Friday, March 25, 2016

Film Review: Rumble in the Bronx (1995)

Rumble in the Bronx (Review)
China/1995
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"Each action scene is meticulously crafted to thrill and entertain."

Keung (Jackie Chan) visits New York to attend his uncle's wedding, but he gets caught up with a violent street gang and a criminal syndicate during his stay...

Rumble in the Bronx follows Keung as he settles in grimy, crime-ridden New York – as portrayed in the film, of course. During his stay, Keung interferes in a street race, which ends up placing him in a gang's crosshairs. From there, the gang begins to relentlessly pursue Keung across the city, wrecking everything they come across. Amidst the violence, Keung even develops a romance with Nancy (Fran├žoise Yip), the gang leader's girlfriend who also turns out to be his neighbor. The plot thickens as Keung and this gang cross paths with an organized crime organization and a bundle of diamonds. It all leads to this epic setpiece involving a hovercraft – it was amazing! Unfortunately, this superb sequences is followed by a stupendously abrupt and unsatisfying ending. Everything happens so fast and the pieces just don’t fit... Maybe I was expecting too much, but I was dumbfounded.

Rumble in the Bronx doesn't have a strong story. It's a kinetic and fluid film. It always tops the previous action sequence with something bigger. With that said, this is more of a cheesy comedy than anything else – and you should enjoy it that way. Yes, there is a lack of proper character. Yes, most of the film is far fetched. And, yes, Jackie Chan seizes the opportunity to preach a bit for little reason. Still, Rumble in the Bronx is charming and entertaining. Sometimes it's just naturally entertaining, sometimes it's 'so bad, it's good' entertaining. The superb action, however, is the one indisputable quality. The film is brimming with edge-of-your-seat chase scenes and some superb fight scenes. The fact that these stunts were performed by people instead of computer images really amplified the action, too. It's exhilarating and fun.

The acting is one of the harder aspect to criticize. Honestly, I often couldn't tell who was dubbed and who wasn't. It seemed to me, some of the English-speaking actors were dubbed, too. That or... they were really bad. Some of the dialogue fits in the cheesy 'so bad, it's good' category, but some of these performances were just bad. Jackie Chan is playing Jackie Chan – if you like his quirk and charm, you probably won't find any issue with his dubbing. The film is shot well. I enjoyed the camerawork during the action scenes – well-captured, indeed. The stunt work during said scenes is also exemplary. The film is written by Edward Tang and Fibe Ma and directed by Stanley Tong. The writing does well in creating a kinetic story, using momentum to keep the plot on its toes and fill the holes – the lack of character is evident, though. I suppose Stanley Tong should be credited more for creating the energy in this action spectacle — i.e. the direction is splendid.

Overall, Rumble in the Bronx is an extremely entertaining film. I was baffled by the abrupt ending, but the rest of the story was at least serviceable. Although there was a blatant lack of development, I did enjoy this cast of quirky characters. Rumble in the Bronx, however, really shines most in the action department. Each action scene is meticulously crafted to thrill and entertain. If you're looking for something fun and don't mind cheese and bad acting with your order, you'll enjoy Rumble in the Bronx.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, some nudity.

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