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February 27, 1996 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-02-27

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, February 27, 1996

Asian star
'Rumbles'
in America
ByMichael Zilberman
Daily Arts Writer
Notlong ago, Istumbledupon"Cahiers
Du Ciriemart," atypical hipper-than-thou
'zine, apparently published by one of
those people that couldn't possibly like a
movie if it had grossed more than a mil-
lion. And sandwiched between two ar-
ticles oflaborious Tarantinobashing, there
it was: the Jackie Chan feature.
I learned that "Jackie does something
like 98% of his own stunts now that he IS
getting older; and I don't mean those
candy-ass 'stunts' thatAmerican stuntmen
are called on to do; falls, fights, fumbles
- I'm talking about total balls-out cliff-
jumping, skull-cracking, bone-shattering,
crazy-ass-rewind-that-and-show-me-
again-in-slo-mo-cause-I-can't-believe-
my-eyes stunts! His appeal is universal!"
,Sounds more like a desperate plea for
acceptance than a simple praise, doesn't
it? In other words, America is more
than prepped for a good dose of Jackie
Mien - so what's the problem?
in the case of "Rumble in the Bronx,"
the latest Chan vehicle chosen by New
Line Cinema to finally put to rest the
memories of Jackie's unfortunate turn in
"Cannonball Run," the problem lies in
tlemovieitself. While it's still better than
theaverage Hollywood no-animals-were-
REVIEW
Rumble in
the Bronx
Directed by Stanley Tong
with Jackie Chan
and Anita Mui
At Showcase
harmed product, and its action sequences
are still unparalleled anywhere in the
world, "Rumble In The Bronx" might not
have been the right choice for introducing
Middle America to Asia's biggest star.
The most obvious mistake in orches-
trating Chan's coming to America was
picking a movie SET in America to
herald it. "Rumble," the story of a hap-
less tourist (Chan) who gets entangled
with a Bronx biker gang, was shot pri-
marily in Canada by Hong Kong's
"Golden Harvest" with some obliga-
tgry NYC skyline shots; the art direc-
tors don't quite have a grasp on the
intricacies of the setting. As a result,

Wendy Diamond ed.
Various Artists
A Musical Feast
Global Liaisons
While most college students have as
much use for a cookbook as they do for
their ovens, there's a new cookbook in
town that throws enough spunk and
spice into cooking to make it a totally
new experience.
"A Musical Feast" compiles more
than 100 delicious recipes from some
of the hottest artists in the music biz
who share their favorite recipes all in
the name of charity. From the Rolling
Stones and Paul and Linda McCartney
to Moby and Bo Diddley, musicians
from around the world have donated
their own personal recipes to the as-
tounding and beautifully illustrated
cookbook. With the majority of the
proceeds going to help nonprofit chari-
ties in the United States that help the
homeless, "A Musical Feast" is both a
great charitable effort and a wonderful
source for delicious recipes.
Just flipping through the pages, drool
begins to run down your face as you
read through recipes like Madonna's
Cholesterol Cherry Torte and Tony
Bennett's mother's lasagna. Kool and
the Gang's gourmet donation, Sir Earl
Toon's Grandma's Swordfish Steaks,
is a true culinary delight, and Dr. John's

Shrimp New Orleans will have your
mouth burning for more. Coolio do-
nated his recipe for Coolio's Boneless
Bird, and Heavy D's hominy recipe
may be what gave him the name
"Heavy."
While an abundance of artists donated
their favorite recipes for chili and cook-
ies, there are still a bunch of artists who
got a bit more creative in their kitchens.
Meat Loaf's Cheese Grits Loaf sounds a
bit, well, disgusting, andRandyNeuman's
Primitive Cheese Sandwich with the in-
structions, "Place cheese between bread
slices, stacking carefully," was a little
light on the creative side.
A few other stars also have problems
with creativity in the kitchen. David
Byrne's contribution is "leftovers,"
which he says he cooks in a stainless
steel steamer. Lou Reed and Lauri
Anderson's contribution is a Hot Pas-
trami Sandwich with the following di-
rections: "Order hot pastrami sandwich
with mustard on rye from Carnegie
Deli, NYC. Eat with pickles."
Some of the country folk eat better
than those non-culinary new wavers.
Some of the highlights include Travis
Tritt's Hot and Spicy Chili and Tanya
Tucker's Favorite Cornbread, among
other recipes from Vince Gill, Alan
Jackson, Randy Travis and others.
With countless recipes from Sonic
Youth, Hootie and the Blowfish, Live,
Eddie Money, John Paul Jones, Cissy
and Whitney Houston, Aerosmith, Bon
Jovi, and on and on, "A Musical Feast"

there's something disturbingly off-kil-
ter in the movie's look. For example, a
vicious thug in the gang is seen wearing
a Grateful Dead T-shirt. And even over-
all, "Rumble in the Bronx" looks like it
couldn't have been made after, say,
1989. There are hair-metal bands play-
ing in the streets, for chrissakes!
Of course, true cinema connoisseurs
could find all of this rather charming
and view it as a part of the film's appeal:
Director Stanley Tong's vision of the
Bronx is that of a movie-America, an
answer to the movie-Hong Kong we've
been fed with for years. Jackie Chan's
tourist doesn't just come to the Bronx,
he strays into "The Bronx Warriors."
For Chan purists, there's another
problem: "Rumble" is not written or
directed by Jackie, although he coordi-
nates the stunts. Then again, the stunts
ARE the movie; Chan's films could
easily be dismantled into five or six
principal action scenes (the growing
body count from one sequence to the
next serves as plot development), much
as Chaplin or Keaton's comedies could
be divided into individual gags and re-
assembled again without hurting the
whole.
The comparison to silent cinema is
two-sided. First, Jackie Chan's kung-fu
routines are amazingly choreographed,
which pretty much eliminates the vio-
lence from them - Chan confessed
that he demands to hear the score first
and then composes his fights to the
beat. Second, the results are very, very

funny, and unlike his Hollywood coun-
terparts' work, intentionally so.
Ever since he invented it in "The
Fearless Hyena" (1979), with its chop-
sticks food-fighting sequence, Jackie
Chan has perfected the art of the sophis-
ticated, comic kung-fu routine. In
"Rumble In The Bronx," one of the
scenes is set in a warehouse; Jackie
Chan utilizes all sorts of random con-
sumer goods to defend himself, and the
general impression of him fighting off
Bronx punks with symbols of Ameri-
can prosperity is pretty unforgettable.
Still, there is serious doubt that Chan,
in his "Rumble" mode, can develop seri-
ous star clout in the States. His cinema is
too painfully aware of its own goal: es-
capism. The movies end with a signature
montage of bloopers and outtakes (in
"Rumble In The Bronx," we get to see
half of the cast in, um, casts), with some-1
thing like "Go, go, Jackie Chan!" playing
in the background.
Could anyone imagine this in rela-
tion to, say, Arnold Schwarzenegger?
We take our action heroes dark and
brooding. That's why dubbing Chan an
Asian answer to them would be unfor-
givable pigeonholing (if anything, it's
the other way around). He's in a league
of his own: A full-service entertainer
who doesn't pretend to be anything else
and, through that, transcends his own
task. One could only wish that his first
big stateside movie, ironically mirror-
ing Chan's own situation, didn't leave
his hero lost in movie America.

has something delicious for everyone9
To order "A Musical Feast" by
phone, call 1-800-420-4209.
- Brian A. Gnatt
Maya Angelou
Phenomenal Woman: Four
Poems Celebrating Women
Random House
Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don 't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
The palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.
- From "Phenomenal Woman"
Surely nothing in this world is greater
than the sight of a strong, independent
black woman. Nothing is more strikingly
beautiful,more romantically elegant, more
radiant in self-generated glory.
The phenomenal Maya Angelou i
without question the model example of
this greatness. She has the strong fea-
tures of a wise, witty grandmother, yet
she still retains hints of her once youth-
ful beauty. Her conservative look,'
matched with a nearly unparalleled
mental prowess, exermplifies why sheis
so greatly hailed as a heroine among
both women and African Americans.
Only the most dim-witted have, by.
now, neverbeforeread Angelou's "Ph*
nomenal Woman," "StillI Rise"or some
other poem. Only the completely emP-
tionless could withstand the spirit-ris-
ing refrains coming from Angelou's
lips in a dramatic rendition. "Phenom-
enal Woman" keeps this feeling alive..
This book, though only four-poems,
22-pages long, is filled with more in-
sight, more knowledge, more wisdom
than the Encyclopedia Britanniva.
If you've never experienced Angelo
before, experience her now. Know what
those who've read her books, like
"Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey
Now" and "I Know Why the Caged Bird"
Sings,"know. Know what those who've
heardherspeak, from herreadingatPresi-
dent Clinton's inauguration to her small
part in the film "Poetic Justice" to her
lectures as Reynolds Professor at Wake
Forest University, know.
Read her words; feel her power; r*
spect her courage; receive her love.
- Eugene Bowen

Tony Bennett's lasagna highlights "A Musical Feast."

,,.

S~.~ ~ ...~.
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