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Film / Shinjuku Incident

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Shinjuku Incident is a 2009 Hong Kong crime drama directed by Derek Yee, produced by and starring Jackie Chan, partly intended to prove that He Really Can Act and isn't just the goofy martial artist he is commonly cast as.

The story follows the path of a Chinese illegal immigrant to Japan named Steelhead after his initial search for his fiancée Xiu-Xiu finds her happily living with Yakuza leader Eguchi. Steelhead coincidentally saves Eguchi's life during an act of revenge. Eguchi then has Steelhead assassinate several of his enemies, and rewards him with both territory and legal citizenship. This unfortunately places him in the middle of a Mob War between the Yakuza and the Triads, with an empire composed mostly of the people who have helped him so far. Further complicating things is Detective Kitano, a Japanese policeman with immigration who initially agrees to stop pursuing Steelhead after the latter saves his life, but is later drawn into the action due to the nature of Steelhead's "business." Eventually, a series of violent aggressions by rival gangs that all accidentally end up hitting Steelhead's soft-spoken brother Jie and the deepening corruption of Steelhead's friends cause him to realize what he has become. He resolves to break up his empire with the help of Detective Kitano, at which point it may already be too late...


This film contains examples of:

  • An Arm and a Leg: Gao cuts off Jie's hand after catching him with the rigged pachinko machine, and Steelhead returns the favour.
  • An Immigrant's Tale: Of a sort.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: Steelhead and Kitano are unquestionably the most admirable characters, but the former killed several people and even Kitano does a few illegal things in helping Steelhead.
  • Black Market
  • Book-Ends: Steelhead saves Kitano from drowning in the sewer near the beginning, and Kitano tries to reciprocate at the end.
  • Counterfeit Cash
  • Crime After Crime: Part of how Steelhead enters the underworld.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to a lot of Chan's earlier work.
  • Downer Ending: Steelhead is mortally wounded by gunshot and ends up in the sewers. After giving the cop the incriminating evidence of the antagonists, he drifts away, letting the water carry him deeper into the sewers where he most likely dies. The very end scene showing him and his friends during happier times.
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  • Dub Name Change: Steelhead's name is mysteriously rendered as "Nick" in the English dub.
  • Fell Off the Back of a Truck: Steelhead is offered a lot of...less than legitimate goods at one point.
  • Hitman with a Heart: Steelhead/Nick to a T.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Steelhead's initial reason for coming to Tokyo was to search for his childhood sweetheart/fiancee Xiu Xiu, and after he is finally able to see and talk to her again, he is forced to give her up, as Xiu Xiu has married, changed her name, and has a daughter. Steelhead can only tell her that her parents miss her back home and that she should visit if she has the time.
  • The Informant: Steelhead agrees to be this for Kitano in exchange for letting his friends walk. He also makes one of Eguchi.
  • Let Me at Him!: There are a couple times the main group wants to attack but can't without getting everyone killed.
  • Make an Example of Them: Happens twice (non-lethally) to Jie.
  • Mob War: Between the three main groups.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Steelhead does this after Gao cuts off Jie's hand, and again when he sees how his friends have become corrupt.
  • Off the Record: Kitano's favours for Steelhead.
  • Revenge by Proxy: On Jie.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Detective Kitano, although subverted in that for most of the movie he is not actually chasing Steelhead...because he almost got killed chasing Steelhead.
  • Triads
  • Yakuza

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