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Rumble in the Bronx

Starring Jackie Chan
Directed by Stanley Tong

In the good old days, so my grandfather used to tell me, you could fix a car with nothing more than chewing gum and baling wire. Of course you couldn't do that now, which is why I'm pleased to say that modern movie making has found a place for the now-useless chewing gum and baling wire. Said implements are used to piece together the stories of Jackie Chan movies. That being the case, the entire point of the picture is to give Jackie Chan the opportunity to show off his Chinese Kung Fu fighting styles and to do outrageous stunt work.

What? Did you think I was expecting Scorsese?

Rumble In the Bronx is, in three words, good, harmless silly fun (hey -- I can count about as well as these guys can lay out a story). The story, simply, is this: Jackie Chan comes to America to attend his uncle's wedding, and incurs the wrath of a street gang while protecting the classic car his uncle has borrowed for the wedding. A neighbor is a disabled kid whose sister hangs with the leaders of the gang, one of whose members has stolen some stolen diamonds, which a major crime syndicate wants back.

But whereas most stories go A . . . B . . . C . . . D, this one goes A . . . "I know how to get to . . ." D, and there it goes. And in the best kung fu manner, Jackie Chan does his best to avoid fighting at every opportunity. He gets smashed and cut up (from shattered glass bottles) pretty badly at one point, and spends a lot of time grabbing at (presumably cracked) ribs. But when push comes to shove and it's time to fight, the choreography is nothing short of beautiful. The man can move. He can fit through spaces you and I wouldn't even conceive of trying to fit through, and he does it all with a sense of humor.

In the middle of a fight, a bystander asks if he is all right. "No." is the answer, and the battle continues . . .

. . . and if you really didn't believe all the advertising and press reporting that Jackie Chan does his own stunts, the end credits roll over out-takes of the man getting hurt doing said stunts.

Sure I could get picky about the continuity (Chan manages to capture the Big Boss whom NO ONE in law enforcement has ever seen, on nothing more than the line "he's playing golf at the seventeenth hole." And there's a big crowd at said hole . . .), or the establishing shots which show lower Manhattan while the story is taking place way up in the Bronx. Or that characters pop into scenes from (literally) nowhere, or meet and then don't remember the meeting three scenes later.

But I won't. It's irrelevant in that Rumble is just meant to be a good time. And Cranky didn't want anymore than that.

But I do like to see a semblance of rational story telling. In this case the entire thing can be summed up with a simple "HUH"?

And Cranky was NOT pleased that the local theater chain decided to raise their ticket prices beginning with this particular film. If Jackie Chan was, say, Tom Cruise he could grumble, but understand. But Chan has got to do a major delivery to justify the extra half a buck.

And Rumble, most of which is overdubbed, just doesn't. Then again, Chan knows how to use humor to its fullest. The sound of a zipper being pulled up is over dubbed just as loudly as any piece of dialog. Goofy fun.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price for Rumble In the Bronx, he would have paid . . .

$4.00

Best way to see this is in a really crowded theater. Mob energy makes it that much more fun. Otherwise, wait for a cheaper tab.

Click to buy films by Stanley Tong
Click to buy films starring Jackie Chan

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