Martial arts film legend Jackie Chan turns 58 today, and in tribute to his continued awesomeness here’s a look back at his incredible career.
Following in the footsteps of the iconic Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan began his acting career as a child in Hong Kong at the age of 8. He was sent to a Peking Opera School where students learn martial arts, tumbling, and acrobatics along with music, dance, and acting (oh yeah…he can sing too!) Some of his first martial arts film appearances were as a stuntman with Bruce Lee in the films Fists of Fury and Enter the Dragon.
Having achieved mainstream success in the Hong Kong Film industry, Chan spent the next fifteen years trying to make it big in Hollywood. His persistence finally paid off in 1995 when he caught America’s attention in the film Rumble in the Bronx where he showed off his fighting skills, comedy, and of course his legendary stunts.
Jackie Chan fight scene and stunts from Rumble in the Bronx
Jackie Chan’s first big blockbuster success was Rush Hour, co-starring Chris Tucker, which cemented his place on the Hollywood A-List. Over the next ten years Chan kept audiences entertained in Shanghai Noon, The Legend of Drunken Master, Rush Hour 2, The Tuxedo, Shanghai Knights, and Rush Hour 3 with his seamless fusion of action and comedy.
In 2008 Chan wanted to get back to some serious martial arts so he paired up with fellow Chinese superstar Jet Li in the film Forbidden Kingdom. Chan really enjoyed working with a true martial arts expert and had high praise for Jet Li, “I have not worked with someone whom I’m comfortable with, in terms of movements, rhythm and natural reactions, in the last 10 years. When I fought with Jet, our actions were quick. We also didn’t have to do the same stunt over 20 times.” Check out my favourite fight scene from this film below…Praying Mantis vs Tiger Style! (#karategeek)
Jackie Chan vs Jet Li in “Forbidden Kingdom”
Now Li might appear to have bested Chan in this sequence, but to be fair Chan was pretty drunk in the scene, and continues to drink during the fight (reminds me of some fun nights in Boston…)
After Jackie got some ass-kicking out of system he went right back to comedy, this time by lending his voiceover talents to my favourite character from Kung Fu Panda, Master Monkey!
The last Jackie Chan film I saw was the remake of The Karate Kid, which he reprised the beloved Mr. Miyagi role first played by Pat Morita. I think it’s worth mentioning that Jackie Chan won the Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Award “Favorite Buttkicker” for this film, which I can only assume is the most coveted award among martial arts stars.
Now in case you were wondering if Jackie Chan really does his own stunts, the answer is assuredly yes. He’s broken just about every bone in his body and even has a plastic plug in his head when he fell 40 feet from a tree and fractured his skull on a rock. What did he have to say about that particular injury you ask?? “The operation was successful and I recovered quickly, even though there’s a permanent hole in my head now, with a plastic plug there to keep my brains in.” He was back on set doing his own stunts within a few weeks of the operation….so yeah, he’s pretty tough. Here’s the most popular Jackie Chan stunt compilation on YouTube.
Jackie Chan Stunt Compilation