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INTO THE NIGHT / RSVP

A Real Kick for Jackie Chan Fans

February 12, 1996|MARK EHRMAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Scene: Hollywood Boulevard shook under 100 Harleys on Thursday night as the Glendale Chapter of the Harley Owners Group (HOG) rumbled past Mann's Chinese Theater for the premiere of New Line Cinema's "Rumble in the Bronx." The movie stars Hong Kong legend Jackie Chan taking on a motorcycle gang as well as the mob. It's a 90-minute romp of nonstop kung fu and action-adventure mayhem (with the outlandish stunts performed by Chan himself) that barely pauses for plot or dialogue--just the way Hong Kong movie fans like it. Following the movie was a reception at the Hollywood Colonnade.

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The Hollywood Spin: The screening was alternately billed as "world premiere," "West Coast premiere" and "Los Angeles premiere." It was none of these. "Rumble in the Bronx" (filmed in Vancouver, by the way) actually played months earlier at San Gabriel's Kuo-Hwa theater--albeit with much less fanfare. Also, almost the entire list of promised celebrities, including Bruce Willis, Quentin Tarantino, Oliver Stone, George Clooney, Tim Roth, Timothy Hutton, Martin Lawrence and many others, failed to materialize at the screening. But, said one publicist with assurance, "Many of their assistants are here."

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Who Did Show: Chan and director Stanley Tong, joined by Steven Seagal, Wesley Snipes, Christian Slater, Antonio Sabato Jr. and Jeremy Piven. Most refreshing on the guest front was that rather than the usual crew of studio cheerleaders, the 1,300 or so people who attended seemed to be honest-to-God Jackie Chan fans who screamed at frenzy level when Chan entered the theater.

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Chow: OK, it's a Chinese movie opening at the Chinese. So the catering fell in line--egg rolls, wontons, fortune cookies, lo mein. But the cuisine also inexplicably crossed the culinary equivalent of the East China Sea with the addition of sushi and sake.

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Quoted: "All of a sudden, you look, and there's the red carpet and the audience and the cameras and press, Oh!" exclaimed Chan. Mobbed with fans at every turn, he explained that big flashy premieres aren't done in Hong Kong. "I remember two years ago, Stallone invited me to come to Hollywood to see his premiere of 'Cliffhanger.' And that day I said to myself, 'Can I have one day to do my own premiere?' But now, the dream comes true."

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Vancouver Explained: "The thing is, I had the Hovercraft scene in mind from the beginning," answered director Tong, when asked why a film that supposedly takes place in the Bronx was shot in British Columbia. The film's high point is a dramatic Hovercraft chase through the city. "The only city that allowed us to do that and the only city where I found a Hovercraft is Vancouver," said Tong. "The rest of it really doesn't matter."

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