Jackie Chan


Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson will reteam for Shanghai Dawn

I don't know karate, but I know ka-razy
May 15
// Hubert Vigilla
As Coming Soon noted yesterday, MGM is finally moving forward with Shanghai Dawn, the sequel to Jackie Chan/Owen Wilson films Shanghai Noon (2000) and Shanghai Knights (2003). As Flixist EIC Matthew Razak said in our staff em...
Expendables 3 Trailer photo
Expendables 3 Trailer

Final trailer for The Expendables 3

Aug 04
// Nick Valdez
Due to some unfortunate events, a digital copy of The Expendables 3 was leaked onto the Internet and was pirated more than 2 million times. Now Lionsgate is trying to sue the individuals responsible claiming that the piracy ...
Expendables 3 Trailer photo
That's the Furious 6 font, right?
The folks over at Yahoo Movies have released the first teaser for The Expendables 3, showing a couple action beats and the film's pretty sizable cast. I didn't much care for The Expendables One, with its dark color palette a...

Expendables 3 Teaser photo
Extremely brief but great.
We've been completely in the dark with The Expendables 3. We've heard about all of that ugly stuff behind the scenes about Bruce Willis, the numerous additions to the cast, but no one really knows what's going on. There...

Review: CZ12 (Chinese Zodiac)

Oct 18 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]216599:40810:0[/embed] CZ12 (Chinese Zodiac | 12 Chinese Zodiac Heads | 十二生肖)Director: Jackie ChanRating: PG-13Country: Hong Kong/ChinaRelease Date: December 20, 2012 (Asia); October 18th, 2013 (US) If CZ12 is Jackie Chan's last big action movie, maybe it's for the best, and it pains me to write that since I've been a Jackie Chan fan for so long. CZ12 is not necessarily a bad movie, and it's definitely not Chan's worst film of the 21st century (that would be the almost unwatchable The Spy Next Door). The biggest issue with CZ12 is how unremarkable it is despite some moments of brilliance. It's also problematic that CZ12 is semi-associated with Armor of God and Armor of God II: Operation Condor, two of Chan's landmark classics. By comparison, it falls far short. Maybe this is less a case of Chan showing his age and more Chan showing his lack of good judgment. At the heart of CZ12 is a story of retrieving some bronze animal heads that were looted by European soldiers during the mid-19th century. JC is on the case, and he's doing it all for the money rather than a sense of national pride/reverence of Chinese history. You can probably guess how that will flip as the story continues. There's slapstick, there's globetrotting, and boy is there ever some cheesiness involved. Chan's movies have always had a cheesy streak to them which is endearing (see Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights for the best and most enjoyable examples of cheesiness in latter-day Chan's career), but here the cheese seems especially dialed up. In some ways it's Chan paying homage to the broadness of Cantonese comedy, but it also seems just too quaint and not all that appealing anymore. Maybe it's the execution -- the difference between Leslie Nielsen in The Naked Gun and Leslie Nielsen in 2001: A Space Travesty. Yet there are still some great scenes in CZ12 that I can't deny. The opening with that rollerblade suit is pretty cool for the most part, and it has the vibe of dangerous zaniness that always marked Jackie Chan's best efforts of the past. I even think that the skydiving finale is almost great in how absolutely random it is. Sure, it doesn't really work with the story (which, yeah, is often a secondary concern in Chan's movies), but it works as a bizarre conceit that I'm willing to go with. Watching Chan airborne is like a mix of the last shots of Armor of God, the wind tunnel of Operation Condor, and the underwater fight from Police Story IV (aka First Strike). The showstopper of CZ12 is the only big fight in the film, and you can tell just how much effort went into the choreography and visual gags. The fight comes way too late in the movie, which has been disappointingly light on fights overall. What we get throughout so much of CZ12 are unmemorable skirmishes that don't amount to much. But this big fight, when it finally happens, is such a welcome reprieve from the rest of the mediocre slog that is CZ12. Chan's in a giant warehouse full of gewgaws, doodads, catwalks, and props. Bad guys come at him from all angles, and he brings them down with such creativity and style. Sure the action is sped up about as much as an 80s Hong Kong flick, but this is Chan the immortal and I don't care. Well, at least I don't care until he flips CG Chiclets into his mouth. That's when I cringe and sigh. It was so much cooler when he just did stuff like that for real. CG often undermines the best bits of action in CZ12. Some of that is just due to the chintzy obviousness of the CG. A great sequence in theory that involves attack dogs and a hedge maze is ruined by constant CG overhead shots. One bad CG shot in a pipe during the rollerbalde suit scene took me out of an otherwise fun set piece. There are also CG bees and a really painful logride during one scene of the film, and since the film was released in 3D in China, there are the requisite "in your face" shots. Chan has always been better than any digital effect, and yet he relies on them too much for storytelling rather than safety. Personally, I think Chan's real last hurrah was 2004's New Police Story. It was a darker reboot of the Police Story franchise, and it was a wonderful mix of "greatest hits" and "he's still got it." The darkness isn't the film's appeal for me, though. New Police Story offered Chan's fans a sense of a new direction. He's fighting a younger generation of criminals and has to adapt. He's mentoring someone to be an ass-kicking supercop. More than that, the final confrontation is a game of wits where the solution isn't to be tougher and faster than the young whelp he's up against. Instead it's about using his years of experience to be smarter and better. That's something that I hoped would carry through in this stage of Chan's career -- the ability to outsmart as an integral strategy for outfighting, the sense of an older master besting opponents through years of knowledge -- but it seems to have stalled without follow through with New Police Story. In the audio commentary for the original Drunken Master, writer and Hong Kong movie enthusiast Ric Meyers said that Jackie Chan has always felt the need to top himself, but it's so hard to do. In fact, it gets harder and harder given his tremendous body of work, the constraints of studios, and the unavoidable effects of age. Meyers ended his point by saying (and I'm paraphrasing) that the only person who could really beat Jackie Chan is Jackie Chan. CZ12 proves how true that is.
CZ12 Review photo
A final harrumph over Jackie Chan's last hurrah
When the first promo/trailer hit for CZ12 (aka Chinese Zodiac), I bought into the hype and the possibility of the film. When news landed that CZ12 was going to be Jackie Chan's last big action movie, I was eager to see how he...

J - A - C... See you real soon!
During an event in Beijing, Jackie Chan said he's interested in creating his own theme park in Yizhuang. According to the Malaysia Times, the park will be called JC World. The two square kilometer park will be comprised of fi...

Jackie Chan should make a modern day silent film

Jun 24 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]215718:40291:0[/embed] I just want that one day, when I retire, that people still remember me like they remember Buster [Keaton]. I really want someone to respect me the way they respect Buster. -- Jackie Chan, quoted in "The Lyric Poet of the Silent Screen: A Profile of Buster Keaton" by Chris Wood Chan has spent his entire career paying homage to the legendary silent clowns of the past. In Project A, he dangled from a clock like Harold Lloyd in Safety Last. In Project A Part II, he recreated Buster Keaton's famous falling house bit from Steamboat Bill Jr., a film which also seemed to inform some of the wind tunnel gags in Armour of God 2: Operation Condor. And of course there's Chaplin, whose little tramp gets riffed on in The Fearless Hyena; there's also a bit of Modern Times in the Project A clock tower sequence. Chaplin's influence was given a goofy wink/inversion via Shanghai Knights: during a marketplace fight, a Dickensian version of young Charlie Chaplin marvels at the stylish movements of Jackie Chan. Chan uses an umbrella rather than a cane, but there's something oddly perfect about that moment; ditto the Chaplinesque use of an umbrella in the bus chase from Police Story. Though Lloyd and Chaplin inform much of Chan's work, Chan always seemed closest to Buster Keaton. There's a lot to be said about the stuntwork and inventiveness of both filmmakers. Keaton constructed elaborate sight gags about chain reactions, unforeseen consequences, narrow escapes, clever solutions, and closed loops of cause and effect. While present in all of his silent works, these qualities are best showcased in The General, a masterpiece of visual comedy and derring do. [embed]215718:40293:0[/embed] I think that broad description of Keaton's comic sensibilities applies to a lot of Chan's work. In many of his fight scenes involving large groups -- the Amazons in Armour of God or the hatchet gang in Drunken Master 2 -- Chan has a way of circling around, setting chain reactions of moves in place, and capping little sequences in fights with a punchline. Both Keaton and Chan struggle against insurmountable odds, doing impossible and improbable acts to get small things and big things done. In a movie like Rush Hour, Chan fights goons while saving antique vases, which is such an oddly Keaton thing to do; the same can be said about the overly ornate way he tries to answer calls and eat noodles in Police Story. I remember hearing film lecturer Greg Kahn once saying that Jackie Chan generally doesn't portray rebels but instead plays characters who are frustrated conformists. For some reason that phrase "frustrated conformist" fit with Chan's filmography of cops, sailors, and the occasional average Joe who happens to know how to fight. These characters are all just trying to get by without being chewed up by the machinery of the universe. I don't think I'd call Keaton a frustrated conformist, but there might be something there that ties Chan and Keaton together. [embed]215718:40292:0[/embed] Chan usually isn't as stone-faced as Keaton, which isn't a bad thing. Chan's face is more elastic and made for winces to underscore the broad comedy and pratfalls. This was part of Chan's attempt to be the anti-Bruce Lee in the era of Bruceploitation movies. (After the death of Bruce Lee, a bunch of Bruce Lee wannabes tried to make names for themselves.) Yet Chan's face sometimes mirrors Keaton's blankness. These moments of understatement usually come after something incredible has occurred -- he's just climbed over a fence in defiance of gravity, he's just tied up bad guys in their own shirt sleeves, he's put on his hat with a flourish that resembles sleight of hand. That's the real connective tissue between Keaton and Chan: as physical comedians, they make audiences wonder how they did what they just did and how they made it look easy. You may have noticed that I wrote "silent comedy" rather than "silent action movie." This isn't because Chan is getting older and he can't fight anymore. (Chan has a great factory fight scene in Chinese Zodiac that shows he's still got it, though the action is undercranked like an early 80s Hong Kong movie.) The General is action-packed, but for some reason I always think of it as a comedy before I think of it as an adventure film or an action picture. Chan should do this silent movie with visual comedy at the forefront and action as a kind of seasoning or accent. The action shouldn't attempt the scale of Operation Condor either. I'd rather Chan make this movie on the cheap, focusing less on big thrills and special effects and more on a purity of movement like his early films when he was just making his name. [embed]215718:40294:0[/embed] During the Q & A that preceded Chinese Zodiac here in New York, Chan described his improvisational working method from the heydays of Hong Kong. There's an elaborate comedy sequence in Project A Part II that involves multiple people hiding, moving in and out of eyelines, and evading detection while in an apartment. Chan said it took weeks to figure out who goes where and to get the timing down, and it was created on set without the script, like improv and problem solving. His approach to comedy is just like his approach to fight choreography. By divesting the film of sound and relying solely on his knack for the visual, Chan could potentially do something really special. I have no idea what the story for this silent Jackie Chan film could be, and I wouldn't feel comfortable suggesting one. The form is enough of a challenge and a game -- like a playground for Chan's imagination, or a warehouse full of props. In all honesty, I'd love to see him do a silent film that's relatively small scale because many of Chan's films in the last 15 years have been overblown and overproduced. Not only would a modern silent be a path back to his heroes, but it'd be a great exercise in back-to-basics storytelling and scene creation. Chan never needed to rely on blockbuster spectacle to be great. Like Keaton, Chan's creativity and ingenuity is spectacle enough.
Jackie Chan silent film photo
Go and make your heroes proud, Jackie
Even though Jackie Chan is working on a new Police Story film (Police Story 2013), his days of big and crazy action are apparently at an end with Chinese Zodiac. You can see some of that death-defying action at the Jackie Cha...

Trailer: The Jackie Chan Experience

Jun 20 // Hubert Vigilla
Check out some of Jackie Chan's best films 6/23 to 6/27
Jackie Chan was in New York last week, but there's a whole lot more Chan in store for the city. This weekend, the Jackie Chan Experience begins at the Walter Reade Theater. The largest Jackie Chan retrospective in North Amer...

Based on his book 1998 I Am Jackie Chan
At a press conference today in New York, Jackie Chan mentioned that he is currently preparing a stage musical based on his own life. Adapted from his 1998 autobiography I Am Jackie Chan, the musical would chronicle his c...

Expendables 3 photo
Expendables 3

Expendables 3 adds Cage, Chan, Snipes and Jovovich

Not a bad day bad day bad day!
Jun 03
// Nick Valdez
Okay, I'm going to type this calmly. You know how awesome The Expendables was when Sylvester Stallone, Ahnuld Schwarzenegger, and Bruce Willis had that one scene together? You know how awesome The Expendables 2 wasn't because...

NYC: Jackie Chan is in town June 10th and June 11th

May 13 // Hubert Vigilla
The Film Society of Lincoln Center & New York Asian Film Festival AND Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office New York in association with Asia Society announce THE JACKIE CHAN EXPERIENCE Jackie Chan in person on June 10 and 11 including presentation of the Star Asia Lifetime Achievement Award and Jackie Chan Retrospective (June 23-27) New York, NY, May 13, 2013-The Film Society of Lincoln Center and New York Asian Film Festival announced the details today for a rare series of appearances by international film icon, Jackie Chan on June 10 and 11, followed by the largest retrospective of his films ever held in North America (June 23-27). On the occasion of the release of Chan’s 101st film, CHINESE ZODIAC (2012), the Film Society of Lincoln Center and New York Asian Film Festival will honor Jackie Chan, the director, and celebrate his 40-year-career in film. During that time, Chan has re-invented how action is filmed, with innovations in editing, choreography, and story-telling influencing filmmakers at home in Hong Kong, and overseas in Hollywood. Chan belongs to a list of motion picture titans that includes Charlie Chaplin, Jacques Tati, and Buster Keaton. Each of these artists controlled every aspect of their movies - from the conception, to the filming, to the editing. Each of them created a unique genre based around their onscreen persona, and each of them made movies that weren’t so much filmed stories as total cinematic experiences. With that in mind, the New York Asian Film Festival, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York will host An Evening with Jackie Chan and present him with the Star Asia Lifetime Achievement Award on Monday, June 10, followed by an onstage Q&A, and a special premiere screening of his newest film, Chinese Zodiac. A press conference with the film legend will take place on Tuesday, June 11 The events at Lincoln Center are made possible thanks to the generous support of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year with three-week long tribute to creativity in Hong Kong cinema (including Jackie Chan Retrospective and the Hong Kong films selections at the 12th New York Asian Film Festival). We are deeply grateful for their vision and dedication. Separately, Jackie Chan will have a second appearance at a special screening supported by the Asia Society at its auditorium, on the evening of June 11. Additional support is provided by The Kitano Hotel, YesAsia.com, Fortune Star, American Genre Film Archive (www.americangenrefilm.com), Warner Brothers, and Manhattan Portage. JACKIE CHAN APPEARANCES (June 10 & 11) AN EVENING WITH JACKIE CHAN INCLUDES A PREMIERE SCREENING OF CHINESE ZODIAC AND PRESENTATION OF THE NYAFF STAR ASIA LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD AT THE FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER Walter Reade Theater (165 West 65th Street, between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway) A screening of Jackie Chan’s 101st movie, his massive blockbuster, Chinese Zodiac, in a newly edited 107 minute version he’s prepared for North America. Setting box-office records when it was released in China, the screening will be preceded by the presentation of the New York Asian Film Festival's Star Asia Lifetime Achievement Award and an onstage Q&A with Jackie Chan. Monday, June 10 at 7:30PM CHINESE & ENGLISH LANGUAGE PRESS CONFERENCE WITH JACKIE CHAN Hong Kong Economic Trade Office New York (115 East 54th Street, between Park Avenue and Lexington Avenue) To participate in this press conference, please RSVP to Ted Geoghegan for English-language media, and Melissa Ng/Stephanie Chow for Chinese language media. Tuesday, June 11 at 11:00AM A NIGHT WITH JACKIE CHAN AT ASIA SOCIETY Asia Society (725 Park Avenue, between East 70th and East 71st Streets) Screening of DRUNKEN MASTER 2 preceded by an onstage Q&A with Jackie Chan. Tuesday, June 11 at 6:30PM THE JACKIE CHAN RETROSPECTIVE (June 23-27) All screenings will take place at the Film Society of Lincoln Center (West 65th Street between Amsterdam and Broadway). Visit Filmlinc.com for more information. ARMOUR OF GOD (1986) 97min digital projection Director: Jackie Chan Country: Hong Kong After doing a serious police drama set in Hong Kong, Jackie Chan had the urge to do something lighthearted and international, and so ARMOUR OF GOD was born. A two-fisted, three-footed, ten-knuckled adventure flick, Chan does Indiana Jones, playing a pop star turned treasure hunter Asian Hawk, who takes on a Euro-cult of psychotic monks in an effort to rescue an old friend’s kidnapped girlfriend. It’s a heady blend of his signature style and exploitation trends (including a beat-down by a bevy of blaxploitation beauties), in which Jackie took a life-threatening fall while performing a stunt that halted production for months and required emergency surgery. To this day, he still bears the hole in his head. But that’s all right: this movie was worth it. ARMOUR OF GOD 2: OPERATION CONDOR (1991) 106min digital projection Director: Jackie Chan Country: Hong Kong One of Hong Kong’s great out-of-control productions, AOG2 went way over budget and way over schedule as Chan and company hopped around the globe indulging Chan’s desire to top himself. Which he does. The result is the biggest and most complex Jackie Chan movie to date, with Asian Hawk’s quest for a cache of Nazi gold resulting in a succession of gigantic setpieces and intricate action, including one of cinema’s great car chases, the destruction of an entire hotel, and a final battle in a wind tunnel. This is the kind of movie that has you goggle-eyed from start to finish. CHINESE ZODIAC (2012) 107min digital projection Director: Jackie Chan Country: Hong Kong In his 101st movie, Chan resurrects his treasure-hunting Asian Hawk character from the Armour of Godfranchise and delivers an action spectacle that has broken box-office records in China. Reported to be his final “large-scale action picture” CZ kicks off with Chan being hired to steal 12 antique bronze sculptures, representing the animals of the Chinese zodiac, and repatriate them to China. Like a Saturday afternoon matinee, this colorful, kinetic flick is a live action cartoon for grown-ups, offering manic action scenes, hidden islands, pirate gangs, and funky gadgets galore. Cut down by about 20 minutes by Chan himself for the North American market (trust us, you’re not missing ANYTHING), this is the king of the pop-and-lock saying goodbye to the blockbuster movies that made him famous in funtacular style. CITY HUNTER (1993) 105min 35mm Director: Wong Jing Country: Hong Kong Directed by Hong Kong’s King of the Box Office, Wong Jing, CITY HUNTER is packed with insane action and ridiculous comedy. The disappearance of a newspaper tycoon’s daughter brings Chan’s easygoing private sleuth and his lovelorn sidekick (Joey Wang) onboard a luxury cruise liner that soon becomes the target of a gang of hostage-taking terrorists. Wong spins this DIE HARD-on-a-boat scenario into a series of outrageous set-pieces, including a deadly card game and a self-referential movie-theater brawl that finds Chan imitating the moves of an onscreen Bruce Lee. Eventually, it goes so far over the top that you can’t even see the top anymore, climaxing with the legendary STREET FIGHTER tribute beat down between Chan and Gary Daniels. DRUNKEN MASTER 2 (1994) 102min 35mm Director: Lau Kar-leung & Jackie Chan Country: Hong Kong Filmed at the peak of Chan’s prime, sixteen years after his breakout turn in Drunken Master, this transcendent pairing of classic Shaw Brothers director Lau Kar-leung and Jackie Chan resulted in what many claim to be the greatest martial arts film ever made. In this take on the legend of Wong Fei-hung, Chan shares the screen with the great Ti Lung and also Anita Mui, who almost steals the show as his motor-mouthed stepmother. The plot revolves around Fei-hung’s attempts to foil a foreign syndicate trafficking in ancient Chinese artifacts, but the film’s jaw-dropping kung-fu sequences need little explanation. Lush, opulent, and made with no consideration for budget or schedule, it took three months just to shoot the final action scene. LITTLE BIG SOLDIER (2010) 95min digital projection Director: Ding Sheng Country: Hong Kong The best Jackie Chan movie since 1994’s Drunken Master 2, this is the film in which Chan finally proves he’s a real actor, not just an action star. At 56 he can’t do the death-defying stunts anymore, so in LBS he trades super-sized spectacle for small-scale combat and his best script ever (it took 20 years of development to reach the screen). Set in ancient China, it centers on a farmer (Chan) who’s drafted into the army and winds up accidentally capturing the enemy general. If he can get his unwilling captive back home he’ll earn his freedom, the only catch being that he’s thousands of miles from safety. It’s a heartbreaking and hilarious escapade, and Chan’s camera-ready charisma has never been put to better use. MIRACLES (aka MR. CANTON & LADY ROSE) (1989) 127min digital projection Director: Jackie Chan Country: Hong Kong If you ask Jackie Chan which movie he’s most proud of directing, he always names this shimmering 1920s gangster fantasia, a remake of Frank Capra’s Lady for a Day set in a storybook Hong Kong that recalls like Damon Runyon’s New York. Chan plays a nice-guy country bumpkin who inherits the top crime king position from a dying mafia boss. With the fast feet, quick quips, and sudden reversals of Hollywood’s great screwball comedies, it also features a diva turn by pop star Anita Mui, Hong Kong’s answer to Madonna, except she can actually act. POLICE STORY (1985) 101min 35mm Director: Jackie Chan Country: Hong Kong Jackie’s first contemporary cop thriller, in which he played a hot-tempered inspector framed for murder by a vengeful drug lord, proved that he was willing to pull out all the stops—from carrying out a bit of slapstick with two telephones to trashing an entire shopping mall. A breathless adrenaline rush full of twisted bumpers and broken ribs, and with what might be a record-high ratio of broken glass per minute, POLICE STORY is viewed by many as Chan’s greatest achievement and a milestone in the Hong Kong canon. Premiering in the U.S. at the 1987 New York Film Festival, it’s been much imitated, but nothing beats the original. POLICE STORY 2 (1988) 101min 35mm Director: Jackie Chan Country: Hong Kong As dark and sobering as POLICE STORY 1 was light and playful, this sequel is all about the consequences of action. Chan begins the film demoted to traffic duty after his mall-destroying misadventures in Part One. He finds himself unable to protect his girlfriend (Maggie Cheung) from danger, he can’t track down the bad guys to fight them, and his archenemies are more interested in their cancer treatments than in revenge. The spectacular stunts and killer set-pieces are still there—including a climactic duel with a deaf-mute bomber set in a fireworks-laced warehouse—but POLICE STORY 2 feels more like a deconstruction of the cop thriller than anything else Chan’s ever made. POLICE STORY 3: SUPERCOP (1992) 95min 35mm Director: Stanley Tong Country: Hong Kong Teaming up with Stanley Tong, one of his most reliable collaborators, Jackie turned in this stunning capper to his Police Story trilogy and re-launched the career of Michelle Yeoh in the process. In this installment, intrepid cop Ka-Kui goes undercover with a dangerous drug lord—a set-up that finds Chan breaking a henchman out of prison, posing with an invented family, and finally dangling from a moving helicopter. The action shifts from Hong Kong to Thailand to Malaysia, culminating in a climax spanning rooftop, sky and train that ranks as one of Chan’s finest extended set-pieces. The film was released in the US in a dubbed, recut version titled simply SUPERCOP, featuring a pow-wow, no-holes-barred theme song by the seminal New Wave rock band Devo. PROJECT A (1983) 101min 35mm Director: Jackie Chan Country: Hong Kong A team-up with his Chinese opera school brothers Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao, this cops-versus-pirates actioner was the movie that transformed Jackie from a martial arts star into a director of transcendent physical comedy. One of the first action movies to be set in colonial Hong Kong, PROJECT A is the first of Jackie’s films to be spiced with outrageous stunts, including a jaw-dropping bicycle chase and a 50-foot fall from a clock tower (inspired by Harold Lloyd’s hour-hand dangle in SAFETY LAST!) that was so terrifying it took Jackie three days to work up the courage to attempt it. PROJECT A 2 (1987) 101min 35mm Director: Jackie Chan Country: Hong Kong A meticulously crafted Swiss watch of mistaken identities, espionage, and colonial intrigue, PROJECT A 2 may be Jackie’s greatest accomplishment as a filmmaker. Chan keeps four separate subplots whirling through the air with the greatest of ease, while leaving time not just for intense action and groundbreaking stunts, but for some extraordinary non-action filmmaking. No comedy director has ever topped the intricacy of the famous nine-minute scene set in a two-room apartment that takes the conventions of French farce and turns them up to 11. SNAKE IN THE EAGLE’S SHADOW (1978) 98min 35mm Director: Yuen Wo-ping Country: Hong Kong This is where it all began. Chan teamed with director Yuen Wo-ping (later to serve as action director on CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON) for this kung fu comedy about a bullied young man working as a janitor at a martial arts school who learns to fight back against his tormentors using a kung fu technique known as “Snake’s Fist”. Soon, the novice starts to develop a strategy of his own—fittingly, since SNAKE IN THE EAGLE’S SHADOW also found Chan himself arriving at what would become his inimitable, career-defining style. The film became Jackie’s first box-office hit, and the first movie to introduce the world to his innovative brand of action-comedy. (NOTE: dubbed in Mandarin with English subtitles projected live during the screenings) THE YOUNG MASTER (1980) 106min 35mm Director: Jackie Chan Country: Hong Kong Jackie’s directorial debut was the idea showcase for his martial arts prowess and that of his co-stars—among them his “little brother” from Chinese opera school, Yuen Biao, who appears here alongside Jackie for the first time, and Korean super-kicker Hwang In-Shik. Opening on a high-stakes lion dance competition and closing on a ferocious showdown between Chan and Hwang, THE YOUNG MASTER found Jackie exploring the thin line between kung fu as performance and as life-or-death combat. His first movie for Golden Harvest, the studio which would become his home for the next 20 years, it’s arguably his greatest pure martial arts film. PUBLIC SCREENING SCHEDULE SUNDAY, JUNE 23 12.30pm SNAKE IN THE EAGLE’S SHADOW (1978) 98min 2.45pm THE YOUNG MASTER (1980) 106min 8.00pm DRUNKEN MASTER 2 (1994) 102min MONDAY, JUNE 24 1.15 pm MIRACLES (1989) 127min 4.00pm POLICE STORY (1985) 101min 6.15pm ARMOUR OF GOD (1986) 97min 8.30pm ARMOUR OF GOD 2 (1991) 106min TUESDAY, JUNE 25 1.30pm CITY HUNTER (1993) 105min 3.45pm MIRACLES (1989) 127min 6.30pm PROJECT A (1983) 101min 8.45pm PROJECT A 2 (1987) 101min WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26 2.15pm THE YOUNG MASTER (1980) 106min 4.30pm LITTLE BIG SOLDIER (2010) 95min 9.15pm CITY HUNTER (1993) 105min THURSDAY, JUNE 27 2.00pm DRUNKEN MASTER 2 (1994) 102min 4.15pm POLICE STORY (1985) 101min 6.30pm POLICE STORY 2 (1988) 101min 8.45pm POLICE STORY 3: SUPERCOP (1992) 95min FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER Founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international cinema, the Film Society of Lincoln Center works to recognize and support new directors, and to enhance the awareness, accessibility and understanding of film. Among its yearly programming of film festivals, film series and special events, the Film Society presents two film festivals in particular that annually attract global attention: the New York Film Festival which just celebrated its 50th edition, and New Directors/New Films which, since its founding in 1972, has been produced in collaboration with MoMA. The Film Society also publishes the award-winning Film Comment Magazine and a year-round calendar of programming, panels, lectures, educational and transmedia programs and specialty film releases at the famous Walter Reade Theater and the new state-of-the-art Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. The Film Society receives generous, year-round support from Royal Bank of Canada, Jaeger-LeCoultre, American Airlines, The New York Times, Stonehenge Partners, Stella Artois, the National Endowment for the Arts and New York State Council on the Arts. For more information, visit www.filmlinc.com and follow #filmlinc on Twitter. ABOUT NYAFF & SUBWAY CINEMA The New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) is North America’s leading Festival of popular Asian cinema, which the New York Times has called "...one of the city's most valuable events..." Launched in 2002 by Subway Cinema, the Festival selects only the best, strangest, and most entertaining movies to screen for New York audiences, ranging from mainstream blockbusters and art-house eccentricities to genre and cult classics. It was the first North American film festival to champion the works of Johnnie To, Bong Joon-Ho, Park Chan-Wook, Takashi Miike, and other auteurs of contemporary Asian cinema. The Festival has been produced in collaboration with the Film Society of Lincoln Center since 2010. The 12th NYAFF will take place June 28 - July 14, 2013 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater and Japan Society. For more information, visit www.subwaycinema.com, www.facebook.com/NYAFF and follow @subwaycinema on Twitter (#nyaff13) ABOUT HKETONY Set up in 1983, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, New York (HKETONY) is the office of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government tasked to promote and strengthen the economic, trade and cultural ties between Hong Kong and the 31 eastern states of the USA. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the HKETONY continues to play the important role as a bridge between Hong Kong and the U.S. and support various promotional events, such as dragon boat festivals and film festivals, to enhance cultural ties with major cities on the east coast. For more information, visit www.hketony.gov.hk ABOUT ASIA SOCIETY Founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Asia Society is a nonprofit nonpartisan educational institution. Through exhibitions and public programs, Asia Society provides a forum for the issues and viewpoints reflected in the work of leading Asian and Asian American artists and thinkers. Asia Society is located at 725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street), New York City. Asia Society box office: http://tickets.asiasociety.org or (212) 517-ASIA For more information, visit AsiaSociety.org/nyc
Rumble in Manhattan with The Film Society and The New York Asian Film Festival
Oh damn, fellas! Jackie Chan is going to be in New York City on Monday, June 10th and Tuesday, June 11th. This appearance is thanks to the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the New York Asian Film Festival, and the Hong Kong Ec...


Jackie Chan's Chinese Zodiac hits US spring/summer 2013

Dec 27
// Hubert Vigilla
There's finally word on the US release of Jackie Chan's Chinese Zodiac, his 101st movie and his last balls-to-the-walls action flick. Ramy Choi (director of distribution and acquisition at Chan's Jackie & JJ Internationa...

During a press conference for Chinese Zodiac (CZ12), Jackie Chan mentioned that Sylvester Stallone has given him a role in The Expendables 3. It seems like the role will be meatier than a mere cameo. As Chan explained: Sly h...


Trailer: Chinese Zodiac (Hong Kong)

A new trailer for Jackie Chan's 101st film
Dec 17
// Hubert Vigilla
Jackie Chan's Chinese Zodiac (CZ12) hits Asian theaters this week, and this Hong Kong trailer for the film gives a good sense of the film's scope and story. Again, it looks like a possible return to form for Chan, whose best...

The 12 best Jackie Chan fight scenes of the last 12 years

Dec 12 // Hubert Vigilla
Shanghai Noon (2000) - Jackie Chan vs. Rongguang Yu [embed]213947:39294:0[/embed] Even though Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights are high on hokiness, I think franchise could use a third installment. It's unlikely now since it'll be 10 years since the last film and there's more interest in the Rush Hour franchise. I think they could have kept this series alive if they just dialed down the cheeseball factor a notch or two. There are a couple fun fights in Shanghai Noon, like the bar fight, the Indian fight, and the horseshoe scene, but this brief fight against Rongguang Yu (the Iron Monkey himself) plays to the strengths of both performers and is a standout in the film. (That segment goes from around :40 to 3:05.) The eventual final fight of the film against Roger Yuan is okay, but it's one of the fights during this period in Chan's career that reveals how much of a rhythm-based fighter he is -- there's a time signature to his fights that his opponents need to share. The Accidental Spy (2001) - Naked in the Marketplace [embed]213947:39292:0[/embed] This one might be not safe for work, though I guess that may depend on your company's policy concerning Jackie Chan's bare ass. The Accidental Spy is pretty darn fun, and includes a rematch with Brad Allen, a Jackie Chan stunt team member who went toe to toe with Jackie in Gorgeous. That rematch takes place in the backseat of a moving convertible, which is good more for the reckless endangerment than the choreography. Still, there's this great comedic fight scene in a marketplace where Jackie loses his towel and fights to maintain what little dignity he has left. Rush Hour 2 (2001) - The Massage Parlor [embed]213947:39293:0[/embed] Even though I thought the third Rush Hour was kind of so-so and the first Rush Hour was fun but a little undercooked, I actually dig Rush Hour 2. There's a good mix of Chris Tucker comedy and Jackie Chan action. The fights may not be as intricate as his Hong Kong output, but Jackie does some solid work, including some nice acrobatic escapes. He even gets Don Cheadle to throw down. It came down to me picking between the bamboo scaffold scene and this one in the massage parlor. It's a bit of a draw, though I picked the parlor fight since I wasn't able to find a complete video of the scaffold scene. Also, it's two videos with butts in a row. Again, video might be not safe for work. Shanghai Knights (2003) - The Marketplace Fight [embed]213947:39287:0[/embed] Years and years ago when I wrote for my college paper, I went to the press junket for Shanghai Knights, and Jackie Chan seemed enthusiastic about the film. (According to the other journalists there, Jackie was bitter during the junket for The Tuxedo, opening one roundtable interview by saying something like, "Hi everybody, wasn't that a crappy movie?") Shanghai Knights is more akin to the classic Chan films of the 80s and early 90s. Some of that credit goes to director David Dobkin, who said he gave Jackie extra time to craft and shoot the action. This led to a great gag with a revolving door and a fun library/study fight. Picking my favorite fight from this film was a little difficult. The last fights with Donnie Yen and Aidan Gillen are nice, and, interestingly, they both involve Jackie technically losing. (Major big-ups to Gillen's swordplay in the final fight, living up to the swordsmanship of Basil Rathbone.) As much as I like both of those, I'll actually have to go with the marketplace fight, which features Jackie doing crafty evasions that culminate in a tribute to Gene Kelly. (Seriously, Jackie Chan should remake It's Always Fair Weather.) Around the World in 80 Days (2004) - The Classic Use of a Bench [embed]213947:39295:0[/embed] If Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights were hokey, then Around the World in 80 Days is far beyond hokey. It's further tainted by a Rob Schneider appearance. Steve Coogan and Cécile de France probably keep this one off their resumes, and maybe Jackie does too. Had the movie hewn a bit closer to stuff like Blake Edwards's The Great Race, I probably would winced much less. (I've always wondered how Jackie Chan would choreograph a pie fight.) And yet I think there was a decent fight in the movie. Sammo Hung (as Wong Fei-hung) shows up with the other Ten Tigers of Canton too. While the cavalry does its work, Jackie Chan shows some classic bench fighting. The general fighting starts around the 2:30 mark, but the bench sequence starts at around 6:14. May I never have to watch this movie again otherwise. The Twins Effect II (2004) - Jackie Chan vs. Donnie Yen Rematch [embed]213947:39301:0[/embed] Donnie Yen and Jackie Chan's rematch is pure Chinese fantasy movie zaniness, and I enjoy it unapologetically. (Though I will say, I do enjoy the uncut version of the Shanghai Knights fight, which was one of the deleted scenes on the DVD.) Twins Effect II isn't near as good as the original Twins Effect, but this scene is pretty entertaining. It's a bit heavy on the slow-mo, but it has its redeeming moments thanks to the athleticism of Donnie and Jackie and the anarchic creativity on display.  New Police Story (2004) - Jackie Chan vs. Andy On Round II [embed]213947:39291:0[/embed] New Police Story is easily my favorite Jackie Chan movie of this 12-year stretch. There's solid action, some surprising pathos, and I actually like the generational aspect going on in the film. Chan goes from guilt, humiliation, and depression to heroic redemption and clever courage. It's a great heroic arc, and there are fine nods to the past of the Police Story franchise. Makes me wonder what Chan has in store for Police Story 2013, which he's working on right now. This final fist fight in New Police Story is a rematch from much earlier in the film. During an incredibly dark moment, Jackie gets beat up by Andy On while trying to save his fellow police officers who are dangling from the ceiling of a factory. It's some of the most brutal bad guy stuff in any Jackie Chan film, and it marks our hero's initial decline. This rematch takes place after Jackie's got his mojo back, and he is plenty pissed at these sadistic young punks. Wonderfully done fight, and a great late-period Jackie Chan film. The Myth (2005) - The Glue Trap Conveyor Belt [embed]213947:39288:0[/embed] While I think The Myth as a whole underwhelms at the end, it's still an all right movie with some really good fights. An early tussle against two guards leads to fine slapstick (and one insane heel kick to grab a spear), the period action set pieces are well staged, and the reincarnation fight against the Indian swordsman is nicely pulled off. Yet it's this glue trap fight that is my favorite by far. It's the perfect set-up for a guy like Jackie since it involves creative play with the environment. Given the way Jackie designs his action scenes, I assume this was probably an idea he had on the backburner for a while. Rob-B-Hood (2006) - The Fight to Save the Baby [embed]213947:39289:0[/embed] Watching Rob-B-Hood, I was happy to see Yuen Biao again, who never really got the international recognition he deserved for some badass action over the decades. This film rounds out a relatively solid run in the mid-2000s for Jackie. (Okay, except for Around the World in 80 Days.) There's a very cool stunt involving air conditioning units (see 1:50 to 3:00) and a well-done final fight to save a baby in cold storage (5:07 until the end). The Forbidden Kingdom (2008) - Jackie Chan vs. Jet Li [embed]213947:39300:0[/embed] While I didn't enjoy the framing narrative in The Forbidden Kingdom, there are plenty of fun moments in the movie. The biggie is this showdown between Jackie Chan and Jet Li, where both performers are able to shine. It's surprising given that their respective fighting styles are pretty different. This observation goes beyond just drunken boxing vs. Shaolin or tiger vs. mantis. Jackie and Jet have different rhythms when they stage their fights, so it's interesting to see how they play together. Yuen Woo-ping gets a lot of credit, and he probably knew how to choreograph a fight that plays to both actors's abilities having worked with them multiple times in the past. The Karate Kid (2010) - Jackie Chan Beats Up Children [embed]213947:39290:0[/embed] I'm still surprised that I enjoyed the remake of The Karate Kid as much as I did. It doesn't hold its own against the original, but there's still some charm to it (despite its culturally off-kilter title.) By the end, that martial arts tournament turns into a goofy fighting game. All that's missing are life bars, super gauges, and 60-hit combos. Though, to be honest, I think I like The Karate Kid solely for the fact that I got out of the movie what I wanted going in: a scene in which Jackie Chan beats the crap out of pint-sized bad guys. 1911 (2011) - A Brief Flash of Brilliance [embed]213947:39302:0[/embed] Jackie's getting older (he turns 59 next year) and admits that action is tougher for him these days. Part of this is what led to reports that he was going to retire from making action movies after Chinese Zodiac. He had to correct those reports: he was only retiring from the big, crazy action movies of his past. I think looking at the brief 1911 fight (a surprising skirmish in a nationalistic historical drama) and considering the fights from earlier in Jackie Chan's career, he can lose the big action and still be a great action star based on style and creativity alone. The way he uses props to his advantage and the clever solutions to bizarre set-ups lend themselves well to Chan's sensibilities at any age. I guess what I'm saying is that he doesn't need to jump onto hovercrafts if he can turn a guy's rifle strap against him. The final showdown in New Police Story is not a fight, but a quick draw involving disassembled guns. It's clear that Jackie isn't as fast or as tough as the young people he's fighting. In fact, he's not even as fast or as tough as the Jackie Chan seen in the previous Police Story films. And yet, he's got experience and intelligence on his side. Jackie's solution to this showdown is great because it's surprising, creative, and stylish --  that's the essence of Jackie Chan. That's what wins the day, and it's just a matter of distilling that sort of inventiveness moving forward. That might be how Jackie Chan can beat Jackie Chan.
Jackie Chan's finer moments from 2000-2012
Roughly one year ago following the release of a promo video for Chinese Zodiac (CZ12), I did a list of the 12 best Jackie Chan fight scenes. The list ended at 1999's Gorgeous. Now, with the premiere of Chinese Zodiac and...


Trailer: Chinese Zodiac

One last trailer for Jackie Chan's 101st movie
Dec 11
// Hubert Vigilla
Jackie Chan's Chinese Zodiac premieres tomorrow and then comes out across China on December 20th. Here's one last trailer for the film, which is basically an extended version of the first trailer from back in May that includ...

Jackie Chan sets two Guinness world records

Dec 05 // Hubert Vigilla
Dragon Lord (1982) [embed]213945:39249:0[/embed]
"Most Stunts Performed by a Living Actor" and "Most Credits in One Movie"
We're one week away from the overseas release of Chinese Zodiac, Jackie Chan's 101st movie, and Chan has set two new world records in the process. Guinness World Records officially awarded Chan "Most Stunts Performed by a Liv...


Trailer: Chinese Zodiac

Oct 17
// Hubert Vigilla
This latest trailer for Chinese Zodiac (aka Armour of God 3) isn't as awesome as the rollerblade suit trailer from late August or the more traditional trailer from May. It's not even as keen as that initial promo from last y...

Trailer: Chinese Zodiac

Aug 29
// Hubert Vigilla
Ever since the first promo video for Jackie Chan's Chinese Zodiac (the third Armour of God movie), I've been excited that this would be a return to form like 2004's New Police Story. If this teaser is any indication, Chan pr...

Jackie Chan slates new English-language Hollywood film

Jun 28
// Hubert Vigilla
Jackie Chan is setting up his next movie, though sadly it's not a remake of Gene Kelly's It's Always Fair Weather. (Maybe next time.) Currently untitled, the project is described as a "two-hander action comedy" in which Chan ...

Trailer: Chinese Zodiac

May 21
// Hubert Vigilla
At the end of last year, we showed you a promo video for Chinese Zodiac, Jackie Chan's 101st movie. Here's the first official trailer for the film, and it's got me pretty excited. If this is Chan's last big ballsy action fil...

Jackie Chan is NOT retiring from action movies

May 21 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]210344:38270[/embed] From Jackie Chan's Facebook page over the weekend: Yesterday in my press conference in Cannes for Chinese 12 Zodiac I said that this movie was my last big action movie. Today I was shocked when I woke up to read all the news coverage that I was retiring from doing Action movies. I just want to let everyone know that I am not retiring from doing action movies. What I meant to say is that I need to do less of the life risking stunts on my movies. After all these years of doing so many stunts and breaking so many bones, I need to take better care of my body so I can keep working. I will continue to do international action movies. And I will keep improving my English :-) I love all of you! Jackie

Last week we reported that Chinese Zodiac will be Jackie Chan's last big action movie. We and many other news sources took this as a sign that Jackie Chan was retiring from the genre. Turns out, he has no intention of quittin...

Why Jackie Chan should remake It's Always Fair Weather

May 18 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]210329:38267:0[/embed] Why remake It's Always Fair Weather? Thematically, it'd make sense. The original film is an underrated gem about three soldiers who were thick as thieves at one time. At the end of the war, they make a pact to meet up again in 10 years and catch up. When they do reunite, they aren't as close, their lives have changed, and we learn that their dreams didn't quite pan out the way they wished. It's a movie about faded friendships and the way people grow apart. It's not your typical MGM musical, and it's somewhat dark and cynical at times, but it does feature Gene Kelly's best dance sequence on film: he tap dances on roller skates (seen above). While that scene steals the show, each person in the film would've gotten a chance to shine if the full version of the film was preserved. (Sadly, Michael Kidd's musical number was cut from the movie, and ditto a number featuring Kelly and Charisse together. Charisse still has a solo number in the film, and she's remarkable, leggy, and downright sexy in it.) It all seems ready made for Chan and company to take on the primary roles. Jackie is Gene Kelly in a heartbeat, Sammo does Dan Dailey's part, Yuen is just right for Michael Kidd's role, and you have to bring in Maggie Cheung for the Cyd Charisse character since she's a quintessential Hong Kong actress and Jackie's leading lady for several films. Bring Brigitte Lin out of retirement for the Dolores Gray part (and if that doesn't work, get Michelle Yeoh), and there you go. And since the original was directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, go ahead and bring in Stanley Tong to co-direct this one with Jackie Chan -- let's get into trouble, baby! [embed]210329:38268:0[/embed] The last movie that Chan, Hung, and Biao did together was Dragon's Forever back in 1988. It was one of those classic HK action movies of the 1980s, with nutty fights and lots of broad Cantonese comedy. Maybe the It's Always Fair Weather remake could reunite many of the HK stars of the 1980s, such as the recurring actors from the Lucky Stars series. Bring in some other actors as well, like Benny "The Jet" Urquidez and Cynthia Rothrock and Richard Norton, and see what Yasuaki Kurata is up to. Again, it'd be a nice thematic tie with the ethos of an old-timey musical -- let's get our friends together and make a dang movie. Perhaps it gets metafictional. It's Always Fair Weather was about soldiers in post-war New York City; the remake could be about the HK movie scene after Hollywood came calling in the 1990s. Or maybe it'd be about three Peking Opera students who go seek their fortunes in film, are successful as a trio, drift apart, and then come back together. There's potential there to explore the changing face of HK film as well as how Hong Kong itself has changed in the new millennium. [embed]210329:38269:0[/embed] And really, how many martial arts musical comedies can you name? The idea is crazy enough to work, even as just a harebrained novelty. If you watch enough Hong Kong martial arts movies, you notice a rhythm to the movement. The fights are not just intricate bits of brutal dance choreography, but there's this important percussive component as well. It lends itself to musical accompaniment because they are musical in nature. I remember Chan even mentioning this explicitly in the audio commentary for Gorgeous, emphatically humming and dum-dumming the theme to The Bridge on the River Kwai over a fight scene. Chan's a decent singer, belting out songs at the end of several of his movies and releasing a few albums as well. (Here he is singing over the credits and bloopers of Police Story.) He also choreographed the above homage to Singin' in the Rain for Shanghai Knights, and though these are time intensive scenes, he's got enough ideas sitting around to construct various musical sequences. Chan even demonstrated his ability to direct a lavish musical number in Miracles (aka Mr. Canton and Lady Rose). Maybe as a tribute to the late Anita Mui (another great HK leading lady), one of the dance scenes could be set to Mui's rendition of "Rose, Rose, I Love You." [embed]210329:38266:0[/embed] This is all just a goofy idea, a garish unlikelihood with no money in it, but it's something I thought about when I finally sat down and watched It's Always Fair Weather a while ago. There are worse ways to get Chan, Hung, and Biao together again, and better ones as well, but those would be predictable. I'd like to see a sequel to Wheels on Meals and Dragons Forever like the next guy, but why not do something unpredictable and daring? Why not do a musical comedy as a cinematic stunt? Chinese Zodiac looks like a vintage Hong Kong movie, so perhaps with Chan making his way out of the genre, he could do one last grand gesture that wouldn't necessarily be a big action extravaganza. It's Always Fair Weather was like a wave goodbye to the age of the MGM musical; maybe this could be a singing, dancing, fighting bow to an important era of Hong Kong cinema -- a last hurrah for lucky stars.

Earlier we reported that Jackie Chan is retiring from action movies. He's 58 years old now, exhausted, and he feels reluctant to do action films given all the violence in the world. (He left the door open for Karate Kid 2 and...


[UPDATE: Jackie Chan says he is NOT retiring from action films.] Chinese Zodiac, Jackie Chan's 101st film, will also be his last big action movie. At a Cannes news conference he said the world is too violent and that he's ver...


Zak Penn rewriting Karate Kid 2: Karate Kidder

Feb 09
// Hubert Vigilla
The 2010 kung-fu remake of The Karate Kid did well at the box office ($359 million worldwide... yeah, seriously), so there was bound to be a sequel. Wasn't bad for what it was. I mean, at least you got to see Jackie Chan beat...

12 best Jackie Chan fight scenes

Dec 15 // Hubert Vigilla
Drunken Master (1978) - The Final Fight Against Hwang Jang Lee [embed]206006:37556:0[/embed] The success of Snake in the Eagle's Shadow in early 1978 (Jackie Chan's breakthrough film) led to the making of Drunken Master, a bona fide masterpiece. The film reteamed Jackie with director Yuen Woo-ping as well as actors Hwang Jang Lee and Simon Yuen (father of Yuen Woo-ping). The final fight of Drunken Master is something of a rematch between Chan and Lee. (During the Eagle's Shadow fight, Lee kicked one of Chan's teeth out.) Both actors get to shine, which is the key to any well-made fight scene: Lee again displays his kicking skills while Chan showcases his genius through the eight different sub-styles of drunken boxing. Fearless Hyena (1979) - The Three-on-One Sword-Spear Fight [embed]206006:37557:0[/embed] Chan's first time in the director's chair, Fearless Hyena is one of his overlooked classics. I still have my cheap-o VHS copy somewhere. It's similar in tone and style to Drunken Master -- there are abusive training sequences that turn a goofball into a hero, for instance, and "emotional kung-fu" owes a lot to the eight immortals of drunken boxing. While the last battle is good, it's the penultimate fight that really stands out. Chan takes on three people armed with weapons that are part spear and part sword, showcasing some remarkable acrobatics. The last fight of the film is in the clip as well for a taste of emo-fu. Wheels on Meals (1984) - The Final Fight Against Benny "The Jet" Urquidez [embed]206006:37558:0[/embed] The Wheels on Meals fight is regarded as one of the best martial arts fights on film, and for good reason. Part of that has to do with Benny "The Jet" Urquidez, a kickboxing champ with a devastating jumping spinning back kick that gave him his nickname. (He'd also make John Cusack look dangerous in Grosse Point Blank.) Chan and Urquidez are so similar in size and speed, and together they had a knack for timing and rhythm. I remember reading accounts that they actually hit each other at full strength a couple times during the fight, and even planned to take out their aggression in a charity kickboxing match after filming. (The match never took place, which was probably best for Jackie.) As an unexpected bonus, after the Wheels on Meals fight above is their rematch in Dragons Forever (1988). The film was the last collaboration between Jackie, Sammo Hung, and Yuen Biao, all of whom trained together in the same Peking Opera School as children. The Chan/Urquidez fight in this one is good, though I always preferred the first match-up a bit more for some reason. Perhaps it's because their bout in Dragons Forever was overshadowed by Biao's earlier fight sequence in the film; it was some of his best work, up there with Prodigal Son, Righting Wrongs, and The Iceman Cometh (nothing to do with Eugene O'Neill; Donnie Yen is remaking this in 3D). Police Story (1985) - The Mall Finale aka Broken Glass Story [embed]206006:37559:0[/embed] Chan's early forays into Hollywood were frustrating. After the Cannonball Run flicks and The Big Brawl (quaint in its own way but not too memorable) came The Protector, a gritty cop movie that didn't suit Chan's style. As a response, he went back to Hong Kong and made Police Story, which is one of his best movies. A shanty town gets demolished real good, goons hurtle out of a double-decker bus, and, most memorably, an entire shopping mall becomes a playground for mayhem. Some nicknamed the film "Glass Story" or "Broken Glass Story" because of film's finale. (Chan would also reshoot action sequences and add his own scenes to The Protector for a Hong Kong-ized cut of the film.) Armour of God (1987) - The Fight Against the Amazon Women [embed]206006:37560:0[/embed] Armour of God was Chan's take on Indiana Jones. In the series, he played the pulpily named protagonist Asian Hawk, which could also be a taxonomy. While filming Armour of God, Chan almost died, leaving him with a permanent hole in his head. It's discussed here in this clip from The Incredibly Strange Film Show starting about 1:10. (I remember hearing or reading somewhere that this hole in the head occasionally caused problems with Chan's equilibrium when filming boat scenes.) Now this particular pick was a toughie. I didn't want to choose two fights from the same movie, and I enjoyed both the fight against the four Amazons as well as the fight against the room full of monks. I sided with the Amazons just because the sequence plays out so well and ends cleverly. Police Story II (1988) - The Playground Fight [embed]206006:37561:0[/embed] The sequel to Police Story includes a factory getting blowed up real good, the severe injury of Maggie Cheung, and, most memorably, an entire playground that becomes a playground for mayhem. It's such an ideal setting for Chan to create fight sequences. It's a time intensive process of riffing and rehearsal to construct a Chan fight scene, which explains why his fights in Hollywood productions are rarely as long or as intricate. (Shanghai Knights is one of the exceptions since director David Dobkin allotted extra shooting time just for Chan to choreograph scenes.) As with many of Chan's fights against groups of people, there's a systematic approach -- he evades and then takes out one or two baddies to help even the odds, repeat. Miracles aka Mr. Canton and Lady Rose (1989) - The Rope Factory Fight [embed]206006:37562:0[/embed] One of my favorite Jackie Chan movies, Miracles is an odd but lovable duck of a film. Directed by Chan and one his own personal favorites, it's an elegantly shot period martial arts/gangster movie that's also a take on Frank Capra's Lady for a Day and Pocketful of Miracles. Amid the action, Cantonese comedy, and sentimentalism, there's also a full-blown music number by the late great Anita Mui. Picking my favorite fight out of this one was a bit difficult since the restaurant fight (0:38) and street fight (2:43) have great visual gags in them, but the fight in the rope factory (5:22) is the major set piece of the film, and there's a massive environment for Chan and his crew to play in. We'll go with that since it exemplifies the fun silent film/cartoon aspect to the fights in the movie. Drunken Master II (1994) - The Final Fight Against Ken Lo [embed]206006:37563:0[/embed] This is my favorite Jackie Chan movie, and I prefer the Hong Kong cut of the movie to the American version Legend of the Drunken Master. (Apart from shaving the run time a tad, the American version changed the music and made all of the sound effects anemic by comparison.) Chan was around 40 years old when he made the film, but he was still at the height of his powers. The final fight against Ken Lo -- who in addition to acting in other films was also a professional fighting champ and one of Chan's bodyguards -- is really just the capper to an entire suite of end fights. Chan topped himself for the rest of his career. The other fights in the film are also masterpieces of choreography and worth noting. The introductory fight against Lau Kar Leung (who was the director until Chan took over toward the end) is reminiscent of Leung's work with Shaw Brothers Studios. The fight in the square is also great, setting up a few moves that play a big part of the finale. And of course there's the axe gang fight, which just gets bananas once the bamboo comes into play. Rumble in the Bronx (1995) - The Warehouse Fight [embed]206006:37564:0[/embed] For many people my age, Rumble in the Bronx was the first real exposure they ever got to Jackie Chan. (For me it was on MTV when Quentin Tarantino presented Chan with a lifetime achievement award.) The warehouse fight demonstrated his skills at prop fighting and action design he'd developed over the years. Rumble in the Bronx was the movie where age started catching up to the superstar. During a relatively simple jump onto a hovercraft, Chan broke his ankle. There was going to be one more fight scene in Rumble in the Bronx, but that was scrapped due to the injury. Chan's ankle wouldn't heal for a while, which affected the filming of his next movie, Thunderbolt. The fight in the pachinko parlor/casino is pretty incredible, but he had to use a double for many shots so he wouldn't re-injure himself. It's still a well-designed and choreographed sequence by Chan regardless. Police Story IV: First Strike (1996) - The Ladder Fight [embed]206006:37565:0[/embed] First Strike would be the last of the original Police Story series, and it features one of the most remarkable bits of prop fighting in Chan's career. There are nice flourishes with lion dancer heads and with staffs, but it all builds toward the use of an eight-foot aluminium stepladder, which is the thing that most people remember about the movie. The uncut version of the underwater aquarium fight is a pure joy -- think of the underwater bar fight in the spoof Top Secret! played a little bit straighter -- but that was unfortunately chopped up when released in the United States and remains unavailable domestically. In 2004, New Police Story was released as a series reboot with a noticeably darker tone. Chan chose not to release it in the U.S. theatrically so it wouldn't get tampered with by studios. Who Am I? (1998) - The Rotterdam Rooftop Fight [embed]206006:37566:0[/embed] I first saw this impressive fight against Kwan Yung and Ron Smoorenburg on cable at a friend's place. He wasn't much of a Jackie Chan fan, but he couldn't deny how well put together this scene was. Smoorenburg actually had to be doubled by various members of Chan's stunt team because he couldn't quite get the choreography down. (Note his drastic height change in some shots.) Now Rush Hour came out the same year as Who Am I, and while I still think the first Rush Hour is okay, my big gripe with that whole series is that they've never given Jackie enough time to craft a sequence even half as good as this one. If you add up all the fights in Rush Hour, they're probably about as long as this one fight in Who Am I. Gorgeous (1999) - The Final Fight Against Brad Allan [embed]206006:37567:0[/embed] One of the members of Jackie Chan's stunt team who doubled for Ron Smoorenburg was Brad Allan. Trained by Jackie himself, the Aussie performer may be the best person to go toe-to-toe with Chan since Benny Urquidez. Chan and Allan actually fight twice in the movie. The first one starts at 3:23, and the second comes right after at 8:10. You get a sense of the two reading each other's rhythm and knowing each other's timing -- they both know how to look good and how to make the other person look good. Allan has since worked as a fight choreographer and stunt coordinator on numerous non-Chan movies, including Hellboy II, Kick-Ass, and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Going through these 12 great fight scenes basically brings us through 21 years of Jackie Chan's career. There have been some good fights since then, of course. New Police Story was a strong return to form, and the best movie he's done in the 00s. The marketplace scene in The Accidental Spy has some solid comedic prop fighting. The glue trap scene and some early fights in The Myth are well orchestrated even though that film falls short overall. I'll even give Shanghai Knights some love since the fights have that classic Chan feel, and the sword fight at the end would have been a spectacular close in a more serious movie. (If only the Shanghai series were done with the same flair and tone as Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes.) The main reason the list ends at 1999, though, is that these are the fights that have defined him as an action star. Maybe Chinese Zodiac will mark a new, late-period hurrah from Chan; maybe the best is yet to come. I hope so -- I really want him to make me amend this list in the future.

Jackie Chan's 101st movie, Chinese Zodiac, comes out in about a year. It promises to be a return to form for the 57 year old actor, whose career as a stunt performer and action star is four decades long. As a big Jackie Chan ...


Chinese Zodiac looks like vintage Jackie Chan goodness

Dec 13
// Hubert Vigilla
Jackie Chan's 101st film is coming out on 12-12-2012. It's called Chinese Zodiac, and if the old info about the film still holds true, it's the long-brewing sequel to Armour of God and Operation Condor. That means some globe...

Trailer: 1911

Sep 20
// Alex Katz
Until just now, watching the trailer for 1911 before writing this post, I'd thought that Jackie Chan had retired from acting. I have absolutely no evidence of this fact, just the notion in my little brain that he's quit...

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