When a guy eyes a gleaming Rolls Royce and says, “Remember. Don’t scratch it,” in “Rumble in the Bronx,” you know it’s about to become a slag heap.
Part of the appeal of this cheesy, cheery, wildly entertaining movie is its predictability. If there is an apple cart, it’ll be upset; if there’s a speeding truck, our hero will step in front of it; if there’s a little kid, he’ll be plucked from danger at the last possible second.
Starring the astonishing Jackie Chan, the Hong Kong-made “Rumble” is equal parts wonton soup and wanton destruction, but Chan always triumphs in the end.
The movie is dubbed from its original Cantonese, but you’re watching Chan’s fists of fury, not his mouth. Diving head-first into a car’s sunroof to avoid an oncoming motorcycle, using a grocery cart like a Hula-Hoop and leveling a dozen challengers in an elaborately choreographed martial arts display, Chan is an amiable, graceful clown.
It has taken the 41-year-old Chan a while to find an American audience, but he obviously has a kung future. His gift to the action genre is the addition of nimble, Buster Keatonstyle physical comedy.
In one “Rumble in the Bronx” set piece, all that’s left of a flattened building is a woman sitting undisturbed amid the wreckage.
The witty action sequences also are spectacular, especially if you know that Chan does all his own stunts (during the final credits, outtakes show how they occasionally misfire).
Even the goonier elements of the movie add to the fun. Like the kooky geography: In many scenes, there is a mountain range in the Bronx. Must be those mountains right next to the Brooklyn Desert and the Great Wall of Harlem (the movie was actually filmed in Vancouver).
Admittedly, the dialogue (mostly variations of “Uurggh!”) and acting are also lackadaisical. Big whoop - “Rumble in the Bronx” is a “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” for adults, and we deserve it.
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: “Rumble in the Bronx” Locations: East Sprague, North Division and Coeur d’Alene cinemas Credits: Directed by Stanley Tong; starring Jackie Chan Running time: 1:30 Rating: R