Rumble in the Bronx (1996) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

The first shot in Rumble in the Bronx is of an airplane traveling West into the setting sun. The plane flies past the Statue of Liberty before landing at the world-famous La Guardia International hub. This is no doubt supposed to be a visual message that Eastern star Jackie Chan is coming to America in an effort to break into the ranks of box-office heavyweights. Producer Raymond Chow and his Golden Harvest production company have been behind an astonishing number of Chan’s films dating back to the early 1980’s, they also are responsible for casting Bruce Lee in his first pictures. Their intent here is to “introduce” Jackie Chan to American audiences.

They had tried on two previous occasions with The Big Brawl (1980) and The Protector (1985), both those films flopped with audiences and critics. The third time turned out to be the charm for the cheerful martial arts star and his prolific financial backers as Rumble in the Bronx became a modest a hit, even if its only a mediocre Chan film whose sole novelty is the New York setting (though filmed in Canada).

Police officer Keung (Jackie Chan), is a Hong Kong cop who comes to New York to attend the wedding of his wacky Uncle, Bill (Bill Tung) to the slightly less goofy Whitney. The honeymooners are in the process of selling their grocery market to Elaine (Anita Mui).

Keung quickly finds himself defending the store and his family from an aggressive gang of a biker misfits, led by Tony (Marc Akerstream). One member of the gang catches Keung’s attention, Nancy (Françoise Yip), a lingerie model/dancer and the elder sister of Danny (Morgan Lam), Keung’s only friend in America.

A relationship forms between Nancy and Keung, and the small-time gangsters form a truce with the foreign cop. They need Keung’s help to stop a much larger criminal syndicate led by White Tiger (Kris Lord). The search for missing diamonds and some West Side Story elements are thrown in along with the requisite astonishing acrobatic feat from Chan nearly every ten minutes or so.

There isn’t any known formula for constructing movie criticisms. Any previous notions of citing short-sighted direction, bad acting and poorly written dialogue as weak points are null and void when discussing Jackie Chan films. Those points are known when heading into the experience, it’s Chan himself who is the human special effect. Even after two decades of wire work, it is still possible to appreciate the beautiful athletic grace of Chan and his stunt team. The violence is on the level of a morning cartoon, in fact the whole movie could be characterized the same.

Director: Stanley Tong
Stars: Jackie Chan,

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