If you're looking for great suspense or insight into the human condition in your action movies, then the new Jackie Chan chop-socky flick is not for you.
But if you're willing to settle for a goofy comedy with lots of Kung Fu action, "Rumble in the Bronx" will more than fit the bill. You can't take anything seriously about this movie - not even the title.
Unless there are now mountains surrounding New York harbor, you can tell that very little of this movie (other than a few perspective shots) was shot in New York City. This becomes more and more obvious as the film goes along, but logic is not what its makers are aiming for.
Martial-arts veteran Chan plays Kueng, a young man visiting "New York" to attend his uncle's wedding. It's not long before he offends an improbably diverse street gang driving Japanese motocross motorcycles (which probably do better stunts than Harleys, and that's the point).
Soon, he is on the run constantly from these thugs, fighting droves of them at once, jumping off buildings and introducing them to new ways to use kitchen appliances. He is aided by two women - the good bad girl, Nancy (Francoise Yip), who was once the gang leader's girlfriend, and good girl Elene (Anita Mui), who is buying Kueng's uncle's grocery store.
The stakes are raised further when the street gang incurs the wrath of a deadly bunch of organized crime types.
"Rumble in the Bronx" is a real hoot. I laughed more here than in most alleged comedies - and most of the laughs in this movie are actually intentional, although in a very broad, Three Stooges-type way.
It's played at the usual Kung Fu movie level - bad lip-syncing (even from the American actors!), bad acting, no characterization whatsoever, and a plot that's just an excuse to mount ever-more-impressive stunts.
This high-energy film has two especially impressive assets. There's an exciting hovercraft chase through the streets of Vancouver - oops, I mean New York - that is alone worth the price of the film (although the denouement involving the hovercraft is too silly even for this movie).
The other is Chan himself. He performs all his own demanding stunts, and he is a likable, self-effacing screen presence to boot (so to speak).
One last note: Make sure to sit through the credits, which show outtakes of Chan performing his stunts, some of which go wrong. It's great stuff, and an indication that a documentary on the making of "Rumble in the Bronx" would be as fun as the movie itself.