Jackie Chan murders people and Jackie Chan dies.
No rappers to be seen anywhere
I've no idea how i missed this great film in 2009, but
better late than never and i watched it finally in the summer of
2017. Probably Jackie's many awful Hollywood action-comedies with damned
rappers or whatever made me to
give up on his later films. I have a hunch that probably many other
fans of his 1970's - 1990's films missed this too
and for the same reason. Maybe Jackie Chan himself got tired of the
too many western produced silly films and
decided to play a role as he has never done before. Something like 1990's
Crime Story but even grittier and darker,
and Jackie is good, really good as the friendly chinese immigrant drawn
into crime in the shadier parts of Tokyo.
Actually, when i think about it, a little bit like Brian De Palma's
Scarface with Jacke as a more friendly Tony Montana.
Is this film just custom made for a bored Jackie to
do something different then? Answer is NO.
Not just Jackie Chan is good in the main role but the
film as a whole is an impressive Crime-Drama done the Noir style
and it felt a bit like something made during the 1980's Golden Era of
Hong Kong filmmaking, but without the hyper-
kinetic overblown style of that decade. Great direction and an interesting
story from director and scriptwriter Derek
Yee, the story about the life of illegal chinese immigrants in the Shinjuku
district of Tokyo and the clashes with the
japanese locals .... and the yakuzas. Racism and xenophobia, that ever
present phenomena in our societies.
Jackie as Steelhead
A film about Chinese guestworkers in the rich Eldorado
Tokyo, have we seen it before? I'm thinking of Shunji
Iwai's great and fascinating Swallowtail Butterfly about Yentown, Tokyo,
when Japan was the richest country in
the world and where some chinese immigrants found a method to earning
a lot of yen. But, if Swallowtail Butterfly
was more of an arty and whimsical fairytale crime drama this film is
a more conventional one, but also great.
The film starts in the upper east corner of China, the
colder part of the country at the border to Russia. Not in the
city of ice, Harbin, but out in the countryside where Jackie Chan or
Steelhead works as a tractor mechanic.
When his girlfriend Xiu Xiu (Jinglei Xu) leaves for a better future
in Japan he decides to go too, in search for her,
and the film starts with a lot of chinese immigrants arriving by boat,
stranded on a japanese beach.
Steelhead drifts around in Tokyo (in some atmospherical footage) before
making contact with the village friend
Jie (Daniel Wu) and he joins the group of illegal chinese workers, taking
the dirtiest and least payed jobs.
Hey, Al Pacino (in Scarface) worked in a Hot Dog stand
before turning into crime, maybe a bit more glamorous
than Steelhead's jobs in sewer tunnels and in garbage dumps. But, also
Steelhead's line of work is about to
change when he, unknowingly, saves the life of a yakuza boss, Eguchi
(Masaya Kato) and is rewarded.
widescreen with mandarin, cantonese and japanese 5.1
or 2.0 audio with english subs (or an english 5.1 dub)
Extras on disc 1: Original trailer, international trailer, UK trailer
and TV spots
Disc 2 - Extras:
Interview with Jackie Chan (25 minutes in cantonese
with subs), interview with Daniel Wu (18 minutes in canto-
nese with english subs), interview with Xu Jinglei (17 minutes in mandarin
with english subs), interview with Masaya
Kato (11 minutes in japanese with subs), interview with Naoto Takenaka
(10 minutes in japanese with english
subs), interview with action director Chin Kar-Lok (15 minutes in cantonese
with subs) and finally an interview
with the ST guy Peter Kam (4 minutes in cantonese with subs),
Making Of (17 minutes) and a 103 minutes Behind the Scenes