Jackie Chan’s Shinjuku Incident Too Violent for China

Jackie Chan’s movies have always been violent, in a cartoonish, kinda funny sort of way. But a Jackie Chan movie that is really, down-and-dirty violent? And not the goofy, slapstick, pratfall-ish kind? That appears to be the case with Chan’s latest big-budget movie, the $25 million period crime actioner “The Shinjuku Incident”.

The film sees Chan playing a Chinese immigrant in Japan who goes to work killing people for the Japanese Yakuza. Part of his work involves cutting off hands and other fun past times. This, says the film’s director, is the reason why “Shinjuku” won’t be arriving in your local Mainland Chinese theater.

“The Shinjuku Incident’s” director, Derek Yee, tells the AP thusly:

Hong Kong director Derek Yee told The Associated Press on Monday that he considered toning down the violence in Shinjuku Incident so it could pass censorship in China, but decided not to because he thought it would hurt the integrity of the movie.

Yee said the $25 million Chinese-language movie, in which Chan plays a refugee who escapes to Japan and becomes a killer for the mob, has scenes that show characters getting a hand chopped off and pierced with knives.

“We tried to cut the violent scenes to meet the requirements of the Chinese market, but producers I invited to watch that version thought it was incomplete,” he said.

Maybe Chan really is ready to break free of the “clown prince of kung fu” tag he’s had to shoulder all these years, and has always said he wants to do more serious fare.

Here’s a better description of the movie:

In the early 1990s, a tractor mechanic from China nicknamed Steelhead (Jackie Chan) enters Japan illegally, in search of his girlfriend Xiu Xiu (Xu Jinglei). Steelhead and his friend, Jie (Daniel Wu) meet in the busy Shinjuku district and take manual labouring jobs to earn money. When Steelhead finds out that Xiu Xiu has married a Japanese Yakuza leader named Eguchi (Ken Watanabe), he decides to remain in Japan. To obtain citizenship, he agrees to work for Eguchi as a killer, but quickly becomes used to the power. Soon he has become embroiled so deeply in the ways of the yakuza that there is no turning back.

“The Shinjuku Incident” opens in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia on April 2 and in Japan on May 1. Poster for the movie below.