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BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Rumble in the Bronx (1995)/First Strike (1996) - Blu-ray Review

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Rumble in the Bronx - Blu-ray Review

Rumble in the Bronx - Blu-ray Review

  First Strike - Blu-ray Review
4 beers   3 beers

 With the release of Jackie Chan’s Rumble in the Bronx and First Strike on blu-ray this week Warner’s back catalog of New Line titles finally begin their much-delayed martial arts HD rollout.  These are, mind you, bare-boned releases with a 2K visual upgrade and no special features as their selling points.  Yet, thanks to Chan’s silent clown era expressions and fancy footwork, what they lack in supplemental material simply doesn’t matter.  Chan’s youthful enthusiasm is all one needs to be convinced to scoop them up.  

If you think of Jackie Chan only in the context of Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon/Knights then you seriously need to pick these two titles up and take a couple of hours to educate yourself.  There is so much more to his talent than what happened once America started using and abusing him.  These are two very special films as they effectively made Jackie Chan an overnight star of action and humor when they hit American theater chains in the late 1990s.  Finally available on blu-ray, these two jaw-dropping titles still fire on all cylinders. 

We begin with 1995’s Rumble in the Bronx in which Chan plays a Hong Kong cop defending his Uncle’s (Bill Tung) supermarket from street gangs in New York City (but really Vancouver, Canada).  Full of humor and some well-choreographed fight scenes with everyday household items, Rumble in the Bronx is still a significant crowd pleaser.  It starts out as a small series of brawls and grows to involve an illegal diamond deal gone wrong. 

Directed by Stanley Tong, Rumble in the Bronx was Chan's North American breakthrough.  It’s a film worthy of its buzz for its stunts alone.  The stunts – as choreographed by Chan – are absolutely insane and involve Chan using pool sticks, bottles, and his own feet to battle some nasty-looking thugs.   Forget about the plot, this is a movie that celebrates the mechanics of its star.  You will laugh and be amazed as Chan cleans up the neighborhood.

Also directed by Tong, the North American release of 1996’s First Strike (but really Police Story 4) sees Chan as a foreign operative working for the CIA while he tracks down some nasty nukes.  It’s absolutely pointless to go much further into the plot because, time and time again, Chan’s stunts and the humor embedded within them trump everything else.  It’s all basic good verses bad stuff throughout with Chan rising to the occasion to top even his own work as he uses a ladder to fend off his foes. 

Chan knows why audiences have come, though, and First Strike – while maybe not as effective as Rumble in Bronx – still delivers some pretty heinous death-defying moments.  While the highlights of the films are the stunts themselves, there are enough comedic nuggets sprinkled throughout each film to make them worthy additions to your collection.   Both films are available in stores thanks to the efforts of a new team at Warner Home Video who are trying to rekindle interest in their back catalog of titles.

Can we have a new 2K scan of Super Cop now?

Rumble in the Bronx - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Warner Home Video presents both titles with 1080p AVC-encoded transfer that captures Chan’s expertly captures Chan’s expressions.  Colors are strong and black levels are decent.  There are some limitations in the viewing experience due to the technologies of the time period for most Hong Kong flicks but nothing too detracting from the overall film-viewing experience.  Both films feature a 5.1 soundtrack encoded in a lossless DTS-HD track. 


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