To mark Jackie Chan’s appearance in Chinese Zodiac, here’s our selection of the Hong Kong legend’s finest moments to date. What have we missed?
Now finding his own style after earlier efforts to mould him into a Bruce Lee-style star, Drunken Master was Jackie Chan’s breakthrough picture, and introduced his own unique combination of action and comedy (and, in this film, the concept of “drunken boxing”) to the masses.
As his career grew, Chan became as well known for his frequently dangerous stunts as for his fight scenes. As the spoof news site The Onion calmly explained back in 1997, “The media-dubbed ‘Supercop’ has also fallen from an exploding helicopter into a frozen lake; jumped [from] a sports car on to a moving barge; battled an axe-wielding mob [while] on stilts amidst rising flames; and wrestled a great white shark.” This frantic scene from Operation Condor ends with a jump that, like much of Chan’s output, could have ended very grimly indeed.
King of Comedy
Not to be confused with the Scorsese / De Niro picture, Stephen Chow’s knowing action/comedy about working one’s way up through the Hong Kong movie industry obviously appealed to Chan, as did the opportunity to make fun of his own acting ability.
Who Am I?
A rollicking romp that sees Jackie suffering from amnesia, a point hammered home when he stands on top of a mountain and shouts WHO AM I? while being circled by a helicopter.
The film is rightly best remembered for Jackie’s ridiculous stunt where he slides down the side of a building in Rotterdam. Acrophobics, look away now…
After many, many attempts to break the American market, including an early turn in the Cannonball Run movies and, much later, a rumble in a very Canadian-looking Bronx, Chan found success alongside Chris Tucker in the buddy-cop action/comedy Rush Hour. The long delay before Chan’s character finally admits – at gunpoint – that he can speak English is perhaps the movie’s best joke, but the vase scene is the one you can’t imagine anyone else pulling off.
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