Fan Bing-Bing and Jackie Chan in Derek Yee’s Shinjuku Incident
Derek Yee’s dark 2009 drama Shinjuku Incident is getting a limited stateside release courtesy of the folks at Barking Cow Distribution. For now, the film is showing in California, Hawai’i, New Jersey, New York, and Washington. Click here for specific theater listings. I’ve actually already seen the film, albeit on a Singapore Airlines flight, but if I get a chance, I might catch a screening at the AMC Van Ness 14 here in San Francisco. The airline version seemed to be slightly edited for violence, although I don’t think seeing the reinstated footage would do much of a difference in terms of altering my opinion of the film.
In rereading Kozo’s original review, I have to admit that I concur with much of what he has to say. Shinjuku Incident does try to be, as he writes, “an immigrant drama and a gangland thriller.” For what it’s worth, I really liked the immigrant story much more than I did the “emerging criminal empire” angle that emerges halfway through. Part of the reason for the film’s difficulty in transitioning well between the two genres is the casting of Jackie Chan. To be fair, he does a fine job in the role, but — through not fault of his own — he simply can’t transcend his iconic onscreen persona. Jackie Chan’s character, Steelhead, does some very bad things in this movie, but it’s easy to forgive him because of that familiar, affable “I don’t want any trouble” personality he’s cultivated in a myriad of films in the last two decades. We shouldn’t be giving his character a pass during these moments, but strangely, even the worst crimes all feel very justified.