Rumble in the Bronx (DVD)
Jackie Chan ("Rush Hour" franchise, "Shanghai Noon") stars as Ah Keung, a cop from Hong Kong who comes to New York City to attend his uncle's wedding. He plans a little relaxation, a little sightseeing and little work at the family grocery store. Somebody forgot to tell Ah that the grocery store sits in the middle of the South Bronx, America's toughest 'hood... and ground-zero of a crime war. Now, caught between the mob and a ruthless motorcycle gang, Ah shows--after inflicting much pain on gangsters all around--that this seemingly average guy is a world-class daredevil and martial arts master. Anita Mui ("The Legend of Drunken Master," "Ji ji") also stars as Elaine. Cantonese Language Film with English dubbed version.
Jackie Chan finally conquered America with Rumble in the Bronx. If the mildly contorted English dialogue sounds peculiarly foreign and disembodied (most of it is dubbed), and the mountains of Vancouver, BC don't convincingly double for the skyline of New York City, well, peculiarities like these actually contribute something to the movie's ingenuous charm. With his disarming smile and feline physicality, the compact Chan radiates star quality. But there's more to him than charisma: at his best, the actor combines the relentlessly escalating, hyperkinetic action set-pieces for which Hong Kong is famous; the rigorous martial arts training of his idol, Bruce Lee; and the grace and daring that distinguish Buster Keaton's physical comedy. Chan also shares some of Keaton's cinematic integrity, which dictated that you shouldn't cheat the audience by faking stunts, on the set or in the editing room. Like Keaton, Chan does his own stunts, and you can see that it really is him jumping off a bridge onto a speeding boat, or clinging to the dangling ladder of a helicopter as the hostile pilot tries to shake him loose by smashing him into the sides of skyscrapers. Not that it matters, really, but the plot of Rumble in the Bronx has something to do with Chan helping the woman who has taken over his uncle's neighborhood market when she is harassed by local hoodlums. What really matters is Chan, and he's in fine form. Rumble in the Bronx doesn't rank with his best work, but it's a swell introduction to a unique star. And those stunt outtakes over the end credits are as delightfully spellbinding as ever. "See?" Chan seems to say every time he breaks a rib or twists an ankle (which happens often). "I'm doing this all for you." --Jim Emerson