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Overall Rating

Awesome: 21.95%
Worth A Look60.98%
Just Average: 12.2%
Pretty Crappy: 4.88%
Sucks: 0%

3 reviews, 23 user ratings

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Rumble in the Bronx
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by Robert Flaxman

"Big trouble in obviously Vancouver."
4 stars

Jackie Chan’s first North American hit – making $32 million in the US on a budget of about a quarter of that figure – Rumble in the Bronx came out in 1996 and proved to be the first film in almost a decade of success in the world’s largest market. A megastar in Hong Kong for years, Chan’s previous attempts to cross into the American market were thwarted by films like 1985’s The Protector, which bombed so badly Chan went back to Hong Kong and made Police Story just to prove he could make a good cop film. While certainly not Chan’s finest work, Rumble is a solid flick with eminent watchability.

Chan plays Keung, who arrives from Hong Kong in the beginning of the film to visit his uncle (Chan film veteran Bill Tung), who owns a small supermarket. When his uncle sells the store to Elaine (Anita Mui), Keung agrees to stay and help out, but soon runs afoul of a local street gang. Soon a second, more dangerous gang and some stolen diamonds enter the picture, and sure enough, it’s up to our hero to save the day.

The depiction of the gang in the film makes it seem like the writers and director were either going for a parody of some sort or simply had no idea what a street gang might be like and made something up. The gang is interracial, carries one gun which no one uses, and professes to be afraid of the cops yet has no problem destroying stores, chasing people around town, and pushing trucks off of buildings in broad daylight. Whether or not the filmmakers were completely serious when they suggested that a street gang would turn into your buddies if you beat them up and offered to have tea with them, I don’t know. In the end, it doesn’t matter that much. There is certainly a lot of humor in Rumble in the Bronx, as there would be in pretty much any Chan film, so a little unintentional humor is hardly going to ruin things.

The martial arts sequences are great, with the only possible complaint being that there aren’t enough of them – although if we consider the injuries Chan suffers on every production and that he was already past 40 when this film was made, maybe we can cut him some slack on that count. At any rate, the kung fu that is in the film is show-stopping. Scenes like those where Chan kicks one gang member through the back of a shopping cart and then proceeds to climb through the cart to avoid another are great fun to watch on a pure action level and equally impressive on a more technical evaluation of the stunt work. Chan goes for broke on a lot of the stunts in the film, including water skiing on his feet alone and leaping across an alley from a rooftop onto a balcony one floor below (completed in one take).

The plot is, dare I say, surprisingly complex. Keung runs afoul of the gang when he beats up several members who were shoplifting from the market. They chase him around for a while, nearly killing him once. Then another plot is introduced, featuring two other gangs (one black, one white) and involving stolen diamonds. When Angelo, a member of the main gang, ends up with the diamonds and hides them in the wheelchair of Keung’s next-door neighbor, things start to get hairy.

Sure, it’s not Shakespeare, but watching the film branch out from the initially contained plot into much bigger things is surprisingly impressive. The ending is a bit silly and far too neat, as the filmmakers seem to have been unsure of a good way to wrap up the plot, but considering we’re talking about a martial arts film with a lot of comedic aspects, there’s not a whole lot to complain about on the plot front.

There are any number of things one could find wrong with Rumble in the Bronx – the amateurish acting (the cast was composed largely of stuntpeople and actors with few credits on their resumes), the sometimes slapdash dubbing, the fact that the film could not look any less like it was filmed in New York (it was actually filmed in Vancouver), or various times where it seems like a scene was missing – but there’s really no reason to pick at any of them. The film promises a rumble in the Bronx, and it certainly delivers on that count in fine Chan fashion.

An entertaining romp with fun action scenes, Rumble in the Bronx may or may not be aware of some of what’s funny about it, but the intentionally funny scenes definitely work and the rest aren’t that bad. It’s a good film to start out with for people who only know Jackie Chan from his Hollywood work.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1435&reviewer=385
originally posted: 12/14/04 13:16:09
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User Comments

2/08/07 Raph Branca Not at all a Jackie Chan classic but worth a look as an entry level fluff action film. 3 stars
3/27/06 Brian Meyer A great action flick, though U.S. version is heavily censored. 5 stars
2/16/05 Daveman So silly but so much fun. 3 stars
1/23/05 keithers.. A very good Chan film....he still pretty fast. His last good movie to date... 4 stars
11/20/03 rony this movie was the bomb and very funny. awesome fighting scenes. 5 stars
1/03/03 Charles Tatum Grand action, Tong should direct a Bond film 4 stars
9/28/02 STEVE jackie and arnold rule the action movies.jet li and bruce li to.rest in peace bruce 5 stars
5/17/02 Priscilla Postlethwaite What lacks in plot coherence made up in madcap action; Anita pooping hilarious. 4 stars
1/20/02 keith langman three words..... building to building 3 stars
11/29/01 Rutt13 Amazingly Cheezy, but really fun stuff 4 stars
8/07/01 Mr. Hat Not that good, but not very crappy either. 3 stars
5/31/01 mjm103171 god bless jackie chan 5 stars
3/08/01 fifu amazing action, leaves you breathless (but plotless)! 3 stars
6/23/00 Naushad Khanji forget the plot and go for a pulse pounding excitement 5 stars
2/27/00 arnold great action 5 stars
4/17/99 Ah Dooey Oz's review said it all 4 stars
4/07/99 Fordy Not one of his best, but a groundbreaker into internetional recognition. Great fight scenes 5 stars
2/05/99 Vick Di Brecci I thought this movie was ridiculous 2 stars
1/18/99 Yo Momma Truly compelling when the Chanster did most of the stunts with a busted leg. Damn great. 4 stars
1/16/99 amos on of the most exciting movies to watch 5 stars
1/03/99 Fartass I love it! Great kung-fu action/comedy! Better than those Van Dumb movies! 4 stars
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  23-Feb-1996 (R)


  16-May-1996 (M)

Directed by
  Stanley Tong

Written by
  Fibe Ma
  Edward Tang

  Jackie Chan
  Anita Mui
  Françoise Yip
  Bill Tung
  Marc Akerstream
  Garvin Cross

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