you're reading...
Article, Blu Ray, DVD, Movie Clip, Movie Review, News, Rant, VHS

Ten Of The Best: Jackie Chan

I originally posted this at Letterboxd, but figured i’d post it here too (I have one Letterboxd invite left if anyone wants it?)

POLICE STORY [1985]

The film that introduced me to Chan when I was a young’n after my brother, with such glee on his face, showed me the very final moments when Chan’s Ka Kui character punches the villainous Mr Koo about 57 times in the guts as fast as lightning. Considering at this point my idea of an action movie was Arnie and Stallone movies, it was a bit of an eye opener.

Police Story is probably still my favourite Jackie Chan movie, and its pretty much just because of the final showdown. Not to discredit any of his fight sequences after this, but I don’t think he’s ever managed to match the overall intensity of the final 15 minutes of Police Story. You come very close to believing that Chan is actually fighting for his life as he and his female companion are thrown through glass (numerous times) and battered within an inch of their lives.

A landmark movie in Hong Kong cinema and Jackie’s first proper foray into making films in a modern setting.

WHEELS ON MEALS [1984]

My favourite of the Chan/Hung/Biao collaborations. Love the Spanish setting, the casting of Benny Urquidez and Kieth Vitali as the bad guys henceman and of course the lovely Lola Forner as the object of the guys affection.

Great cameo’s from John Sham and Richard Ng too. An insanely fun movie. Still holding out for that full on reunion movie.

PROJECT A  [1983]

My second favourite of the Chan/Hung/Biao collaborations. This time Chan is a a member of the marine police who along with his fellow colleagues are forced to join the Hong Kong police when their ships are blown to smithereens. Biao is Chan’s superior and Hung plays an old friend of Chan’s who is a bit of a gambler and a rogue, a role Hung is fantastic at. This all leads to a battle with villainous pirate San Po, played by the always terrifyingly hard looking Dick Wei.

Famous for featuring Jackie’s Harold Lloyd homage clocktower stunt which almost snapped him in two…and then he did it again, and also for the fantastic bike chase sequence which is chock full of great visual gags and stunts. The moment when Chan plonks himself down on his bike, unaware that his seat has fallen off is a moment of pure comedy gold, which made had me in tears as a youngster and has me in tears as a 30 year old man.

DRAGONS FOREVER [1988]

The last film that Jackie, Sammo and Yuen Biao all starred in together, which is a shame. Surely it’s time for a reunion.!?

Features Jackie’s rematch with Benny The Jet Urquidez from Wheels On Meals, and I know the W.O.M fight gets all of the praise (and rightfully so) but the Dragons Forever duel is my favourite of the two, it’s more intense and even you feel sore after watching it.

Also features the great Yuen Wah as the spindly cigar chomping villain (pretty much the EXACT same character he plays in Sammo’s Eastern Condors) and also notable for one of the most painful looking bumps I’ve ever seen a stuntman take, look out for it during the finale when Biao kicks his main opponent in the throat…practically folds himself up…on a curb. Yeah.

ARMOUR OF GOD [1986]

Noteworthy for being the film that almost killed Jackie, when a simple stunt involving grabbing a branch of a tree sent him plummeting towards the ground and cracking his head open on a rock (Jackie still has a hole in his head to this day)

But let’s not forget the fantastic action in Armour Of God…The fight with the monks ranks as one of the most high octane fights Jackie ever choreographed with some neck snapping stunts that don’t half make you wince. And of course, the fight with the 3 amazon women is amazing, and hilarious…never has punching a woman in the tits or being kicked really hard in the arse pipe been so funny.

It’s also a fun fight to spot members of Jackie’s stunt team doubling for the women…They’re not hard to spot, they’re the ones running like they own a pair of testicles.

CRIME STORY [1993]

One of the first times Chan tried something a bit different after years of pretty much playing the same character (not being critical, just stating the facts). Here he plays an emotionally damaged cop, trying to come to terms with his past whilst trying to solve kidnapping of a wealthy business man, based on a true story too.

There’s very little trademark Chan action, but quite a bit of violence…plus Chan almost getting his face snogged off by his then real life bodyguard Ken Lo. Yep, not your typical Chan movie, but a damn good one.

DRUNKEN MASTER 2 [1994]

An absolutely blinding movie with Chan going back to the character that pretty much launched his career in the late 70’s, Chinese folk hero Wong Fei Hung. The finale contains some of the finest fight scenes ever committed to film, with Chan squaring off against his real life bodyguard and super kicker extraordinaire ken Lo. Plus great moments of Chan throwing himself on hot coals and getting wankered on industrial alcohol.

The late Anita Mui is fantastic as Chan’s step mother, as is Ti Lung as Wong Kei Ying, Chan’s father (there’s only an eight year age difference between the two, but you’d never know it…Chan slips back into his youthful persona with ease and Ti Lung is great at playing the strict father figure…who basically just doesn’t want his son being a mad fighting alcoholic). It’s pretty much that last GREAT movie Jackie made.

Fantastic. I just wish someone would give the original Chinese cut a western DVD release…There’s only so many times I can watch my wobbly VHS version. I refuse to buy the Dimension cut…who the fuck gets rid of the Wong Fei Hung theme tune? Ridiculous.

And it’s not “Legend Of Drunken Master”, it’s Drunken Master 2 god damn it.

ISLAND OF FIRE [1991]

I doubt you’ll find this on many “best of” lists when it comes to Jackie Chan movies. Jackie himself doesn’t like it and only starred in it to repay his debt to co-star Jimmy Wang Yu who had helped him out with some triad trouble early in his career.

Jackie isn’t really the star, Tony Leung is, but it is an ensemble piece to some degree. It tells the story of a corrupt prison who are using supposedly executed inmates to carry out assassinations. Sammo Hung and Andy Lau also star as fellow prisoners.

I’ve always had a soft spot for this movie…It’s not packed with action (but what there is of it is very good), but I do think it’s a really decent, gritty prison movie with a haunting theme tune that will be stuck in your head for days.

Plus we get some tasty heroic bloodshed action for the finale. Well worth checking out folks.

HEART OF DRAGON [1985]

Another movie where Jackie plays against type, although not as far removed from his usual persona like Crime Story or the later Shinjuku Incident…He’s still not his usual self as you’ll see in the films finale where Jackie goes to any means necessary to escape the final battle alive, even stabbing a goon with a metal spike or sticking a machete in someones neck…He even finishes of Dick Wei in the most un-Jackie Chan like way ever…By just booting him in the head whilst he’s down.

Although the films action scenes are few and far between thanks to Golden Harvest’s decision to try and market the dramatic aspects for it’s international release (these deleted scenes can be found on the HKL DVD though) it’s still well worth your time, especially for a moment where Jackie goes full on ‘Oscar clip’ as he yells as Sammo, who plays his mentally retarded brother. Probably the most underrated film Jackie made in his 80’s golden period.

DRUNKEN MASTER [1978]

The film that made Jackie a bonafide star in Asia after the surprise success of Snake In The Eagles Shadow.

Jackie plays the young Wong Fei Hung as a troublesome tearaway who learns the art of ‘drunken boxing’ from the great Beggar So (or Sam Seed, played by directed Yuen Woo Ping’s father, Simon Yuen). But eventually he has to face up to the films villian, super kicker Hwang Jang Lee (who can “kick you in the knee, very effectively” – Nigel Buckland)

It’s pretty much a remake of Snake In The Eagle’s Shadow, most of the main cast from ‘Snake’ is carried over into Drunken Master and the plots are similar enough, it’s just the fighting style is different. But out of the two this has more sentimental attachment for me and has more memorable moments.

Discussion

One thought on “Ten Of The Best: Jackie Chan

  1. Making a top 10 Jackie Chan is kinda hard but The two first Police Story movies and Project A movies should be on it… and Definitively Armor of God… so that’s 5 movies already. Then there is Snake in Eagles shadow, Drunken Master, The Young Master and Dragon Lord which makes 9. The final spot I’d probably give to Dragons forever.

    Posted by Nattehauk aka Silver | May 28, 2013, 3:50 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Archives

Categories

%d bloggers like this: