December 31, 2010 · Print This Article

I lived in Shinjuku for six years, which is not a common thing to do since that place is on the heart of Tokyo on the other side of the world from my former home, Florida.  So Jackie Chan’s non-martial arts film SHINJUKU INCIDENT had an added appeal and familiarity to me….I lived just five minutes walk from where most of the action took place.  Unfortunately, I never saw a single second of this film being made.  My guess is they were filming late at night when it was both dark, and the area was more deserted as I never saw nor even felt any of the violence often portrayed in SHINJUKU INCIDENT.

The movie is a sprawling, epic tale of a Chinese immigrant’s plight from hardship in China, to working at the lowest level literally sewer job in Tokyo, to rising to be a man of power and even respect while always being in the sphere of organized crime.

It is very weird to see Jackie Chan in danger on screen, and not bust out dominant kung fu.  He cannot even win simple streets fights in INCIDENT.  His character in general is very understated, with all the substance definitely residing deep inside.  He comes to have a fated connection to a Tokyo police inspector that a lot of the conflicts in the movie depends on.

INCIDENT is a very grim movie, but it shows a world few would see, the Kabukicho area (photos) of Tokyo and what it is like for an illegal alien trying to survive there.  Recommended for showing, and perhaps exaggerating, Tokyo and Japan’s hidden, violent street life.


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