Rumble in the Bronx | aka Red Bronx (1995) Review

"Rumble in the Bronx" Japanese DVD Cover

"Rumble in the Bronx" Japanese DVD Cover

AKA: Death Benefit
Director: Stanley Tong
Writer: Edward Tang, Fibe Ma Mei Ping
Producer: Raymond Chow, Leonard Ho
Cast: Jackie Chan, Anita Mui, Bill Tung, Françoise Yip Fong Wah, Marc Akerstream, Ailen Sit, Chan Man Ching, Jamie Luk, Yueh Hua, Emil Chau Wa Kin, Alex To
Running Time: 85/110 min.

By Stockton22

If you saw this flick once and wrote it off as an inferior Jackie vehicle, I strongly urge that you check it out again (Thomas Weisser, I’m looking in your direction). While it’s certainly lacking in the fighting category, there is a lot to enjoy once its modus operandi becomes apparent. Having realized this, I know that I like this film more and more each time I see it.

Like Jackie’s first collaboration with director Stanley Tong (Supercop), Rumble sacrifices fighting sequences in favor of more conventional action film dynamics. You know what Jackie film Rumble reminds me of? Project A II. Both films rely less on fighting and more on stuntwork. And Rumble’s got some pretty nifty zingers. That jump from the roof to the building across the street is pretty rad. The scene in the garage where Jackie is moving up, over and around scores of moving obstacles like he’s Spiderman (while throwing a couple of punches in as well) is jammin’ too.

You know what’s also like Project A II? You can’t figure out who the hell the bad guys are supposed to be. In that one, the pirates who weren’t killed in the first movie take a blood oath to kill Dragon Ma (Jackie), but then one gets sick, Jackie buys some medicine and he’s made some friends for life. Now he’s free to fight off a bunch of gangsters. In Rumble, Jackie spends most of the film fending off a biker gang. He ultimately steals the leader’s girl and kicks all their asses. Then he says, “I hope the next time we meet, we won’t be fighting each other. Instead, we’ll be drinking tea together.” And boom, Jackie and the gang are tighter than Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. Now he’s free to fight off a bunch of gangsters. Well dang. That’s all it takes to end conflict? I wish we’d known that years ago, hell, we could have avoided Vietnam, Korea and WWII. All we needed was a couple of strategically places CVS pharmacies, some tea bags and a whole lot of hot water and we could have abolished war entirely. Then, without the inspiration, Fantasy Mission Force might never have happened. What a golden age it would have been.

And speaking of Jackie kicking the gangs collective ass, while Rumble certainly contains less fighting than we’d all like to see, the fighting it does have is totally slammin’. The fisticuffs in the gang’s hideout is the true show stopper, and truly deserves it’s place among Jackie’s best, as Jackie punches, kicks, and maneuvers around every piece of scenery that Tong could get in frame. And the film builds to a thrilling conclusion that includes everything from car chases, hover crafts and that water skiing thing. That’s why if you were bored the first time, you should give it another chance. If you know there’s no fight coming, you can just sit back and let that thing with the jagged sword and the Lamborghini rock your world.

And giving credit where credit is due, let’s hand it to Rumble for featuring a “throwing a guy into a wood chipper” scene, nearly four years before Fargo. Pretty harsh for a Jackie movie, but hey, at least New Line didn’t name his character Jackie Chan (What the hell is up with that anyway? They think we won’t remember it’s him?). The presence of Anita Mui and the babe-alicious Franciose Yip doesn’t hurt either. I just wish Bill Tung had hung around longer. That guy’s a hoot. At least we have the wheelchair boy’s attempts at melodramatic dialogue to chuckle at. And by the way, there’s no game cartridge in that Game Gear kid. Yeah, Rumble in the Bronx will kill ya in more ways than one.

Stockton22’s Rating: 8/10

By Ro

Jackie comes to America for his uncle’s wedding and volunteers to stick around to help out the girl his uncle sold his grocery store to. While assisting in the store, he runs afoul of the local biker gang, who then harass him for most of the movie. While the bikers are chasing Jackie, they run afoul of mobsters who stole diamonds. Confused? Don’t be, the plot works slowly enough to follow and who really cares anyway? Again, lots of humor, stunts and street type fighting. There’s a great scene in the biker’s hangout with refrigerators and other appliances. If you like to watch him fight with props, this is the one to see!

The dubbing’s a little weird, though – some people are obviously speaking English, but everybody’s dubbed. The young boy sounds especially bizarre. However, Jackie dubs his own voice in, so it works for me. P.S. I counted more people getting taken away in ambulances in this movie’s outtakes than any other one I saw!

Ro’s Rating: 7.5/10

By Marcia

On a whim, a mere three months ago, my hubby and I picked up Rumble (and, if I remember right, Young Master) at the video store. Had heard about Rumble, had heard about Jackie, but had never seen him. If you’ve paid any attention to the other film reviews, you know that I’ve contributed to quite a few of them, so now you know how my obsession began (me and everybody else out there…). This one’s a romp. Short on plot, but hey, watched any “American” movies lately? The action is great fun to watch, and I think it’s a really good example of the beautiful way Jackie can move. Ignore the whiny kid, the unlikely gang, and the questionable plot, and enjoy it for what it is — a fun time watching The Man!

Marcia’s Rating: 8/10

By James H.

I know that this is the film that got a lot of people hooked on Jackie. It did that for me. When I saw it in the theatre, it was one of the most amazing movies I had ever seen on the big screen. However, like every movie, it loses some of its shimmer on the TV screen.

When it’s on the smaller screen, the mistakes and bad elements’ show through a lot more. For instance, that little punk ass kid became ten times as annoying. The bad dubbing was much more noticeable, Jackie being the only one who seemed to put effort into his job. The fact that there is a big ass mountain in the middle of the Bronx also comes to mind (actually, I picked that out in the theatre).

Now, on the plus side, Jackie displays some incredible fighting skills in this film. I would have to say that this is one of his best for hand-to-hand fighting. He also displays some remarkable prop fighting; using refrigerators, skiis, shopping carts, jackets and much more. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of watching Jackie beat the hell out of the baddies at their little hideout.

The finale of the film has always bothered me quite a bit. Due to Jackie’s injury, the film makers had to wrap the film up quickly. I didn’t like the quick solution; running White Tiger over with the hovercraft and then everyone is happy. Although, having Ash’s “Kung Fu” during the outtakes almost made up for the poorly conceived climax/resolution. “Rumble” is good fun, with all of its flaws.

Note: It should be known that Jackie’s character, Keung, is actually a Hong Kong cop, not just some guy who can fight. But we would never have known that because those in charge at the studios cut it out of the film, because they think that a kung fu movie has to be 90 minutes or less.

James H’s Rating: 7/10

By Numskull

Like many other Chan fans I saw this during its theatrical run and thought it was God’s gift to cinema, but now I don’t think it’s quite so hot. On the plus side, all of the action scenes in the first hour are good (but too short in the first two cases-the supermarket and the alleyways) and the stunts are definitely up to par. On the…uh, minus side, the street gang looks rather incompetent compared to the baddies in, say, Police Story. The ending is disappointing (no more good fights after the warehouse scene), the kid in the wheelchair is a poster child for legitimate infanticide (thank God for the MUTE button), and then there’s the guy who seems totally ignorant of the fact that there are different flavors of ice cream. This would have kicked major ass if Jackie hadn’t broken his ankle and, as a result, foregone the fighting scheduled for the ending, but it turned out above average in the long run.

Numskull’s Rating: 7/10

By James Wong

Logic aside, this is a pretty good movie. If you can forget the stuff that makes no sense, like being friendly to someone who tried to throw you off a five-story building a day earilier, you’ll enjoy this film. Jackie Chan is an awesome stuntman, I hope he doesn’t get seriously hurt. He is a little insane to do the stunts he does, but he sure is good at it. In this movie, he jumps from one building to the next, across the street. He has time to do all these terrific stunts and still kick people’s asses. A must see for fans of Jackie Chan.

James Wong’s Rating: 7.5/10

By Vic Nguyen

This is the film that got me hooked on Jackie. Jackie stars as Keung, a foriegn visitor from Hong Kong that came to visit his Uncle Bill for his wedding. After the weddding, he plans to sell the supermarket and move away with his wife. A buyer appears, and buys the market at a discount price. What the buyer doesnt know is that the supermarket is constantly terrorised by a local biker gang. Keung does all he can to help stop the biker gang for the rest of the movie, running into the local mob in the process. I would never forget the expierience going to a Jackie Chan film. That crowd cheering and laughing along as the excitement builds. It was great! I was happy with this film and recommend it to anybody.

Vic Nguyen’s Rating: 8/10

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