Most of those who love their Kung-Fu flicks lost faith in the world’s biggest movie star, Mr. Jackie Chan, sometime around “The Tuxedo” (2002). While most of Chan’s catalog leans toward the humorous side of high kicks and throat punches, the actor, director, and producer, now 56, has become more notable stateside for child-tailored pablum (i.e. last month’s “The Spy Next Door” with Billy Ray Cyrus) than his more balletic, exciting works like “Drunken Master II” or “Police Story”. Now though, Americans will get a chance to view a Chan work too violent, too controversial to play in his Chinese homeland.
Returning to the Hong Kong formula of kicks and guns that proved so fruitful for him in the past, Chan attempted to release “San Suk Si Gin (The Shinjuku Incident)” in mainland China, only to have censors declare the mob tale of Chinese immigrants on the streets of 1990s Tokyo too bloody for the public. Naturally, American distributors have latched on to the story and the movie, offering U.S. audiences a chance to enjoy a Chinese product not even available in China. While the real reasons for the ban may only appear clear to experts—the Chinese government is often capricious and secretive in what it wants it citizens to see and the image of immigrants seeking a better life outside the Republic couldn’t have helped—it’s just another in a long line of cultural clashes that have followed the reunification of Hong Kong with mainland China 12 years ago. Even as Chinese officials wrestle with the fact that the American-made “Avatar” still rules over their box offices, they find themselves undercutting one of their most profitable exports, Chan, who will soon be appearing in the remake of the U.S. classic, “The Karate Kid”. It begs the question, how long can the Chinese movie industry compete in a free market without freedom from their own government?
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“Where You Can See Jackie Chan’s Banned Film, ‘Shinjuku Incident’” [Cinematical]
Images courtesy of Barking Cow Distribution.