Jackie Chan headlines this tight drama that revolves around illegal Chinese immigrants who get involved with Japanese gang warfare. Shinjuku Incident refers to the ward in Tokyo where most of the story takes place.
Chan avoids association with his previous film roles in Shinjuku Incident to the extent that Rush Hour fans (Is there really such a thing?) will be disoriented while those who cheer Chan because of his gymnastic agility will be equally confused. Through dense plotting with heapings of gang violence Shinjuku Incident proves to be its own unique beast.
Chan finds immigrant times tough often working below the standard wage. Early on he saves the life of a cop while being chased through a sewer system. This bond although tenuous comes into play in the last act. Chan finds favor with a gang boss who elevates Chan to the head of the class. Various double crosses escalate as the Yakuza try to rub out all involved. Despite an overly dramatic tone the film occasionally erupts in gun battles as well as hands and arms being chopped off. Themes of loyalty resonate throughout the film. Shinjuku Incident plays exclusively at the Angelika Film Center.
— Michael Bergeron