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Fight Flicks: Rumble in the Bronx

Fight Flicks is a new recurring column on CagePotato that focuses on overlooked, underrated, or just plain awesome fight-centric films currently available on Youtube. For our second installment, we focus on the Jackie Chan classic, Rumble in the Bronx. 

There’s a saying where I come from, “The universe provides.” It’s rather self-explanatory, but basically, “The universe provides” posits that the keys to solving any problem, no matter how trivial, can be found in the world around us with the help of a little inventive thinking. It’s a pseudo-philosophical understanding of “Life Hacks“ among us self-reliant, redneck MacGyver types, if you will.

In any case, it’s a philosophy that was clearly not lost on Jackie Chan, who burst into the mainstream with his environment-as-a-weapon style of martial arts in the 1995 fight flick classic, Rumble in the Bronx. Although Chan had already gained notoriety in his native Hong Kong during the 70′s and 80′s with such movies as Drunken Master, Police Story, and Armour of God, it wasn’t until Rumble in the Bronx that Chan truly introduced audiences to his hyper-energetic style of fighting that was equal parts Chinese martial arts, parkour, and slapstick humor.

I’ve already spoke at length about my love of Rumble in the Bronx. From the insanely intricate fight choreography/stunts right down to the cartoonish acting and horrendous dubbing (and of course, Francoise Yip), I would defy you to name a more entertaining flick from Chan’s historic career (LALALALA CAN’T HEAR YOU DRUNKEN MASTER 2!!). No, Rumble in the Bronx features a hovercraft fight, a no-net, building-to-building jump, and the most astounding 4-minute “man vs. an army” sequence ever committed to film, and therefore stands above them all.

That Chan was willing to sacrifice life and limb to achieve his vision(s) has been discussed ad nauseum, but perhaps one of the lesser talked about aspects of Chan’s career was his ability to inject Three Stooges-esque humor into something as inherently violent as a fight. Filmdrunk’s Vince Mancini put it best when he said that ”Jackie Chan is the Buster Keaton of martial arts movies.” The moment during the aforementioned “man vs. army” fight in which Chan attempts to wrestle/kick/destroy by any means possible several glass bottles before an assailant can hit him with one, culminating in an inexplicable “DONG!” sound effect? Cinematic gold.

OK, I’ll stop gushing over a movie that you’re probably sick of hearing me gush over and just hit you with a few facts about Rumble in the Bronx (taken from the film’s IMDB and Wikipedia pages):

-Filming in Vancouver, Canada on October 6, 1994, Jackie Chan broke his right ankle while attempting the scene where he jumps onto the hovercraft. Françoise Yip also broke her leg while filming the scene where she rides a motorbike across the tops of parked cars.

-The warehouse/man vs. army fight scene took twenty days to film, with Jackie Chan having to teach the local stunt players to fight “Hong Kong style.”

-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. In America, the film opened on 1,736 screens and was number one at the box office in its opening weekend, grossing US $9,858,380 ($5,678 per screen). It finished its North American run with US $32,392,047.

-Said Roger Ebert of the film: “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.”

God damn do I love this movie. I’ll see you all in about two hours.

-J. Jones

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