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Film / Rumble in the Bronx

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Rumble in the Bronx is a 1996 film starring Jackie Chan, developed specifically as an attempt for him to break into the Western film market, after some failed attempts in the past which tried to mimic Stallone or Schwarzenegger-style serious action films. This film is unabashedly Jackie Chan-style; considering it opened at #1 at the box office, Chan evidently succeeded beautifully and joined the Hollywood mainstream.

Chan plays Keung, who travels to New York City to visit his uncle to attend his wedding and help out with the grocery store. He finds himself having to defend the store, and eventually himself, from a local street gang. Things get complicated when a very dangerous criminal group and the FBI get mixed up in the events.

Like most of his films, the story is just an excuse for some spectacular stunts and fast action. Among the highlights are him beating up the gang in their own warehouse and his creative use of appliances and sporting gear.

Tropes used in the film:

  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Danny appears this way sometimes but it is justified since Nancy does neglect him to some degree due to her gang affiliation.
  • Betty and Veronica: Elaine and Nancy, respectively.
  • Big Bad: The head of a crime syndicate, "White Tiger".
  • Big Brother Instinct: Keung gives Danny his Game Gear only minutes after meeting him. Too bad there's no game to go with it...
  • Clothing Damage: Played for Laughs. In the last scene, Keung, Nancy, and Elaine run over White Tiger with a hovercraft in the golf course, shredding the back of White Tiger's clothes and leaving him butt-naked.
  • Didn't See That Coming:
    • Keung takes refuge in the rebuilt store when he doesn't have enough info for negotiating the diamonds for his captive friends yet, as the smugglers take their time calling him back. The smugglers, not knowing Keung was inside the store and rigging it with a tow truck and tons of cables, proceed to tear the store literally in half to intimidate him. Keung is utterly baffled, and Elaine is pissed as hell with him.
    • The Bronx gang themselves think that their sheer numbers and their ability to basically get anywhere in the local area will eventually overwhelm Keung. No one has any idea how much of a sleeping tiger they're repeatedly harassing until he finally has enough and proceeds to kick every single one of their asses in their own hideout. Their Stunned Silence after Tony lets Keung leave says it all.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Keung beats up several members of the Bronx gang for robbing from his uncle's store, albeit not too severely. The entire gang proceeds to ambush him, pelt him with beer bottles near-fatally, and then attempt to murder him on sight every single time they see him from then on, despite his trying to avoid fighting them again. Him getting close to Nancy has them proceed to thrash his uncle's store entirely. Its gone too far that time for Keung. This isn't even getting into Angelo trying to pull a gun to murder to Keung for breaking his nose and making a fool of him.
  • Easily Forgiven: Keung seems rather forgiving of the local street gang that Nancy was a member of despite them attempting to murder him repeatedly, coming close a few times.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The Bronx gang brutalize the hell out of Keung with an onslaught of bottles batted his way, only for one of the boss's girls to try to stop Angelo from trying to shoot Keung outright. The man slaps her and prepares to shoot Nancy after she slapped him in his broken nose in protest, and the boss Tony steps in to immediately force the de-escalation in utter rage of what the man did to his girls. Amusingly, this ends up saving Keung's life since it kills the mood for the rest, and stirs the next portion of the plot when the boss hates Keung getting too close to Nancy.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The Bronx gang and White Tiger's syndicate are enemies.
  • Excuse Plot: The plot has fairly threadbare justifications for the chases and fights occurring throughout the film, and the diamond heist really only serves the purpose of escalating the plot to justify more fight scenes. Most of the cast is a Flat Character that exists almost entirely for their sole purpose in the story. The movie even abruptly ends once White Tiger's been comically defeated, cutting out on Keung, Nancy and Elaine celebrating and heading near-immediately into the Hilarious Outtakes.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Nancy takes care of Keung after the alley scene and it inspires her Heel–Face Turn.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: When one of the gang members gets shoved into a woodchipper.
  • Groin Attack: Keung received one in the form of a quick right knee from Nancy the stripper/lingerie model as part of a trap set up by the local street gang that she's a member of. The result and reaction are standard.
  • Improvised Weapon: A Jackie Chan staple. Though he's also on the receiving end when he's cornered in an alley and falls victim to beer bottles hit toward him with bats.
  • It's Personal: Keung messed up a street race and beat up a handful of their guys a bit for robbing his uncle's store, and the entire gang proceeds to attempt to kill him over and over again for daring to cross their path. But the moment they destroy the entire store and leave Elaine in a Heroic BSoD blaming Keung for it all, all because he got too close to Nancy for the boss's tastes? Keung marches straight into their hideout livid with Tranquil Fury, smashes their music to get their attention, overcomes the boss Cody in a rigged fight, and proceeds to beat their asses so thoroughly the boss opts to let him go rather than continue the carnage anymore.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Keung's uncle manages to sleep through a drag race happening right outside his apartment. Keung, who is new to New York does not have this ability.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Nancy. Her gang is implied to have a change in heart after Keung beats them up but no long term scenario is explored.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: Jackie broke his ankle jumping onto the hovercraft, so he made do filming the rest of the movie with long jeans and a sock over his cast that looked like a shoe.
  • Hong Kong Dub: The story goes out of its way to Switch to English at the start, only to have everyone dubbed over anyway. It gets really blatant with Keung's uncle, but everyone, even fully English-speaking native characters, are redubbed in English.
  • ISO-Standard Urban Groceries: Keung is seen carrying a paper grocery bag on his way home before he is lured into an ambush. It even has the French Bread sticking out of the bag!
  • Literal Ass-Kissing: Angelo crudely tries to make Keung do this. The punk gets his bare ass whipped with a broken off car antenna for his trouble.
  • Mood Whiplash: What should have been the last straw when the diamond thieves outdo the gang in harassing the minimart by tearing down half the building turns into this, thanks to Elaine on the can. At first she just thinks someone else is waiting for her to finish, then half the building walls come off revealing her on the toilet in broad daylight, after which she goes into hysterics.
  • Motorcycle Dominoes: Nancy kicks over the gang's stacked bikes when escaping the nightclub.
  • The Mountains of Illinois: Very little of this film was shot anywhere near New York. They mostly fake it acceptably, but mountains show up in one or two shots.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Nancy.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Nancy is repentant for her actions in luring Keung into an ambush, and hearing Danny talk about how he feels like he's completely unable to do what other kids can do makes her utterly break down and throw herself at Keung's (willing) mercy.
  • Naked People Are Funny: "White Tiger" gets his comeuppance when Keung drives a freaking liner-size hovercraft over him, leaving him in the dirt with severe Clothing Damage.
  • Naked People Trapped Outside: Not quite naked but Keung is trapped out of his uncle's apartment building in his underwear after protecting his uncle's car from the gang.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: A few times. Keung fighting the gangsters after they stole some candy and some drinks leads to Disproportionate Retribution, him becoming friendly with the gang-leader's girlfriend leads to even more for both him and his boss. Finally, when he tries to help the gang, he does the most damage, leading the diamond thieves to them.
  • No Escape but Down: Invoked and defied when Keung is stuck on the roof of a carpark when the thugs are all around him - he takes a flying leap off the edge and lands in the fire escape of the building right beside it.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Delivered to Keung in the alleyway. With thrown glass bottles.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Keung has a mild one on discovering the mirror he was posing (and picking his nose) in front of is actually one-way glass.
    • One of the diamond thieves isn't fazed by Keung hitting him, or even getting whacked in the face with a football helmet. Then Keung gets a giant pipe wrench, and he falls to his knees weeping.
  • Pac Man Fever: The infamous cartridge-less Game Gear.
  • Precision F-Strike: Both the gang members and White Tiger's diamond smugglers get at least one F-bomb off.
  • Promotion to Parent: Nancy and Danny's parents are implied to be dead or missing so Nancy is Danny's caretaker.
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: Facing down a Giant Mook Keung progresses to using different weapons against the guy, eventually getting up to smacking him around with a football helmet and hardly fazing him. Humorously, the guy backs down when Keung is given a giant monkey wrench.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The injury mentioned above naturally meant that Jackie couldn't do any actual fighting during the climax, so it was retooled into a car chase.
  • Robbing the Mob Bank: Angelo steals the diamonds from a illegal diamond deal that gone bad, which belongs to the boss of a larger and more effective crime syndicate. This results getting two gang members kidnapped and one member getting executed in a tree-shredder with his remains given back to the other gangsters as a warning to return the diamonds Angelo stole.
  • Shaming the Mob: Keung does this to the local street gang. This, in combination with the murder of one of their members (see Gory Discretion Shot) by the criminal group, prompts a Heel–Face Turn by the gang themselves.
  • Shipper on Deck: Danny for Keung and Nancy.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: When things start getting serious, the last we see of Danny is of him telling Keung to take care of his sister while leaving in a taxi.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: The entirety of the punkass Bronx gang seems to have two guns, between the boss and Angelo. Angelo pulling it to try to kill Keung while he's down is severely admonished by his gang for going too far. The boss only pulls his when Keung's directly in their hideout and picking a fight. White Tiger's diamond smugglers, on the other hand, are introduced going to town on everyone in their path with rapid-fire weapons and grenades, and it immediately attracts the attention of the authorities in large quantities, demonstrating why the rest of the gang seems to be very hesitant to avoid shootings.
  • The Syndicate: Another criminal group lead by White Tiger, which is larger and much more dangerous than Tony's gang.
  • Switch to English: Keung comes to America and meets up with his uncle. The two speak in Chinese for a short bit, but his uncle soon asks, "How's your English?". Keung mentions that his English is passable so his uncle insists they speak it from that point on to help him improve. The rest of the film is in English (though clearly dubbed, even with the people who were speaking English on set).
  • Token Evil Teammate: The local street gang that harasses Keung are all brutal thugs. Angelo, however, stands out from the rest of them, being a tinge on the Ax-Crazy side and carrying his own revolver as he even slaps one of the gang's girls for trying to prevent him from using it. His antics usually cause his gang to laugh at him when he receives comeuppance, but a member of the gang later dies due to his actions, and it's his attempts to make off with the diamonds for himself that causes the last portion of the plot.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: A couple of the gang members immediately lose their lunch the moment they see one of their friends left as garbage bag mulch from a woodchipper.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Keung's uncle and said uncle's new spouse both disappear from the story entirely not far in, and Danny ends up gone for the rest of the movie after his encounter with the diamond smugglers. The movie doesn't even bother resolving anything in the aftermath of the store's second destruction, or bringing them up ever again, either.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: The gang leader Tony contemplates doing this.. only for Keung to dare if he's got the guts, or otherwise drop it. Nancy enters the room at that point, and the punk gets prideful enough to toss it aside hoping to make an example of Keung. His entire gang deserves the beatdown that follows. This makes White Tiger's goons a notably bigger threat because they pack loaded firearms and aren't afraid to kill.
  • Wire Fu: Averted, of course. Jackie broke his ankle for his trouble in this film.
  • Would Hurt a Child: A Giant Mook from the smuggling ring brutally beats up Danny, a little boy in a wheelchair. When Keung confronts the bad guy and angrily asks on how he could do such a cruel and horrible act, the latter only responds with a smug smile on his face.