Jackie Chan may be getting a little in the tooth now, causing many of his recent films to add wires and CG assistance to his stunts, something that is almost a heinous mockery of everything Chan’s work and career has stood for. But the guy’s getting old! What can you do? His entire filmography has been a pillar of action cinema, archetypal and revolutionary for Hong Kong action and just good movies that have been embraced by the world as a whole. So, when movies like the Tuxedo or the Medallion come out, we can look the other way, forgiving these less impressive movies in lieu of all his other repertoire. Shinjuku Incident is a bird of another color entirely.
Gone are the scenes of flipping and kicking, gone is the Disney styled humor that was so accessible to families of all ages and there’s no sign of any obvious CG or wire removal here. In fact, there is very little action at all! Shinjuku Incident is a dramatic, violent and historical movie about illegal immigrants from China that found themselves in Japan. They are treated very poorly and much like in Hoffa or Scarface, there is a rise to power for Jackie as he unites his people in this dangerous new setting. At first this is just to protect themselves, but as time goes on the power, as it always does, corrupts his organization and as war starts to break out in the streets, people are brutally killed and lives are ruined.
Now, when I say “brutally killed”, I put the emphasis on “brutal” if only for the fact that this is a Jackie Chan vehicle and probably the most shocking of his movies in that respect. You should be prepared before watching this movie. This isn’t the old Jackie.
The new Jackie holds much promise though. While we may miss the incredible stunts he used to perform, this new movie demonstrates to a certainty that Jackie has the chops to play in very serious and heavy roles. Most of his American films have him struggling with his dialogue and that gives him a misconceived appraisal of his abilities. Watch Shinjuku Incident and be impressed.