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Shinjuku Incident (2008) – Feature

About The Production
Shinjuku Incident brings together, for the first time, two of Hong Kong’s biggest box office draws: international action star Jackie Chan and acclaimed director Derek Yee. Despite having made movies for over three decades, Jackie will present a side in Shinjuku Incident never before seen by his audiences. Made at a cost of more than US$25 million, the film pools the top talents from Hong Kong, mainland China and Japan and takes audiences to exotic locations in Japan, and Suzhou and Changchun in China.

Director’s Statement
“Shinjuku Incident is the film that has probably taken me the longest time from the germination of an idea to the completion of a film but it’s more because the research was so fascinating and the story was evolving all the time.

I first came across the story of Chinese migrants in Japan back in 1997 or 1998 when I read a report in regional news magazine. The notion if the Chinese diaspora forming their own pockets of communities in places they migrate to was not something new but unlike other more open societies, Japan was always a tough place to gather roots because they were so unaccepting of migrants.

Very little was known of these communities that sprang up in Japan because they were illegal and stayed very much underground and I wanted to present a Chinese viewpoint of life within these communities. It’s not a real story, of course, but an adaptation of what my research reveled.

One of the things that struck me when I was researching for the script was that how little human nature has changed – or indeed will ever change – through the years. People have always moved to where the money was or the economy was booming. We’re not just talking about the Chinese but Europeans as well. And, when these migrants settle in and are oppressed, there societies survive by uniting and evolving into organizations.

I think audiences will take away different things from Shinjuku Incident. All our own personal experiences will find a resonating chord or two in the story that unfolds in the movie.

The strongest realization I have gained from the movie is that no matter how much technological advances we have made in 3,000 years, our behaviour has really remained intrinsically the same.”
Derek Yee, May 2008

About The Director
As an award-winning actor, director, screenwriter and cinematographer, Derek Yee is one of the most versatile film talents in Hong Kong. Yee started his career as an actor with the famed Shaw Brothers and appeared in over 40 films in nine years. He made his directional debut with the award-winning The Lunatics (1986) and followed that up with other acclaimed productions including the wildly popular C’est La Vie Mon Cheri (1993), Full Throttle (1995), Viva Erotica (1996), Lost In Time (2003), One Nite in Mongkok (2004) and, more recently Protégé (2007). Yee proved himself to be one of Hong Kong’s most bankable directors who can tackle a wide variety of genres, although his forte lies in his trademark dramas of complex relationships that play out in our daily lives.

Detailed Synopsis
The Chinese migrant communities in Tokyo live shadowy lives. The Japanese neither acknowledge nor welcome them. They are shunned by the mainstream society, hounded by the yakuza, and go about their days under fear of being discovered and repatriated.

It is an alien world for Steelhead, an honest, hardworking tractor repairman from Heilongjiang in northern China. Steelhead has decided to take the perilous journey to Tokyo after he lost contact with his girlfriend, who has arrived in the city earlier.

Trying to exist in the underbelly of Tokyo long enough to find Xiu Xiu, Steelhead has come to realize the migrants had to stand united if they wanted to go about their lives without fear of oppression by not only the Japanese underworld but also Chinese gangs.

In his search of a decent living, Steelhead unwittingly finds himself pit against the Japanese yakuza. Ironically he also discovers that Xiu Xiu has adopted a Japanese identity and married Eguchi, an ambitious up and coming yakuza chief.

Steelhead wins the respect of his friends by establishing a base for them and forms an uneasy alliance with Eguchi. When he helps Eguchi dispose of a rival, he is given the control of Shinjuku’s night establishments. But, uninterested in living a gangster’s life, Steelhead finds a new love and takes the chance to start a tractor repair business outside Tokyo. However, his peace is shortlived when word gets to him that his former compatriots were now being used by Eguchi to front the yakuza’s drug business.

Steelhead fells responsible for this turn of events and feels obligated to bring Eguchi down. He also has to bear in mind that if he goes after Eguchi, hew would be destroying the newfound life of the woman he once loved. In any case, can one simple Chinese migrant take on the yakuza alone?

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