Ma Hon Keung (Jackie Chan), a Hong Kong cop comes to New York to attend the wedding of his Uncle Bill (Bill Tung) who introduces his new, African-American wife Whitney to him at his supermarket, which he has sold to Elaine (Anita Mui). Uncle Bill's friend, Steven Lo (Jamie Luk), loans him a vintage automobile for the wedding. Later that night, a street gang starts a motorcycle race near Uncle Bill's apartment. They are about to run over his friend's car until Keung jumps down and stops them.
He soon starts a rivalry with the gang after driving them away from Elaine's supermarket, which they tried to rob and vandalize. A series of brawls breaks out in which the bikers try to corner Keung and finish him off. When a member named Angelo (Garvin Cross) gets involved in an illegal diamond deal gone bad and steals the diamonds, the small-time gangsters become the victims of a larger and more effective criminal syndicate led by White Tiger (Kris Lord). While running away with the diamonds, Angelo leaves them in a cushion, which is unknowingly used by Keung for the wheelchair of a disabled Chinese American boy named Danny (Morgan Lam). Danny's elder sister Nancy (Françoise Yip), a lingerie model/dancer, works in a seedy bar and is an associate/girlfriend of the bikers.
Keung befriends Nancy and advises her to stay away from crime. When the gangsters see this, they chase Keung and Nancy. After failing to confront Keung, the bikers trash Elaine's supermarket, during which two of Angelo's men are captured by White Tiger's men, who turn up at the supermarket in search of Angelo. Angelo's colleagues are unaware of his diamond heist and one is executed in a tree-shredder; his remains given back to the other gangsters as a warning to return the multimillion-dollar goods. In the meantime, Keung and Nancy go to the bikers' shed after the latest supermarket attack, and Keung defeats them in another brawl.
Keung agrees to help the biker leader, Tony (Marc Akerstream), convinces the street gangsters to reform, and brings the big-time criminals to justice. The syndicate and Keung discovers the diamonds in Danny's wheelchair. The handover is botched after Nancy and Tony are held hostage by the syndicate and the diamonds are lost after they use a tow truck to destroy Elaine's supermarket.
White Tiger's men hijack a hovercraft and are pursued by Keung and the New York Police Department in the Hudson River. The hovercraft ends up running through the streets, causing much damage to property. Keung ends the chase by stealing a large sword from a museum, clamping it onto a sports car window and driving into the hovercraft, shredding the rubber skirt and crashing the vehicle. After shooting one of the syndicate men non-fatally to force them to reveal White Tiger's location, Keung drives the repaired hovercraft to a golf course where White Tiger is playing with subordinates. He runs them over, leaving White Tiger naked on the ground.Jackie Chan as Ma Hon Keung (T: 馬漢強, S: 马汉强, P: Mǎ Hànqiáng)
Anita Mui as Elaine
Françoise Yip as Nancy
Bill Tung as Uncle Bill Ma (T: 馬 驃, S: 马 骠, J: maa5 piu3, P: Mǎ Piào)
Marc Akerstream as Tony, leader of the gang
Garvin Cross as Angelo
Morgan Lam as Danny
Kris Lord as White Tiger
Carrie Cain Sparks as Whitney Ma
Elliot Ngok (Yueh Hua) as Wah, the Realtor (T: 華, S: 华) (uncredited)
Eddy Ko as Prospective market buyer
Emil Chau as Ice cream salesman
Alex To as Ice cream customer
Jordan Lennox as Jordan, the lead syndicate gangster with glasses
John Sampson as Gabriel, another syndicate gangster
Richard Faraci as a syndicate gangster with a ponytail
Jamie Luk as Steven Lo
Ailen Sit as Tony's Gang Member
Chan Man Ching as Tony's Gang Member
Rocky Lai (extra)/(stunts)
Mars (stunt) (uncredited)
Colin Flora (stunt) (uncredited)
Rob Wilton (stunts) Motorcycle and Hovercraft driver on land
In Hong Kong, Rumble in the Bronx broke the box office record earning HK $56,911,136 making it the biggest film in Hong Kong at that time and one of Chan's biggest ever.
It was also Chan's North American breakthrough. Opening on 1,736 North American screens, it was number one at the box office in its opening weekend, grossing US $9,858,380 ($5,678 per screen). It finished its North American run with US $32,392,047.1996 Hong Kong Film Awards
Winner: Best Action Choreography (Jackie Chan, Stanley Tong)
Nomination: Best Actor (Jackie Chan)
Nomination: Best Actress (Anita Mui)
Nomination: Best Film Editing (Peter Cheung)
Nomination: Best New Performer (Françoise Yip)
Nomination: Best Picture (Barbie Tang)
Nomination: Best Supporting Actress (Françoise Yip)
1997 Key Art Awards
Winner: Best of Show – Audiovisual
For the "Ben Knows" comedy TV spot1996 MTV Movie Awards
Nomination: Best Fight (Jackie Chan)
In his autobiography, I am Jackie Chan: My life in Action, Jackie Chan talked about the initial difficulty of filming a movie in Vancouver that is set in New York. The production team initially had to put up fake graffiti during the day and take it all down during the evening, while simultaneously making sure that no mountains made it into the background. However, Chan decided that it was best that the production team focus on the action only without worrying too much about scenery. Viewers have noted mountains in the background, which are not present in the NYC landscape, as well as the NYC helicopter which displays a Canadian civil registration (C-GZPM).
The original spoken dialogue consisted of all of the actors speaking their native language most of the time. In the completely undubbed soundtrack, available on the Warner Japanese R2 DVD release, Jackie Chan actually speaks his native Cantonese while Françoise Yip and Morgan Lam (the actors playing Nancy and Danny) speak English. All of the original dialogue was intended to be dubbed over in the international and Hong Kong film markets, and New Line cinema overdubbed and slightly changed the original English dialogue.
During filming, Chan injured his right leg while performing a stunt. He spent much of the remaining shooting time with one leg in a cast. When it came to the film's climax, the crew colored a sock to resemble the shoe on his good foot, which Chan wore over his cast. His foot still had not completely healed when he went on to shoot his next film, Thunderbolt (filmed the same year but released earlier).
The lead actress and several stunt doubles were also injured during the shooting of a motorcycle stunt, with several people suffering broken limbs and ankles.
New Line Cinema acquired the film for international distribution and commissioned a new music score and English dub (with participation from Jackie Chan). A scene of Keung's airplane flying to New York City was added to the opening credits. Two scenes added exclusively for the international version are Keung and Nancy escaping from the nightclub after the bikers spot them together, and White Tiger taking a golf shot before a subordinate approaches him with his phone. Neither of these scenes were in the original Hong Kong release. In comparison to the Hong Kong version, 17 minutes of cuts were made.
The new soundtrack replaced Chan's song over the closing credits with the song "Kung Fu" by the band Ash, the lyrics of which mention Jackie Chan, as well as other Asian figures and characters ubiquitous in the west.
The majority of DVD versions of the film contain the heavily edited US New Line Cinema cut, with the relevant dubs created for each market. However, other versions exist, which are closer to the original theatrical release.A DVD was produced by Warner Brothers HK for Hong Kong and South Korea. This contains the New Line Cinema version with additional abridged Cantonese and Mandarin soundtracks. It has an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, but includes no English subtitles.
Warner Home Video also released a DVD in Japan of the Hong Kong version. This version contains the Hong Kong cut of the film. The dialogue is completely undubbed in a mono 2.0. However, its aspect ratio is cropped to 1.85:1 and contains no English subtitles.
In Hong Kong, a VCD containing the Hong Kong version in Cantonese, with newly generated English and Chinese subtitles was also released. It's 2.35:1.
A Blu-Ray was released in the United States on 6 October 2015.
It appears that a joint-distribution deal was made, with Thakral releasing the film in China, and Chinastar releasing it in Hong Kong. This version contains no credits, not even the film title, but is otherwise the Hong Kong version. There are no English subtitles and the ratio is roughly 2.10:1.
Malaysian distributor Speedy released a VCD. As well as local censorship (for profanity - also featuring a substituted shots of Angelo insulting Keung), it has a slightly different Cantonese/English soundtrack (some characters are dubbed in Cantonese); there are English, Chinese and Malay subtitles languages. It is cropped to approximately 1:85:1 and distorted to 1:56:1.
The film had three separate DVD releases by Taiwanese distributor Funny. Two of these DVDs feature the Taiwanese Mandarin-dubbed version with embedded subtitles. One of these contains a Dolby 5.1 soundtrack only, whilst the other contains both Dolby and DTS soundtracks. The third release is a double-sided disc, featuring the Taiwanese Mandarin dub on one side and the English-dubbed New Line Cinema version on the other. Despite containing a dubbed soundtrack, these DVDs are the only releases to contain English subtitles for a Chinese version. All three are presented in 2.35:1.Another DVD was released as part of the 4 Film Favorites: Martial Arts collection. The film is exactly like the New Line Cinema but put on the other side of the disc. The film is also attached to The Corruptor, Showdown in Little Tokyo, and Bloodsport.
When released in North America, Rumble in the Bronx received generally positive reviews, as most critics were happy that a Jackie Chan film was finally getting a wide theatrical release in North America. The film currently has a 79% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Most critics agreed that the plot and acting were lacking, but the action, stunts, and Chan's charm made up for it.
Roger Ebert's review for the Chicago Sun-Times was:
"Any attempt to defend this movie on rational grounds is futile. Don't tell me about the plot and the dialogue. Don't dwell on the acting. The whole point is Jackie Chan – and, like Astaire and Rogers, he does what he does better than anybody. There is a physical confidence, a grace, an elegance to the way he moves. There is humor to the choreography of the fights (which are never too gruesome). He's having fun. If we allow ourselves to get in the right frame of mind, so are we.
The movie was also featured in a 2016 video essay by Every Frame A Painting, calling attention to the fact that the movie was shot in Vancouver despite being set in the Bronx, where no mountain ranges are visible.