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Rumble in the Bronx

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 10/30/2010

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: Chungking_Cash
Date: 04/07/2007

The film that completed Jackie Chan's quest for world domination following a North American theatrical run in early '96, where "Rumble in the Bronx" debuted at number one and was generally greeted with favorable reviews.

Up until this point Chan had only managed to beguile a niche audience in the U.S. and as such "Rumble in the Bronx" became mainstream America's first [authentic] glimpse of Jackie Chan and his technique after a pair of long since forgotten liaisons with Hollywood ("The Big Brawl," "The Protector") in the '80s that refused to incorporate Chan's trademark mechanisms.

As entertaining as it may have seemed at the time the vast majority of the American audience (the author of this review included) was ignorant to the fact comparative to Chan's recent output "Rumble in the Bronx" was pretty middling stuff. The lack of a finale -- one of several staples of any good Jackie Chan film -- was a downright insult.

The outtake reel that runs at the end of the picture dazzled Chan's newfound audience as the film's various bloopers came into alignment with the tagline "No Fear. No Stuntmen. No Equal."

In one sequence, Chan jumps onto a hovercraft -- landing improperly, breaking his ankle as a direct result -- before continuing with his foot in a cast covered by a sock painted to look like a shoe.

Unbeknownst to Chan's new cult "Rumble in the Bronx" was heavily edited for its release stateside exorcising co-star Anita Mui's romantic interest in Chan's character as well as all reference to his profession back in Hong Kong. Equally, they're led to believe via the aforementioned marketing ploy that Chan has sworn off stuntmen throughout his career. A sequence in the outtake reel appears to show Chan successfully jumping from a rooftop to the fire escape of an adjacent building. In reality director/action choreographer, Stanley Tong made the leap.

Neophytes will probably get a kick out of "Rumble in the Bronx" though Chan's core audience dismissed the film as disappointing, generic, and intentionally pandering to a Western audience by way of locale with a heavy usage of English dialogue in a Chinese film.

Vancouver stood in for the Bronx a fact made evident in one sequence where mountains are visible in the background.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 12/16/2006
Summary: Way of the Dragon for the 90's? Sort of...

Hong Kong cop Keung (Jackie Chan) visits his uncle (Bill Tung, in what amounts to an extended cameo) in New York (Vancouver, Canada :p) while he sells his supermarket. The supermarket in question eventually winds up in the hands of Elaine (Anita Mui), who quickly discovers that owning a premises like this has its own problems – shoplifting, protection rackets and so on. Luckily, Keung stays on to help out, beating seven shades out of the local no-good biker gang. But the appearance of a gang of diamond smugglers makes both Keung and the bikers forget their past differences and join forces.

It’s hard to see RUMBLE IN THE BRONX for what it really is; so much has been made of its “importance” in the career of Jackie Chan. Yep, this is the film that brought JC into the western spotlight at last. While initially I thought the whole thing was great (it’s the only film I went to the cinema twice to see – it was such a novelty seeing Chan on the big screen!), in the cold light of day, there are many problems with the film.

Ignoring the messiness of the script for a moment (those diamond smugglers really DO come out of nowhere), the whole production seems woefully inept at times. This ranges from the dialogue (unintentionally hilarious at times) to the wardrobe (the film looks as if it were made in the mid 80’s rather than the mid 90’s) and the characters (the biker gang’s sudden change of heart is bizarre in its abruptness: “did we go too far?” - “Yeah, a bit”). Stanley Tong has never been my favourite director, and his usual style of cobbling together bits and never minding about the coherency is in effect here, although admittedly it’s not as bad as FIRST STRIKE (but then, what is?). The inclusion of the handicapped little brother of Nancy (Françoise Yip) is almost the final nail in the coffin, with cringe-worthy lines like “I wish my legs were normal so that I could play with my sister in the park”. I know it was supposed to be a touching scene, but it’s handled so badly I could barely look at the screen.

On the other hand, the action scenes are still occasionally outstanding, with some great stunts thrown in as usual. Somewhat controversially, it seems Jackie did not perform the stunt where he jumps from the top of one building onto the fire escape of another. Some say Stanley Tong himself did the stunt (which seems unlikely), while others say Jackie DID do it, but his attempt wasn’t used in the film and another stuntman performed the task. Whatever happened, it’s a cracking stunt, up there with the best of Hong Kong stuntwork. The hovercraft scene is a nice unusual twist, but suffers from some blatant undercranking. The lack of an end fight disappointed many at the time, but this was the template Jackie used for much of the 90’s afterwards, claiming that the typical showdown finale was becoming too predictable.

Having just seen the Taiwanese print of this film for the first time (having only watched the US print before), I’m a little surprised how little was cut out for the US market. I’m not sure if there’s something missing from this version that appears in the original HK print, but the differences on show here are pretty minimal – just little bits here and there. I had heard that Jackie’s speech to the biker gang where he concludes with “next time, I hope we will be drinking tea together” was much longer and more powerful (making the bikers’ change of heart more plausible), but it seems identical from my memory.

Anyway, like most of Jackie’s output from the 90’s, RUMBLE IN THE BRONX is a mixed bag. It seems that the promotion of this film was the real star – helping to finally make Jackie Chan a household name in the west. And my fond memories of finally going to the cinema to see a Jackie film makes it impossible for me to hate it too much :) .

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 10/25/2005
Summary: 7/10 - One of the last really memorable Jackie films

Technically, the rumbling in the film takes place in Vancouver, but it's hardly the first time that Canadian city has been New York's stunt double. RITB is often noted as the film that made Jackie a household name in the US, but since he'd been a worldwide star for most of 2 decades before that, who cares about the US householders? Well, Jackie did apparently - he never considered himself to be truly successful until he'd "made it" in America... a conceit that sadly resulted in a decade long (and counting) decline in the quality of his films, once Hollywood finally woke up to his talent and proceeded to waste it in a string of increasingly lame films.

But, before that happened, there was RUMBLE IN THE BRONX - one of the last "real" Jackie Chan films the world will ever see, I expect. The story of a Hong Kong cop caught between American street thugs and, umm, the Russian mafia or something... is hardly the stuff of legend, but the film packs in some fantastic fight and stunt work showcasing Chan in peak form (a peak that had lasted for 20 years, happily, and was only just starting to roll off). The fight choreography is typically imaginative and the stuntwork typically dangerous, and the grand finale in, on, and under a huge hovercraft is genuinely inspired. Stanley Tong may not be a great director when it comes to drama & narrative, but he does have a gift for conceiving spectacular action set-pieces.

In between the action we have some nice healthy family-value promoting sort of stuff going on, with Chan reforming lost women and looking after a kid in a wheelchair, and making life hard for the new owner of his uncle's supermarket. That owner would be Anita Mui, who provides most of the comic relief in the film (after Bill Tung leaves), and is charming and classy as ever - even when suffering miserably as she does for most of the run time (it's quite cruel comedy in this film!).

Speaking of running time, the viewer essentially has 2 options for watching the film - the American version, featuring the correct language (English!) but cut by about 15 minutes, or a full-length version dubbed into Mandarin. I've now seen both, but it was a long time between the two so I couldn't give much detail about the differences - I think some of the darker elements in the plot were probably removed for Western audiences, and possibly Jackie's snogging scenes with the very lovely Francois Yip 'cause I didn't remember that happening before!

It's not the story that you'll remember the film for though - it serves its purpose but little more. The action scenes should be enough to satisfy any fan of action, and there are moments that rank amongst the best of Jackie's career, and certainly higher than any he's given us since. It's a shame that half the people in the west think this is actually where Jackie Chan's career started! Oh well, their loss :)

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Libretio
Date: 06/01/2005
Summary: Convoluted scenario, terrific stunts - typical Jackie Chan formula


Aspect ratio: 2.39:1 (Technovision)
Sound format: Dolby Digital

It's easy to see why Stanley Tong Gwai-lai's RUMBLE IN THE BRONX was chosen to spearhead Jackie Chan's defiant invasion of US theaters in the late 1990s. The most Americanized of Chan's output to date, "Rumble" relocates his unique brand of action-comedy to the mean streets of New York where he's forced to defend his uncle's (Bill Tung Bui) supermarket from two separate threats: Local bikers running a protection racket, and a bunch of professional diamond thieves whose latest haul somehow ends up in Chan's possession.

It's a surprisingly complicated affair, punctuated with beautifully choreographed explosions of action and conflict, timed to perfection and filmed with breathtaking cinematic excess, though tempered occasionally by levels of violence which may seem inappropriate to western viewers, given the otherwise upbeat tone. There are too many memorable set-pieces to mention, but the climactic hovercraft chase through the streets of New York (filmed in Canada!) is worth the price of admission alone, and seems to have been designed specifically to top the equally jaw-dropping climax of the previous Chan/Tong collaboration POLICE STORY III - SUPERCOP (1992) - anyone raised on Hollywood's comparatively feeble 'action highlights' may very well choke on their popcorn before THIS picture is over! The characters are negligible and the sudden introduction of the diamond thieves somewhere around the halfway mark is, perhaps, a little too abrupt, prompting the bikers to ditch their thuggish ways and join forces with Chan to repel their mutual enemy (yeah, right!), but you'll be too busy gaping at the incredible stuntwork to care. Forget the re-edited US version - for all its eccentricities, the multi-lingual HK print is the one to go for.

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: gfanikf
Date: 02/03/2005

I have to say then when I first saw this movie as a child at the movies I was amazed. I may have seen some types of martial arts films before in passing but I had never retained it. I was amazed at what Jackie Chan could do and yet guns only pop up sporadically and never are really used by Jackie. Though in years I no longer rank this as the greatest Jackie Chan film ever this is only because of a love of other Jackie Chan films that have taken hold. Still the film has some great action and stunt work and the story is perfectly workable. It is quite hard to track down the original OAR, language, and uncut film but I would recommend it. If you have seen the American version it will not be to hard to follow the uncut Thrakal DVD which has no subs. However there was an uncut and sub VCD put out by ERA. However, it is OOP and replaced by a cut copy from Warner Brothers. However I got lucky and found the uncut version only about 3 months ago.

Reviewed by: Kyashan
Date: 12/15/2002

A very beautiful action movie. Well, I watched this movie 2 or 3 times, and aways I liked! :)
This is a typical USA movie, not really chinese movie. I advise, if someone want to watch it, don't make a lot of espectations, seem a story aready knew.
Ranting: 8/10

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 01/13/2002

Right, first of all, I'm glad to see that at least ONE 'Jackie Chan fan' was being honest when they admited this was not that great, so if a Jackie Chan fan can admit it, then I think that says it all. Anyone who has not seen it yet, don't bother! You will loose a lot of respect for Jackie, HONESTLY.

True, this is a commercial movie based at international level, so you have to take that into considerstion I suppose when you see the amount of rubbish thrown into this. YOu really can't beleive any of this stuff would happen in real life, like an entire supermarket being pulled down in the middle of a street by a bull dozer...sorry, but that just WOULDN'T happen. Why is that I can't remember seeing a single police car in it, after all the people getting beated up, does that mean that you can get away with any crime you want in america? I might be wrong, but cannot recall, and would not waste my time watching again to check.

To make things even worst, Anita Mui probably plays her most annoying part ever! Same goes for Emil Chow. The action is nothing special either, there is no real story, and all the 'bad guys' look like they are on crack, and not just because they are in the Bronx either.

Jackie Chan really got worse and worse from the mid 90's as he started to make English speaking movies like this, First Strike, Rush Hour, Mr Nice Guy, all of those were the same. Jackie Chan needs to take a break from Hollywood and try to make at least one or two good HK movies again before he retires, if he wants to retire with any kind of dignity.

Sorry to have to tell you this 'sydneyguy', but the jump from the buildings was not actually Jackie Chan, it was a stuntman. A lot of the stunts in his films were not actully him.

Rating (out of 5): 1

(This rating is based on the year & genre, so don't think it's based as a comparison on new releases etc.)

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 05/05/2001
Summary: This is the one...............

The movie that made AMERICAN's go WOW!! A pretty good movie but it's not as good as his previous work!! The jump from one building to the other is worth watching!! One of his best stunts EVER!!


Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: dragyn
Date: 02/18/2001
Summary: Jackie Chan Doesn't Do His Best

OK. I am a big fan of Jackie Chan's movies, but even I have to admit that he really could have done better that "Rumble", although the fights are, of course, still good. The movie jumps about from idiotic plot-point to idiotic plot-point, without really establishing anything along the way apart from a few fight scenes. Chan himself is rubbery and elastic as usual, but he's getting just a little too old to play "cute" - he really needs to try another tack. The stunts are great, though. It kinda makes me wonder if maybe Chan was trying a little too hard to appeal to the American market, and made one of the soulless block-busters they make every day in the good ol' US of A. I think he should to making movies Hong Kong style...


Reviewed by: resdog781
Date: 07/31/2000
Summary: Rumble In Vancouver

The only redeeming value in this film is the fight scenes. That's it. Forget the horrible acting. Forget the lack of a plot. Forget the fact that this movie was blatantly *NOT* filmed in NYC. Forget the fact that Jackie Chan drives a frick'n HOVERCRAFT ONTO A FRICK'N GOLF COURSE!!!!

The only movie worse than this one was "Who Am I". Talk about a one-trick pony...

Reviewed by: hktopten
Date: 12/21/1999

Suck Suck Suck Suck Suck Suck Suck suck suck suck. Worst effort Jackie has released, but it does make up for itself action wise. The lack of story completely killed it for me though. 3 out of 10.

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

One of the more disappointing Jackie Chan movies. Very average action and comedy for a Jackie film and undermined by a weak story.


[Reviewed by Christopher Fu]

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

I know, I know, Jackie Chan is supposed to be the best thing since sliced bread, but to be honest I find good martial arts driven movies much more exciting and engaging to watch than some nut doing his own stunts. Think about this; if Jackie didn't do his own stunts, the stunts would still get done. If that was the case, would such a fuss be made over it? In any case, Jackie is one of the best choreographers of fight scenes; he just needs to choreograph more of them.


[Reviewed by Dale Whitehouse]

Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

This one's a veritable tornado of destruction. Former HongKong cop Keung (Jackie Chan) has just arrived in New York, where his Uncle Bill has decided to sell his interest in a Bronx supermarket and get married. Elaine (cute Anita Mui), the new owner, is only beginning to understand why the price was so reasonable: one day, a protection racket siphons off a good share of the profits, and the next, a tough biker gang (populated by D-list over-actors) terrorizes the store. (Apparently, the protection money isn't being particularly well spent.) Keung steps in, but his brand of hard-punching HK justice only seems to make things worse. Turns out that one of the bikers had accidentally intercepted millions in mob diamonds, and stashed them in a Chinese kid's wheelchair cushion. As the story starts to achieve critical improbability mass, the child just happens to be the brother of a biker girl. The mobsters (every one of them a stone-killer who dress like the guys in Reservoir Dogs) stake out the girl's apartment, where Jackie is their only protection. The movie hops from one plot point to the next, no matter how graceless or ridiculous the connection, the improbabilities stacking up in wobbly piles doomed to crash. Which sort of misses to point, too, because everything here exists as set-up for the stunts, and the action, once it gets going, is every bit as massively destructive as one could dream. I can't recall a film that surpasses this for sheer wreckage.


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 5