Jackie Chan breaks out of his frequent action star role that we all know and love to play a more complex, emotional character in the crime drama the Shinjuku Incident directed by Derek Yee. Chan plays an illegal Chinese immigrant in Japan on a journey to start a new life, the immigrant dream. Along with Chan other numerous illegal Chinese are doing everything they can to survive in Japan and make new lives for themselves. Chan shows that he truly has great potential for acting in the film, he deviates from his martial arts action and concentrates on good character development and great acting.
The film follows Nick (Chan) a Chinese illegal immigrant trying to make it in Japan. Performing the worst of jobs like cleaning sewers and picking trash and at the same time keeping a low profile from authorities. He does everything he can to survive whether it be good or bad. Not far into the film he starts to get into stealing and other illegal activities but, nothing too dark until later on in the film. With the aid of other Chinese immigrants he learns the ways of living in Japan as an illegal immigrant. The film does a great job following his transition from an immigrant to a gangster at times and then to a legal, hard working citizen of Japan. Unknowingly his people turn into a gang just like the numerous Yakuza Crime Families nearby. He does everything with good intentions but, unfortunately learns that you can’t change everyone and can’t fix everything.
I do not want to reveal much of the plot since it really is a great story, there are many great scenes and feels like a good crime drama film with remnants of the Godfather and Scarface films. Jackie Chan does a great job acting and performing high tension scenes with no martial arts but, rather with a more realistic human response. Chan has proven himself in this film that he can definitely use his acting to either make or break a film. I hope to see more films like this by Chan and maybe one more crime film. Chan stated in one of the special feature documentaries of the film how for his last ten years he wants to focus on his acting and not just on action films. “I want to show the audience I’m the the actor who can fight not the action star.” He also said he wants to be like Robert Deniro and Clint Eastwood who can still act and direct when they’re 80. Chan delivers a great performance and hopefully this will mark a new era in his film career.