SEASON'S BEATINGS: A CHRISTMAS IN HONG KONG - Jackie Chan Double Feature (Rumble in the Bronx & City Hunter!)

After a couple of failed attempts at American crossovers, Rumble In The Bronx launched Jackie Chan into American stardom and solidified him as a household name. Director and frequent collaborator Stanley Tong (Super Cop, First Strike, Mr. Magoo) helped Jackie blend family friendly comedy, an anti-gang violence message, and hilarious acrobatic stunts, creating one of those rare films with genuine universal appeal, leaving middle-schoolers and grandmothers alike begging for more. Though he had several years of international success under his belt—and was a literal megastar throughout Asia—this was most US viewers’ first encounter with Jackie as a leading action star, and they quickly lapped up his signature kung-fu comedy—a mash-up of Buster Keaton-like comedic timing and jaw-dropping stunts. Even dubbed, the charm and charisma of co-stars Anita Mui (the “Madonna of Asia”) and Bill Tung shines through, alongside a cast rounded out by mostly silly, not-so-threatening 90s gang members (the ugliest verbal insult they hurl throughout the whole film is “you’re through!”). A wonderful reminder to long time fans of all the reasons to love Jackie, and a perfect introduction to those yet to be pummeled by his charm, Rumble is a riotous rock ‘em sock ‘em rollercoaster ride that, like a swift kick to the gut, will leave you curled up on the floor with laughter.

Dir. Stanley Tong, 1995, 35mm, 97 min.

Every one of Jackie Chan’s Chinese films given a US release gets the dub and scrub treatment: a new dubbed vocal track and scrubbing the film clean of a few scenes, often removing bizarre moments that get lost in translation. City Hunter is an hour and forty-five minutes of nothing but those bizarre moments. Based on a popular Manga, Jackie plays a philandering cop who ends up on a cruise ship that is hijacked by a gang of money hungry terrorists, all while desperately trying to have lunch (he is so hungry throughout the film, that at one point he looks at a woman’s leg, and it turns into a giant chicken drumstick). Street Fighter fans will rejoice when seeing Jackie crash into an arcade game during a fight, which briefly turns him into characters from the game, including the sexy Chun-Li. In true HK fashion, City Hunter—one of Jackie’s few gun heavy and wire-assisted action comedies—is rife with the slapstick and the cartoonish, but nonetheless quickly cuts from childish humor to the grim and violent.

Dir. Jing Wong, 1993, 35mm, 105 min.

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