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|Rumble in the Bronx|
Rumble in the Bronx Hong Kong theatrical poster
|Directed by||Stanley Tong|
|Produced by||Barbie Tung|
|Written by||Edward Tang|
|Music by||J. Peter Robinson (US version)|
Nathan Wong (HK version)
|Edited by||Peter Cheung|
Paragon Films Ltd.
|Distributed by||Golden Harvest|
New Line Cinema (USA)
|106 minutes (HK version)|
90 minutes (US version)
|Box office||US$76 million|
Rumble in the Bronx is a 1995 Hong Kong martial arts action comedy film starring Jackie Chan, Anita Mui and Françoise Yip. It was directed by Stanley Tong, with action choreographed by Chan and Tong. Released in Hong Kong in 1995, Rumble in the Bronx had a successful theater run, and brought Chan into the American mainstream. The film is set in the Bronx area of New York City but was filmed in and around Vancouver, Canada. It was one of the most profitable films of 1996, grossing over ten times its US$7.5 million budget.
Ma Hon Keung (Jackie Chan), a Hong Kong cop,[N 1] comes to New York to attend the wedding of his Uncle Bill (Bill Tung). Uncle Bill owns the Wa-Ha Supermarket in The Bronx, an area with a high level of crime. He meets Bill's neighbor Danny (Morgan Lam), a disabled Chinese-American boy, and his aunt-to-be Whitney (Carrie Cain Sparks), an African-American woman working at Bill's supermarket. Bill is trying to sell his supermarket, and he meets a potential buyer, Elaine (Anita Mui), who is reluctant to buy it for Bill's price. Nonetheless, Bill invites Elaine to his wedding, hoping that there's still a chance to sell it. Unbeknownst to Keung and Elaine, Bill's market is a victim of frequent shoplifting and a protection racket, and he is desperate to sell it. The next day, at the wedding, Keung helps negotiate a deal that convinces Elaine to buy the market.[N 2]
One day, when Keung is helping Elaine at the market, members of a local biker gang (Tony (Marc Akerstream)), attempt to shoplift the market, but are thwarted and beaten by Keung. Later that night, Keung notices a woman getting abducted. He scares away her would-be kidnappers. However, when Keung "rescues" the woman, she attacks him, revealing a ploy to lure him into a spot where Tony's gang attacks him again. Keung is cornered into a dead-end alleyway. The gang severely injures him by swatting glass bottles around him. Afterwards, Keung almost makes it back to his Uncle's apartment, but not before fainting in front of Nancy (Francoise Yip), who is Tony's girlfriend and the woman who lured Keung earlier. It is revealed that Nancy is Danny's neglectful older sister, and she fixes Keung's wounds upon realizing that he is also Danny's friend. Danny informs Keung about Nancy's help the next morning, but Keung still doesn't know that Nancy was the one who lured him.
Later that morning, Keung goes to Elaine's market to inform her that he lost the contract (during the alleyway brawl with the gang). The supermarket is a mess due to a failed attempt to stop thieves, and Elaine informs Keung about her desire to back out of the deal upon realizing how often the market is a victim of theft and a protection racket. When two thugs demanding "protection money" come by, Keung scares them away. However, Tony and his gang come back to the store, demanding "compensation" for Keung hurting them earlier. Elaine gives into their demand, and they rob and vandalize the store. Keung confronts them outside, and tells the gang that he's the boss of the store. After Elaine is assaulted, Keung reveals that he has called the police on them. The gang disperses upon the police's arrival.[N 3] Later, Tony and his gang attempt to chase down Keung for revenge, which leads to Keung making a daring escape by jumping from the roof of a parking garage to a fire escape on a building across the street.
Later, a member of Tony's gang named Angelo (Garvin Cross) gets involved in an illegal diamond deal gone bad and steals the diamonds. A criminal syndicate led by White Tiger (Kris Lord) is after the diamonds. Keung and Danny are outside together, and they witness some of the carnage go down. Keung and Danny run inside for safety, leaving Danny's wheelchair in the apartment hallway. Unable to run and hide from the syndicate, Angelo stuffs them in Danny's wheelchair cushion. Some of the syndicate members are arrested (along with Angelo), but all are let go due to a lack of evidence. Meanwhile, at Danny and Nancy's apartment, Nancy eavesdrops on a conversation between Keung and Danny, where she listens to Danny talk about the emotional difficulty of being disabled. Upon hearing this, she comes out into the living room and tearfully apologizes to Keung, and both agree to keep their previous encounter a secret from Danny.
Meanwhile, Elaine tries to scare away the thugs from the protection racket. However, they are not intimidated, and they assault her while taking her money. After this, she tries to sell the market to another Chinese couple, selling it using the same lies that Uncle Bill used to convince her. Keung witnesses this, and gives her back the check she used to buy the market, asking that she only pay him back once she makes money.[N 4]
Later that evening, Keung goes out, but not before being questioned by the syndicate men (who are posing as FBI agents) looking for the diamonds. They give Keung a number to call if he finds anything. Later Keung visits Nancy at a nightclub where she is a lingerie dancer and model. When the gangsters see this, they chase Keung and Nancy, but they escape after Nancy knocks over their motorcycles.[N 5] Keung advises her to stay away from Tony's gang and to look after Danny. A romantic relationship develops between them. After failing to confront Keung, the bikers trash Elaine's supermarket, during which two of Tony's men are captured by White Tiger's men, who turn up at the supermarket in search of Angelo. Angelo's colleagues are unaware of his diamond heist and one is executed in a tree-shredder. Meanwhile, Keung and Nancy go to the bikers' headquarters after the latest supermarket attack, and Keung defeats them in another brawl. After the brawl, he berates and insults the gang for their criminal lifestyle and urges them to change for the better. Immediately after, one of the gangsters comes back to the hideout, with the executed gangster's remains, which he reveals was a warning to return the goods that Angelo stole. Keung agrees to help Tony and his gang.
Keung contacts the syndicate (which he thought was the FBI) after they find Angelo. Angelo reveals that he hid the diamonds in Danny's wheelchair. Tony, Angelo, and Nancy are taken hostage while some of White Tiger's thugs go with Keung to Danny and Nancy's apartment. Keung eventually subdues the gangsters after they find the diamonds. When White Tiger calls one of the gangsters, Keung takes the cell phone and reveals that he has his diamonds and his thugs held hostage. White Tiger tells him that he'll arrange an exchange and warns him not to contact the police. Keung makes Danny wait at school for his own safety. When one of the syndicate thugs interrogates Tony, demanding Keung's whereabouts, Tony tells him that Keung is the owner of the Wa-Ha supermarket. Keung goes to Elaine for advice, but later, the syndicate's thugs destroy the supermarket with a tow truck, as a warning to Keung.
Keung decides to call the police for help. They give Keung recording equipment and instruct him to just show the gangsters one diamond, and to try to get the gang to talk about the murder and robbery. However, during their meeting, Keung reveals that he knows of the name "White Tiger", which make the syndicate men realize that Keung is working with the police. They take Keung to a secret place to have him executed. But before they can execute him, Keung overpowers them and attempts to escape. Later, the police come and chase the gangsters away. White Tiger's men hijack a hovercraft and are pursued by Keung and the New York Police Department in the Hudson River. The hovercraft ends up running through the streets, causing much damage to property. Keung ends the chase by stealing a large sword from a museum, clamping it onto a sports car window and driving into the hovercraft, shredding the rubber skirt and crashing the vehicle. After shooting one of the syndicate men non-fatally to force them to reveal White Tiger's location, Keung drives the repaired hovercraft to a golf course where White Tiger is playing with subordinates. He runs them over, leaving White Tiger naked on the ground.
- His career as a cop is not mentioned in the New Line Cinema edit.
- In the dubbed New Line Cinema edit, Elaine actually buys the supermarket before coming to the wedding, and Keung is simply offering his help in transitioning.
- New Line Cinema removed this entire scene. Instead, their edit goes straight from Keung leaving Danny's apartment to the chase scene.
- Another scene cut by New Line Cinema
- This specific scene was cut from the Hong Kong version, but included in New Line Cinema's version.
- Jackie Chan as Ma Hon Keung (T: 馬漢強, S: 马汉强, P: Mǎ Hànqiáng)
- Anita Mui as Elaine
- Françoise Yip as Nancy
- Bill Tung as Uncle Bill Ma (T: 馬 驃, S: 马 骠, J: maa5 piu3, P: Mǎ Piào)
- Marc Akerstream as Tony, leader of the gang
- Garvin Cross as Angelo
- Morgan Lam as Danny
- Kris Lord as White Tiger
- Carrie Cain Sparks as Whitney Ma
- Elliot Ngok (Yueh Hua) as Wah, the Realtor (T: 華, S: 华) (uncredited)
- Eddy Ko as Prospective market buyer
- Emil Chau as Ice cream salesman
- Alex To as Ice cream customer
- Alf Humphreys as a Police Officer
In his autobiography, I am Jackie Chan: My life in Action, Jackie Chan talked about the initial difficulty of filming a movie in Vancouver that is set in New York. The production team initially had to put up fake graffiti during the day and take it all down during the evening, while simultaneously making sure that no mountains made it into the background. However, Chan decided that it was best that the production team focus on the action only without worrying too much about scenery. Viewers have noted mountains in the background, which are not present in the NYC landscape, as well as the NYC helicopter which displays a Canadian civil registration (C-GZPM - A Bell Jet Ranger).
The original spoken dialogue consisted of all of the actors speaking their native language most of the time. In the completely undubbed soundtrack, available on the Warner Japanese R2 DVD release, Jackie Chan actually speaks his native Cantonese while Françoise Yip and Morgan Lam (the actors playing Nancy and Danny) speak English. All of the original dialogue was intended to be dubbed over in the international and Hong Kong film markets, and New Line cinema overdubbed and slightly changed the original English dialogue.
During filming, Chan injured his right leg while performing a stunt. He spent much of the remaining shooting time with one leg in a cast. When it came to the film's climax, the crew colored a sock to resemble the shoe on his good foot, which Chan wore over his cast. His foot still had not completely healed when he went on to shoot his next film, Thunderbolt (filmed the same year, 1994, but released earlier in the U.S.).
The lead actress and several stunt doubles were also injured during the shooting of a motorcycle stunt, with several people suffering broken limbs and ankles.
New Line Cinema acquired the film for international distribution and commissioned a new music score and English dub (with participation from Jackie Chan). A scene of Keung's airplane flying into John F. Kennedy International Airport was added to the opening credits. Three scenes were added exclusively for the international version: a shot of the syndicate's car pulling up to the diamond deal, Keung and Nancy escaping from the nightclub after the bikers spot them together, and White Tiger taking a golf shot before a subordinate approaches him with his phone. None of these scenes were in the original Hong Kong release. In comparison to the Hong Kong version, 17 minutes of cuts were made, and the new English dub changed some of the context of the characters' conversations. Keung being a cop and having a girlfriend in Hong Kong is never mentioned. Keung's father being shot by a robber years ago is also not mentioned. In the New Line Cinema edit, Elaine buys the grocery store upon her first meeting with Uncle Bill, but in the Hong Kong version, she decides to buy the market at Bill's wedding.
The new soundtrack replaced Chan's song over the closing credits with the song "Kung Fu" by the band Ash, the lyrics of which mention Jackie Chan, as well as other Asian figures and characters ubiquitous in the west.
When released in North America, Rumble in the Bronx received generally positive reviews, as most critics were happy that a Jackie Chan film was finally getting a wide theatrical release in North America. The film currently has an 80% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Most critics agreed that the plot and acting were lacking, but the action, stunts, and Chan's charm made up for it.
"Any attempt to defend this movie on rational grounds is futile. Don't tell me about the plot and the dialogue. Don't dwell on the acting. The whole point is Jackie Chan – and, like Astaire and Rogers, he does what he does better than anybody. There is a physical confidence, a grace, an elegance to the way he moves. There is humor to the choreography of the fights (which are never too gruesome). He's having fun. If we allow ourselves to get in the right frame of mind, so are we.
The film was featured in a 2015 video essay by Every Frame A Painting, calling attention to the fact that the movie was shot in Vancouver despite being set in the Bronx, where no mountain ranges are visible.
In Hong Kong, Rumble in the Bronx broke the box office record, earning HK$56,911,136, making it the biggest film in Hong Kong at that time. It was also the year's second highest-grossing film in China, where it grossed CN¥95 million at the box office. In Japan, the film grossed ¥635 million at the box office.
It was also Chan's North American breakthrough. Opening on 1,736 North American screens, it was number one at the box office in its opening weekend, grossing US$9,858,380 ($5,678 per screen). It became one of the year's top 20 highest-grossing R-rated films, finishing its North American run with US$32,392,047 (equivalent to US$67 million adjusted for inflation). In France and Germany, the film drew 493,756 box office admissions. In total, the film's worldwide box office gross was US$76 million, making it Chan's biggest ever hit up until then.
Awards and nominations
- 1996 Hong Kong Film Awards
- Winner: Best Action Choreography (Jackie Chan, Stanley Tong)
- Nomination: Best Actor (Jackie Chan)
- Nomination: Best Actress (Anita Mui)
- Nomination: Best Film Editing (Peter Cheung)
- Nomination: Best New Performer (Françoise Yip)
- Nomination: Best Picture (Barbie Tang)
- Nomination: Best Supporting Actress (Françoise Yip)
- 1997 Key Art Awards
- Winner: Best of Show – Audiovisual
For the "Ben Knows" comedy TV spot
The majority of DVD versions of the film contain the heavily edited US New Line Cinema cut, with the relevant dubs created for each market. However, other versions exist, which are closer to the original theatrical release.
- A DVD was produced by Warner Brothers HK for Hong Kong and South Korea. This contains the New Line Cinema version with additional abridged Cantonese and Mandarin soundtracks. It has an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, but includes no English subtitles.
- Warner Home Video also released a DVD in Japan of the Hong Kong version. This version contains the Hong Kong cut of the film. The dialogue is completely undubbed in a mono 2.0. However, its aspect ratio is cropped to 1.85:1 and contains no English subtitles.
- In Hong Kong, a VCD containing the Hong Kong version in Cantonese, with newly generated English and Chinese subtitles was also released. It's 2.35:1.
- A Blu-Ray was released in the United States on 6 October 2015.
It appears that a joint-distribution deal was made, with Thakral releasing the film in China, and Chinastar releasing it in Hong Kong. This version contains no credits, not even the film title, but is otherwise the Hong Kong version. There are no English subtitles and the ratio is roughly 2.10:1.
Malaysian distributor Speedy released a VCD. As well as local censorship (for profanity - also featuring a substituted shots of Angelo insulting Keung), it has a slightly different Cantonese/English soundtrack (some characters are dubbed in Cantonese); there are English, Chinese and Malay subtitles languages. It is cropped to approximately 1:85:1 and distorted to 1:56:1.
The film had three separate DVD releases by Taiwanese distributor Funny. Two of these DVDs feature the Taiwanese Mandarin-dubbed version with embedded subtitles. One of these contains a Dolby 5.1 soundtrack only, whilst the other contains both Dolby and DTS soundtracks. The third release is a double-sided disc, featuring the Taiwanese Mandarin dub on one side and the English-dubbed New Line Cinema version on the other. Despite containing a dubbed soundtrack, these DVDs are the only releases to contain English subtitles for a Chinese version. All three are presented in 2.35:1.
4 Film Favorites
- Another DVD was released as part of the 4 Film Favorites: Martial Arts collection. The film is exactly like the New Line Cinema but put on the other side of the disc. The film is also attached to The Corruptor, Showdown in Little Tokyo, and Bloodsport.
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