Friday, October 09, 2009

Shinjuku Incident / San suk si gin (2009)

A tale about a plucky gang of Chinese illegals in 90s Tokyo who, almost by accident, end up running an incipient criminal empire.

Denying himself his trademark comedy kung-fu antics and super-stunts, Jackie Chan drifts through the movie with a look of permanent awkwardness and bemusement, seemingly the only way he has of conveying his character Steelhead's arc from love-sick rustic to hired killer and triad boss.

This strikes me as very much a Chinese take on the world of the Japanese Yakuza, though apparently its regular spasms of gruesomeness have earned it a ban in the People's Republic.

The trouble is, that having nursed his characters through the first half of the movie, writer-director Derek Yee rather abruptly — and for this viewer at least, unsatisfactorily — throws them off a cliff as the film enters its dark and violent last act.

Grade: B

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