Shinjuku Incident (HK 2009)
Lets review a new movie for a change. This is Jackie Chan's latest and is in a much darker tone than you usually get from the man. He plays an illegal immigrant from Mainland China who sneaks into Japan to look for his beau, Xu Jinglei, who has gone missing. Jackie settles down to a life as an illegal with his friend Daniel Wu doing the dirty jobs Japanese don't want to do though of course always being wary of the police and in one incident he ends up saving the life of a cop (Naoto Takenaka). Finally he sees his old love... who is now married to a Yakuza mob boss!
To survive Jackie forms his own gang from a collection of misfit Chinese illegal immigrants in order to get legal status and some respectability but of course as you know in these films a dark past never can be evaded forever and the cop he saved earlier wants him to get his former buddies back the right side of the law. The end of the film is very violent as Japanese and Chinese mob gangs do battle though the fight scenes are realistic (apart from Jackie who can't be stopped by gun or sword wounds it seems). The plot is quite generic for these kinds of movies (New guys enters scene / Fights way to top / Rivals want to bring him down) but also has a number of interesting sub-plots such as the experience of illegal immigrants in Japan to shake things up a bit though these sub-plots never really go anywhere.
Its the darkest Jackie Chan film i've seen and he tries his best to portray a complicated character with good and bad facets to his character but Jackie Chan has a lot of acting baggage (and not all of it that good) so sometimes it is difficult to relate to his character. It might just be down to the countless films you have seen him in before where he plays a much lighter character. Of course he has played "serious" roles before but often as the "good guy", here it is much more ambiguous.
The film is good though and portrays Japan's back streets as dark and violent. You won't find much if any of Jackie Chan's trademark action but you'll get a good solid mobster movie with plenty of gritty violence.