm curious why it would still be there. Even if tt was produced or a pilot was made, shouldn't the actual name of the show/movie be on the page or at least listed as an AKA? Oh well, IMDb, you befuddle me.

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