Seanbaby: Rumble in the Bronx follows the classic 10-Act Jackie Chan film structure (see below), and we set out to find the best moment from each one. Not the best sequences or stunts — that’s not what makes this movie magical. We wanted to rate those treasured moments in between Jackie Chan’s sweet suicide attempts. We tallied our votes with those of six Rumble in the Bronx experts (Eddie Doty, Timmy Leahy, Alan Chang, Evan Trask, Josh S, and Michael Swaim) to create this, the once-and-for-all list of most delightful Rumble in the Bronx things.
Official Rules: Each expert selected one moment from each act, a process we invented called “voting,” but were given one emergency tie for mental safety regulations. They were all made aware of the gravity of this poll and how this would be the most important article ever written. We now present Acts 8-10.
It’s at this point in the story when no one can come close to beating Jackie Chan and all the bad guys have flagrantly committed crimes where hundreds of people saw in a city where police exist. The greatest moment from this act, as you’d expect, is “Danny Watches His Cushion Die” with a dominating five votes.
Brockway: Jesus Christ I cried. I bawled. That cushion was this movie. It felt like I was watching that 7 foot tall henchgolem disembowel a beloved dog. It’s like if Artax had died from The Undertaker ripping out his intestines and throwing himself a little ticker tape parade with them.
Seanbaby: Two people voted for the moment when Jackie Chan pretends to be a henchman when White Tiger calls. I guess we’ll call this moment “Oh Hey, White Tiger Specifically Avoids Using Racial or Ableist Slurs When Speaking About a Child in a Wheelchair He Wants to Assassinate. Huh.”
And then we received one vote for “Jackie Appeals to the Disabled Child Abuser’s Humani– SLAP!“
Zero votes for this one, but we all agree it’s very good.
Brockway: I took a less formal poll and we all agreed they both looked up and kissed a little after this.
Seanbaby: He has the diamonds, two of the main bad guys are tied up, and the local police are desperately on his side. If he does nothing at this point, the worst thing that could happen is two assholes who have been terrorizing him all movie are killed along with the stripper he’d gone on half a date with while he keeps a bag of diamonds. But Jackie still manages to fuck it all up and almost die, pointlessly.
Brockway: I once watched Jackie Chan run down the side of a skyscraper. There are no qualifiers in that sentence – he just actually did that. If Jackie Chan didn’t pretend to screw everything up in his movies, they would be thirty seconds long. This would be a movie about the time some thugs accosted Jackie Chan in a supermarket and he beat the holy spirit out of them using only his windbreaker and they went “Jesus fucking Christ we are extremely sorry and we are going to reconsider our entire lives now. Maybe we could be drinking tea together!”
Seanbaby: For this one, let’s start with the moments that didn’t win because I want to show how competitive this section was. By Act-9, the plot has accelerated past the point of reason. It feels like they told the actors they only had four minutes of film left and to just say the most awesome things they could while they tried to kill Jackie Chan. This technique would serve Jackie Chan well for the next 30 years of his career.
There was one vote for the second phone call between White Tiger and Jackie. At gunpoint, White Tiger’s men forced a tow truck driver to pull down Jackie’s Uncle’s recently sold bodega. Those were the stakes! And while Jackie is reeling from having the building he’s in get torn down, White Tiger calls to say:
Another moment that only received one vote was “Police Officer Narrates Jackie Chan’s Undercover Operation.”
Brockway: This was actually Hank from Breaking Bad’s first credited speaking role. Don’t fucking fact check me. I will accept no follow up questions.
Seanbaby: I mentioned earlier how much I love the character “Police Officer” who everyone in the movie calls “Howard.” He’s spent the first part of the film puffing and shrugging like an animatronic police chief in a TJ Hooker ride, but after only an hour, the script finally calls for him to talk. Two votes for: “They At Long Last Give Howard a Line And He Fucking Bodies It.” His line doesn’t really make sense with the setup, but he is so happy to be talking, and he sounds exactly like a Hong Kong director would expect a black American cop from the ’70s to sound.
Brockway: Sometimes I have trouble remembering my address, but find me on the street at literally any moment in my life and I can tell you the exact crazy cadence in which he says 🎶you BETTA BE CAREful🎶.
Seanbaby: I don’t know if I’m revealing an insider secret or if every agent already told this to their clients and that’s how I know about it, but if you’re a westerner reading for a part on a Hong Kong film, deliver every line like you’re George Jefferson having an argument with a hallucination under a noisy helicopter. It’s exactly what they’re looking for.
There’s this amazing moment during the undercover operation when Jackie tells the henchmen he wants to speak to their boss “White Tiger” and he replies…
Brockway: Dude looks like my index finger.
Seanbaby: Part of the magic of this movie is they gave 80% of the dialog to stuntmen with no acting experience trying to please a director who thinks there are two types of performances: “normal” and “normal without swords.” The way this stuntman took three entire hours to suspiciously peek in both directions after he says “OUR BOSS IS NOT WHITE TIGER,” is how Garfield would react if the mayor exclaimed his prized lasagna was missing. It’s why this moment earned… wait, zero votes? “OUR BOSS IS NOT WHITE TIGER” didn’t get any votes? How!? People quote this line 25 years after seeing this movie once. Is our system flawed? Oh, I see what happened. Howard. Howard stole the scene again.
Seanbaby: Howard spots the bad guys and screams “HEY!” at them. Then he decides to put his cigar in his mouth so he can hold his gun with both hands and he takes so long they shoot him. Right in the cigar. And on a Jackie Chan set, the special effect for making it look like you were shot in the cigar is, “Here, Western clown, put this explosive in your mouth and do your best to keep your eyes open, ACTION!*” The scene ends with Jackie Chan getting so fed up with Howard’s bullshit he leaves to catch the bad guys himself, which honestly seems like what Howard was going for.
* translated from Cantonese
Seanbaby: This finale is the raddest ending of any movie. He kills a hovercraft by sticking a stolen sword out the window of a stolen lamborghini. Then the cops repair it and let Jackie drive it as part of an arrest! Why? The screenwriter knew you’d ask so he added a line about it! It’s because “White Tiger’s men are driving the thing,” but this makes no sense because Jackie Chan is obviously not one of White Tiger’s men and, sure enough, White Tiger shoots at him the moment the hovercraft interrupts his golf game. No, listen: the police put a civilian with no hovercraft license in charge of an undercover hovercraft operation to arrest a crime syndicate boss on a crowded golf course!!! FUCK! Fuck, I love this movie!
Brockway: There are several scenes in the hovercraft chase where they show that the trained pilot of the hovercraft is not fully in control of the hovercraft. Piloting a hovercraft is like driving anything over 25MPH in GTA V. Your inputs are suggestions to not just be ignored, but actively scorned. There’s a brief scene in the finale where they break to show the hovercraft pilot telling Jackie Chan how to pilot a hovercraft for revenge purposes. That scene takes place in Manhattan. The next scene takes place on a golf course. There is no hovercraft tow truck. Jackie Chan killed 800 people on the 40 mile journey to scrape up White Tiger’s buns.
Seanbaby: Five votes for “Jackie Saves the Baby From the Hovercraft.”
One vote for “Howard and Police Officer Bumped Into the Hovercraft and They Are Out of Ideas!”
Seanbaby: When Jackie Chan is in Hong Kong, the cops are superhuman crimestopping machines and he usually plays one of them. When Jackie’s in America, cops are the dumbest pieces of worthless shit, just whining about how crime is hard and giving up after the first hovercraft bumps into their bitch ass patrol cars. There are five different occasions where these two cops fuck up the The Case of the Obvious Criminals Doing Crime In Front of Everyone and that’s not counting the three times they put a foreign national with massive head trauma and no law enforcement training in charge of a criminal investigation.
Two votes for “Jackie Chan Runs Down White Tiger With the Hovercraft.”
And one vote for “Freeze Frame Hovercraft Mauling!”
Brockway: You know what I voted for. Every single everything should end with a triumphant freeze frame, and it might have actually been Rumble in the Bronx that taught me this. Of course, that’s not really the end. All Jackie Chan movies really end with the outtakes over credits, where it’s revealed that every single person involved in the filming of this movie technically died at least once. There’s a scene where Jackie Chan leaps from a bridge to the hovercraft and breaks his ankle. He does not stop filming. He returns to set with a cast, and they airbrush a giant sock to look like his other shoe so he can keep doing stunts with broken limbs.
If you pause just right on certain scenes, you can see it. It is a symbol of inspirational madness. Of persistence that triumphs over everything, even basic safety procedures. That’s what I aspire to be. That’s we should all aspire to be: Jackie Chan’s one big shoe.
5 replies on “Teamworking Day: The Complete Rumble in the Bronx Breakdown, Part 3 🌭”
Rewatched this last night and could have sworn I remembered Jackie breaking his ankle jumping from the parking lot and limping off camera, but nope. It was the jump to the hovercraft and it’s right there in the movie. I winced when I saw his foot bend to his side like an “L”
Glad I rewatched this for your articles.
Any thoughts on Jet Li?
Look into Fist of Legend!
Or if you want to delve into dark unspeakable Kung Fu films, “The Evil Cult”…
Streaming services won’t even carry that one…
Fist of Legend is amazing, but the instructions were very clear. We are not to stop Rumbling in the Bronx, for any reason, sir.
You may now resume Rumbling in the Bronx. It is mandatory.
Wait, no one mentioned the moment when the drummer of the street-festival-headlining ’80s hair-metal band stands up and shouts (pretty appropriately under the circumstances), “HOVERCRAAAAAAAAFT!”?
We’re all fired!