HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Rumble in the Bronx
HTS Overall Score:70
Jackie Chan dominated my life as a young boy. I grew up wanting to do martial arts after seeing his in the old Chinese classics, and when he transitioned to the American screen in the 90s, I followed his career even more as a young boy able to sneak into the theaters. “Rumble In the Bronx” made the distinction of being one of the ONLY Jackie Chan movies I couldn’t see in theaters because I was under 17 and it was one of his ONLY R-rate American films. Still, that didn’t stop me from sneaking an old VHS copy of the movie into my room and watching late at night! Fast forward 20 years (has it really been this long?) and Jackie Chan’s shine has not lost its luster. The man was an incredible martial artist and literally revolutionized the action movie genre back then. Aerial acrobatics mixed with hard hitting action and a liberal dose of comedy made him an American success overnight (despite already having spent several decades in Hong Kong entertaining people with his skill).
Sadly this is not the unedited, international release of “Rumble in the Bronx”, but rather the edited and dubbed American release that New Line has released over the last 20 years. I doubt we’ll ever see an original Mandarin release of the film in its original form, but I can live with that considering it was the version I grew up with. The original intent of “Rumble in the Bronx” was darker with less comedy, but the American studio heads decided that Jackie Chan’s trademark humor should be front and center, while leaving much of the language and R-rated violence that would have turned the film a good bit darker. This strange dichotomy makes “Rumble in the Bronx” a bit of an odd film in Jackie’s repertoire.
The year is 1995 and Keung (Jackie Chan) has come to New York from Hong Kong to participate in his Uncle Bill’s (Bill Tung) wedding. After the wedding Uncle Bill asks Keung to stay around and help out with the transition of his grocery store to the new owner, Elaine (Anita Mui). Affable Keung agrees, only to find out that he got a bit more than he bargained for. While life with Elaine is never dull due to her uptight nature, things get REALLY heated when an Italian street gang starts terrorizing the store. Not one to let injustices Keung beats the tar out of the thugs with an incredible display of martial arts, only to get his tush handed to him in the back alley of his apartment. Making friends with his whiney and crippled younger neighbor boy, Keung comes to find out that his sister is actually one of the gang members, named Nancy (played by the stunningly beautiful Francoise Yip). Things get a little warm between the two of them, and soon Nancy has switched allegiances and starts shining up to Keung.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=54778[/img]As if there wasn’t enough sub plots going on, things get even messier when Angelo (Garvin Cross), one of the street thugs, accidentally steals a batch of diamonds belonging to a crime syndicate, unwittingly drawing Keung, Nancy and the gang into a street war that will lay waste to their lives. In true Jackie Chan style, Keung is mild mannered by day, but when you threaten his friends he becomes an invincible fighting machine, capable of taking on entire armies.
“Rumble in the Bronx” is not one of Jackie Chan’s most polished American films, and the American cut from New Line Cinemas is a bit cheesy, it still is a blast to watch. Crudely dubbed dialog, bad acting, but the real pull from these films isn’t the storyline. We just want to see Jackie Chan break out the fists and feet and lay down the law on bad guys. Back in these days, Bill Tung and Jackie had a great working relationship, being “Uncle Bill” in several other films, including “Supercop” and “Jackie Chan’s First Strike”, adding a goofy layer of humor that plays well with Jackie’s loose and fast style. Choreography is top notch, as Keung tears through thugs like paper, and if you’re familiar with Jackie Chan’s movies you will notice quite a bit of the same bad guys showing up in movie after movie. For those in the know, this is nothing new. Jackie travels with a stunt team that is his and his alone, handpicked from different walks of life. This allows for fantastic fight scenes with seamless action thanks to working together for so long.
Rated R for some language and violent sequences
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=54786[/img]“Rumble in the Bronx” is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on the Blu-ray, with a serviceable transfer. The film obviously has not had any remastering done in quite some time, and I’d actually go so far as to speculate this master being from the 1996 release of the film. There’s some mild print damage, and the resolution is definitely not the greatest all things considering. There’s a gauzy, soft look to the film that doesn’t lend itself to a lot of detail in some scenes, but other times the picture looks great, with good detail and crisp clarity. Colors are solid while there is some wearing to them, they still look impressive enough. Blacks can be a bit washed out, but still show some decent shadow detail.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=54794[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA English track fares a bit better, with strong dialog and good surround usage. The action film was redubbed in English for American audiences and the original audio score was also transposed with a very obvious 90’s pop/rock covering. The heavy action sequences show off a lot of directionality and power, with fists thudding and bodies crashing everywhere. The surrounds are pretty active for the majority of the film, with all the frenetic chaos going on around us. The only complaint I had was with the bass. Unlike most movies where it can be a bit anemic, the LFE was VERY hot, almost annoyingly so as it got to be a bit much after a while. I had to dial the LFE trim in my receiver down just a bit because it was mixed so hotly compared to the rest of the track.
I do wish we could see the international cut, but this is more than satisfactory for people who are more familiar with the American cut that has been released in the northern hemisphere for so long. The action is a blast, and Jackie Chan was still at the peak of his game here, delivering stunts that only the crazy Hong Kong actor can do. I’ve heard it said that Jackie is a hybrid of Bruce Lee and Buster Keaton, and I can see the resemblance with his acting style. The man had a niche and he did it WELL. Audio and video are definitely from an older master, but I’m not going to complain considering the cheap $14.99 MSRP. Definite watch if you enjoy classic Chan.
Starring: Jackie Chan, Bill Tung, Francoise Yip
Directed by: Stanley Tong
Written by: Edward Tang, Fibe Ma
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish DTS-HD MA 2.0
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 90 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: September 6th 2015
Buy Rumble in the Bronx On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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