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"I never wanted to be the next Bruce Lee. I just wanted to be the first Jackie Chan."

Jackie Chan (成龙 Cheng Long), born Chan Kong-Sang (陈港生) in Hong Kong on 7 April 1954, is an actor, filmmaker, and stuntman, and one of the biggest names in martial arts movies. He grew up in the Peking Opera and began a career as a stuntman in the early '70s before headlining his own films in the late '70s. He hit the big time after being "discovered" by Hollywood in the mid-'90s, and films such as Rush Hour, Shanghai Noon, The Tuxedo and The Medallion have made him an American household name.

Chan is best known as a stunt performer and fight choreographer, and that's pretty much the entire point of going to see any of his movies — watching dumbfounded as he does all sorts of insane tricks and stunts (with little Wire Fu) in jaw-dropping fight scenes. He has developed a distinctive fighting style which incorporates elements from numerous other stylesnote ; He has described his own style as "chop suey: everything". It is quite comedic and usually makes extensive use of props, even those at first sight most unsuited to fighting, such as a stepladder.note  He has said that he loves action, but hates violence, so rather than setting out to make bone-crunching kung fu, he took heavy inspiration from the physical comedy of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. Being that those were silent films, he was able to watch them without having to worry about the language barrier, and once his Hollywood work understood that connection, his popularity exploded.

Traditionally, Chan does all his own stunts, and in his days of producing low-budget Hong Kong chop-socky, that was the only way it was ever done. So, if you see his character fall through three awnings onto the street below? Really him. If you see him roll artfully over a running circular saw? Yup, actually him.note  But worry not — Jackie always OK.

And in case you don't believe it, there's usually a montage of outtakes over the end credits showing things going wrong while filming, often involving ambulancesnote . It's a good thing he's been so successful, because he's gone on record in many interviews as saying that no insurance company in the world will give him coverage. As he's grown older, despite being one hell of a badass at an age most people would retire, he understandably has stopped doing 100% of his stunts, partly because he has been told that if he falls on his head one more time, it will kill him, and partly because in the Hollywood system, insurance for the stars is a must and, as aforementioned, he has a little trouble with that.

Needless to say, he's been injured fairly frequently. His closest brush with death came from a comparatively "safe" stunt in Armour of God when he fell from a tree, fracturing his skull and permanently rupturing one of his eardrums. This being a man who has run along the edges of skyscrapers and crashed through electrical wires, it was a reminder that he can't be casual about anything he does. Among his injuries, he has dislocated his pelvis, broken his fingers, toes, nose, both cheekbones, hips, sternum, neck, ankle and ribs on numerous occasions.

A lesser-known aspect of his career (at least in America) is that he is also a professional singer, having recorded many albums and often performing the theme songs for his movies (ex. "Who Am I?" and "I'll Make a Man Out of You" in Disney's Mulan). This is a little less surprising if you're familiar with the Peking Opera, which features acrobatic fight scenes. He also has his own Animated Adaptation, Jackie Chan Adventures.

Chan's connections to Hong Kong and the Chinese government, and associated politics involved, have been the subject of much controversy in Asia. His political stance that Taiwan should reunite with China earns him few friends outside the People's Republic, but he cannot be accused of not putting his money where his mouth is, because this devastates his box-office profits in Taiwan. He has also been accused of selling out his hometown of Hong Kong with his staunch pro-Beijing stance, reducing democratic freedom in Hong Kong.

He is also accused of being a sellout to his own culture, pandering to the Western market by repeatedly portraying caricatures of the Chinese man. Reportedly advising that the protagonist role in The Forbidden Kingdom, originally intended to be a Chinese-American boy rediscovering his roots, be recast as a kung-fu obsessed white boy is sometimes advanced as evidence for this view. Further rubbing salt in wounds is his compliance to Sony's decision to force the 2010 remake of The Karate Kid to bear its original title, rather than the proposed title of The Kung Fu Kid, in spite of the fact that the film is set in China and is about the Chinese martial art of Wushu (aka kung fu). The people who accuse Chan of this are probably right, in that Chan has admitted he does this. He claims he does it for the money, so that he can finance the films he actually likes to make, as well as fund his considerable charity work.

It seems possible, however, that the strains of old age may have finally caught up with him, as is painfully evident from Rush Hour 3 onwards wherein he is no longer able to perform stunts that were second-nature to him only 5 years prior without the aid of computers or heavy safety measures. As he has become more and more overshadowed by his younger and more athletic co-stars, as well as trapped by the formula of wholesomeness that the fans have come to expect from him, Chan finally announced that Chinese Zodiac, the third installment in the Armour of God series, will be the last "big action movie" of his career, a dignified slam-bang of a finale. His later roles focus less on his dangerous stunt work and more on dramatic roles, supporting characters and smaller action set-pieces.

When his series/movies is dubbed in Japan, his voice is usually dubbed by Hiroya Ishimaru. In Latin America, he's dubbed by Juan Alfonso Carralero, who also dubs-over for Will Smith and David Hasselhoff, and in Spain, his voice is usually dubbed by Ricky Coello.

Finally, in late 2016, Jackie Chan received his first-ever Academy Award, an honorary Oscar for the decades of his contributions to the art of film.

Anyway, here's a list of some of his most famous and/or best movies. Note that many fans consider his pre-Hollywood movies to be better.

Movies that Jackie has starred in include:

  • Fist of Fury (精武门, Jing Wu Men) and Enter the Dragon: Yes, Bruce Lee's last movie was also one of Jackie's first... as one of the goons in the cave. (Bruce snaps his neck.) Even earlier, in Fist of Fury, Jackie was a stuntman, most notably standing in for the Big Bad when he falls to his death. He recalled that Bruce Lee was a harsh taskmaster but very appreciative of hard work and could be quite apologetic if he accidentally hurt someone, including Chan.note  After said incident, rumors state he was promised to be in all of Bruce Lee's movies. Jackie Chan speaks about it here.
    • New Fist of Fury: After Bruce's death, Jackie starred here as the successor of Bruce, in what would be called a Brucesploitation. Unfortunately, this movie bombed big time, and could've been a Star-Derailing Role for Jackie. Fortunately for Jackie, future movies after this start developing his character in his much more well-known slapstick badass style rather than imitating Bruce, growing out from his shadow, and it was good for his career from that point on.
  • Hand of Death, an early kung fu film where Chan teams up with John Woo. It's also notably the first film where the three dragons - Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao - appears in the same movie, though their characters do not interact with each other onscreen since their popularity isn't established at the time.
  • Snake in the Eagle's Shadow. Jackie Chan's breakout film and Yuen Woo-Ping's directorial debut, this movie helped revitalize both their careers and the waning Hong Kong film industry.
  • Shaolin Wooden Men: A Wuxia-esque movie inspired by The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, with Chan going through a Training from Hell scene in a narrow corridor filled with the titular automatons that beats the snot out of anyone who enters.
  • The Young Master: Jackie Chan is the titular master. It goes without saying this is among Chan's earlier films, given its title, and also notable for Chan's 18-minute-long final battle with the Big Bad.
  • Drunken Master. One of his first breakout hits in Asia. This is also, arguably, the film that helped popularize Shaolin Drunken Boxing and put it on the map outside China.
  • The Big Brawl: Also called Battle Creek Brawl. Chan's first attempt at breaking into the American market (having gotten sick of attempts in China to turn him into a Bruce Lee Clone). Features Mako (yes, that Mako) as a stern instructor, with a cheeky Chan is at his mercy in one scene.
  • Dragon Lord: not one of Jackie's more renowned films, but nonetheless important. It stands as what is arguably the transition from Jackie's straight up Kung-Fu period pieces (like Drunken Master) and the modern stunt oriented films he would gain much of his worldwide fame from. If you spot any stunt reel of his you find online featuring Jackie falling off a massive pile of men over a tower of buns, this is the film that set piece is from.
    • Also worth mentioning is that this is the first of his films that would have outtakes during the end credits after being inspired by Cannon Ball Run as described above.
  • The My Lucky Stars trilogy, which spawns a short-lived action-comedy film series in Hong Kong, starring Jackie Chan as a detective who had to rely on his bunch of bumbling buddies (one which is Sammo Hung) to solve crimes and take down criminal organizations which they inexplicably keep getting themselves involved in. The trilogy have three "official" entries - Winners and Sinners, My Lucky Stars, and Twinkle, Twinkle, Lucky Stars and several unofficial ones not starring Jackie Chan.
    • Twinkle, Twinkle, Lucky Stars had a cameo by Andy Lau as Jackie Chan's police partner.
  • Shinjuku Incident is his attempt to branch out into serious (and gritty!) drama.
  • The Protector, an early vehicle for Jackie Chan to enter the American market, directed by James Glickenhaus of The Exterminator fame. An Old Shame for Jackie Chan due to its Exploitation Film nature, and his Re-Cut version drastically toned down the violence and nudity, and reshot the action scenes to match his other movies. An attempt to address the film's issues led to...
  • Police Story features some jaw-dropping amazing stunts (with no CGI!) and is sometimes called 'Glass Story', due to the ridiculous number of sugar glass panels that break in the final 20 minutes or so of the movie. It's also important to mention that it has three sequels and a spinoff, and two In Name Only reboots. Also, Chan considers it his best action film. The sequels to this film are:
    • Police Story 2 (警察故事续集, Jing Cha Gu Shi Xu Ji; notable not just for the destruction of an actual building for the finale, but the outtakes showing something like forty cameras all lined up to ensure there was at least one good take.)
    • Police Story 3: Super Cop (released in America as SuperCop). A Darker and Edgier sequel where guns and bodycounts are drastically increased. Features Michelle Yeoh as Jackie's partner.
    • Police Story 4: First Strike (released in America as Jackie Chan's First Strike) - The stepladder fight? This is the movie it's from.
    • Once a Cop (the spin off starring Michelle Yeoh's character from Super Cop; also known as Super Cop 2. Only featured a cameo appearance by Jackie... Disguised in Drag no less!)
    • The franchise received a Gritty Reboot in 2004 with New Police Story and a second film, Police Story 2013 was produced in the same vein, only with Jackie's character as a wholly Chinese policeman.
  • Project A: His first film to feature a show-stopping, gratuitously dangerous stunt; in this case, Jackie falling from a clock tower and smashing through two awnings that slow him enough to make the fall survivable. Jackie being the kind of man he is, wasn't satisfied with the first take, so he did it two more times!
    • This is also one of his few films to feature his two "brothers," Sammo Hung (who also directed the action) and Yuen Biao as co-stars - notably, they could not make it for the sequel.
      • Project A2, the sequel, showed Jackie chewing up hot peppers and spitting them onto his fists to fight someone. Actual hot peppers. Which may or may not have been a smart idea. Rumor has it that the sequel was made at the behest of The Emperor of Japan, who even asked Jackie himself. note 
  • Armour of God, and its sequel Armour of God 2: Operation Condor, later released in the US in reverse order as Operation Condor and Operation Condor 2: The Armor of the Gods.
    • Armour of God is notable for being the closest Jackie Chan has come to death, suffering a critical head injury after a stunt misfire. The irony is that the stunt wasn't one of his usual showstoppers; even the "little" stunts can kill you. The ending credit outtakes go into great detail on this. Ever since, he has worn his hair long to cover the plastic plug in his skull.
    • On an unrelated note, end credits of Armour of God feature a good example of Jackie Chan singing.
    • 2012's Chinese Zodiac is a sort-of sequel to Armour of God, though the treasure hunter character Chan portrays is now renamed "JC".
  • Heart of Dragon: Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung surprises the audience with this unusual Oddball in the Series, a drama movie where Chan plays the caregiver to his autistic brother, Sammo. Its more hilarious than dramatic, to be honest.
  • Island of Fire: A prison flick starring Jackie Chan and an Ensemble Cast including Andy Lau, Sammo Hung, Jimmy Wang Yu and Tony Leung Ka-fai. Notably the closest Chan would get into the Heroic Bloodshed genre, when the final scene of the movie inexplicably turning into a John Woo flick where Chan, Lau and Sammo gets to kill lots and lots of mooks with dual pistols.
  • City Hunter: Based on the Hojo Tsukasa manga, and most famous for funny and enterprisingly well-done Street Fighter II parody, which is usually considered to be better than the movie! ...but Jackie personally dislikes it. During production of the movie, Jackie Chan and director Wong Jing took such a dislike to each other that Wong Jing's next movie, High Risk, featured a vicious Take That! satire of Chan. The satire was so nasty and over-the-top that the movie's star Jet Li afterward issued a public apology to Chan for having taken part in it, and it is thought that residual bad blood over the incident is what kept Chan and Li from starring together until The Forbidden Kingdom, when both were well into their middle age.
  • Crime Story: A brooding, sensationalist ripped-from-the-headlines police procedural about the kidnapping of a wealthy business man by a gang of extortionists, based directly on an actual unsolved Hong Kong kidnapping case. Chan stars in the lead role as a guilt-afflicted inspector, who inadvertently pairs up with a dirty cop involved in the kidnapping. A very unusual departure for Chan at this point in time, as the film is a serious crime drama with none of the situational comedy or slapstick found in his action-comedies. Nonetheless, he delivers on spectacular action sequences and shows off his range with an excellent dramatic performance.
  • Drunken Master II: Selected as one of Time magazine's All-TIME 100 Best Movies, the end of this film features a nearly 20-minute fight sequence that Roger Ebert described as "one of the most remarkably sustained examples of martial arts choreography ever filmed", also stating "it may not be possible to film a better fight scene".
    • That sequence also has a scene where Jackie falls onto a bed of hot coals. Actual hot coals. A scene he re-shot three times to get right. He still bears scars on his arm from the failed takes.
  • Rumble in the Bronx: His breakout movie in the U.S.; prior to this movie, he had been offered a roles in Hollywood (such as the villain in Demolition Man), but declined to avoid being typecast as either a villain or a bumbling Asian man. He wanted to succeed in Hollywood as Jackie Chan and not as a Bruce Lee Clone.
  • Fantasy Mission Force: A film with an Ensemble Cast, where Chan is an Advertised Extra. DVD re-releases nowadays would try to hype Chan's presence in this film due to Chan's popularity, making this a massive case of Covers Always Lie.
  • Mr. Nice Guy: The saw blade scene? Yep, this is the movie.
  • Rush Hour: Probably his most famous and successful movie in the world, it cemented him as a bona fide Hollywood action star.
  • Shanghai Noon: Not as famous as Rush Hour, but some consider it superior, as the fight scenes are way better. Shanghai Knights features one of the most inspired "Singing In The Rain" tributes in cinema history.
  • The Tuxedo: A Bond parody that didn't fare so well with critics.
  • The Forbidden Kingdom: This kung-fu remake of The Wizard of Oz was part of Jackie's attempt to do more 'serious' movies and roles, and also notable for being his only collaboration to date with Jet Li. (Just that promise got asses in seats, we assure you.)
  • Kung Fu Panda: He is the voice of Master Monkey (unsurprisingly). He has roughly two lines in the first one, but more in the second and third films.
  • The Karate Kid (2010): Jackie Chan as Mr. Miyagi? Well-received.
  • The Spy Next Door: But this film... wasn't to say the least.
  • The Accidental Spy: Not to be confused with the above, this is one of the better Hong Kong films from the latter part of Jackie's career, when he'd started getting too old to do the same sort of extreme stunts he had in his youth. Noteworthy for filming in Istanbul's Grand Bazaar (which would later be a setting for Skyfall as well), a chase/fight scene that features a completely nude Jackie and some clever camera blocking, and a final set piece involving a Speed-style runaway truck chase rather than a fight scene.
  • The Beast in the Chinese dub of Beauty and the Beast.
  • The Cannonball Run: Easy to miss as this movie was before he broke out as a international star. He and another Asian actor were brought over to be the tech-savvy Japanese racers who cannot speak a word of English.
    • This is the movie that he credits with his decision to add outtakes at the end of all of his movies.
  • Wheels on Meals, which has what many consider to be one of the greatest fight scenes put on film; a duel between Jackie and Benny "The Jet" Urquidez. This is the first of two films in which he would guest star, with the other being Dragons Forever, described further below.
    • The weird title is due to a superstitious executive, as the studio had recently suffered two expensive flops that both began with the letter M. It worked.
  • The Myth: Part historical epic, part contemporary action movie, featuring an impressively international cast.
  • The Twins Effect: He has a supporting role as a paramedic in this Hong Kong vampire movie (the protagonists gate-crash his wedding).
  • Half A Loaf Of Kung Fu: One of his early films, and the first to show his trademark comedic take on martial arts.
  • Who Am I? (1998): The climax features Jackie fighting two guys on a skyscraper rooftop in Rotterdam, with all three actors spending a hair-raising amount of time close to the edge as they leap around fighting. Parts of said fight are textbook examples of why designer suits and earrings large enough to grab are a bad idea for combat.
    • Oh, it gets more thrilling: Jackie later slides down a sloped part of the building. With no safety harness.
  • Miracles, also known as Ji Ji or The Canton Godfather: One of Jackie Chan's lesser known movies, it's best described as Frank Capra meets Kung Fu. Ever seen a man stop a running fan with one hand? Ever seen one man fight 20 people in a rope factory? You will in this movie. Unsurprisingly, the outtakes are painful.
    • Notable for also being one of Jackie's most elaborate and technically impressive films, featuring a multitude of impressive epic tracking shots and a general scope larger than nearly all of his prior films; the effort was a direct response to many of his critics at the time describing Jackie as unable to direct anything other than action. This film would go on to be one of Jackie's personal favorites of his career.
  • Gorgeous: Another atypical Jackie Chan film, as close to a rom-com as Jackie Chan ever made—although by this point he was starting to look pretty old, and the female lead (Shu Qi) was young enough to be his daughter. And like the jaw-dropping fight against Benny the Jet in Wheels on Meals, Jackie does another, if not even better fight against Australian boxer Brad Allen. What makes this fight special is that even if Jackie's age would've caught onto him back then, he STILL manages to put up a kickass fight against Allen. Also has cameos by many Hongkong and Taiwan stars, including Stephen Chow.
  • Mulan, in the Mandarin and Cantonese dubs. He does (and sings!) Shang's voice.
  • 1911, Chan's 100th film which was coincidentally released 100 years after the event it commemorates. It concerns China's 1911 Revolution, which ended the rule of emperors. Unlike most of Chan's films, it contains little martial arts or comedy.
  • The Medallion: Jackie Chan attempts to diversify his catalog of films with this foray into the magic fantasy genre. It's one of his least successful Hollywood films to date, second only to...
  • Around the World in 80 Days (2004): Good stunts but horribly misplaced in the film. Should be noted this was one of the few live-action films he acted for Disney. note 
  • Twin Dragons. Jackie plays twins, Separated at Birth. This one concludes with the famous fight sequence in and around cars that are being actively crash tested.
  • Little Big Soldier. Jackie portrays an old soldier who appears cowardly and unwilling to fight, who manages to capture an enemy General. It's half comedy and half drama as he attempts to bring the General back to his country so that he can finally go back to a normal life as a farmer and raise a family.
  • A Kid From Tibet: All 8 seconds of it.
  • Dragons Forever, the last time Jackie would co-star in a film with the other two of his Three Brothers friends from the China Drama Academy, Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung. It also stars another one of Chan's old academy friends, Yuen Wah, as the main villain and was the last film to feature Chan fighting Benny Urquidez. An amazing film, that nonetheless actually saw Chan playing against type, because instead of playing the happy-go-lucky every man he plays in his other films, he plays a slick, hotshot, skirt-chasing lawyer. Both Sammo and Biao also played against type in this film. The film noticeably had a darker story than most martial arts films, featuring a tale of drugs and criminals that notably saw Hung's character injected with narcotics against his will.
  • Dragon Blade: Jackie leads a Chinese army that fights alongside a Roman legion to protect The Silk Road.
  • Skiptrace: Jackie tracks down a notorious crime boss to get revenge for his fallen partner and is forced to recruit an American conman in deep trouble with the Russian mafia to his cause to this end. Notable in that the conman is played by Johnny Knoxville.
  • The Foreigner (2017), a Martin Campbell-directed project with Pierce Brosnan based on the novel The Chinaman. Notable for being much Darker and Edgier than your average Jackie Chan film, with a ruthless Anti-Hero protagonist, and Black-and-Gray Morality galore.
  • The LEGO Ninjago Movie: Jackie plays the sensei Master Wu, and narrator Mr. Liu, in LEGO's third theatrical movie. He also helped choreograph the fight scenes, which his martial arts team acted out as reference for the animators.
    • Prior to this movie's premiere, Jackie voiced Wu in The Master, a short that played before Storks.note 
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem: Jackie voices Master Splinter.

Video games starring Jackie Chan include

Tropes applicable to him:

  • Acquainted with Emergency Services: No insurance agency on the planet will cover him or his stunt team, who had, for the longest time, insisted on performing all of his own acrobatic stunts in his movies. As such, Jackie Chan promised to take care of stunts performers injured on his films from his own pocket, for the rest of their lives.
  • Action Girl: Most of the women in his movies tend to not be typical Damsel in Distress characters. Even if not as crazy as he is, they tend to throw a hard punch or save his butt when necessary. Although Jackie admitted to being intimidated by Michelle Yeoh, worried that she might outshine him in the martial arts and stunts.
    • Averted in Operation Condor, where the women are so dumb and helpless you think you've stumbled into a 1940s film.
    • Averted during a big chase scene in Project A, where he ends up doubling back a couple of times during the chase, because the girl with him at the time becomes The Load. This forces him into a bit of trickery to protect her, knowing there was no way she could keep up with him.
    • Not only averted in Super Cop but the girlfriend also accidentally blew his cover. He was Mistaken for Cheating by his girlfriend, but she eventually realized that he's in an undercover mission. Unfortunately, when she shared this with her friend, she's overheard by The Dragon.
    • Armour of God features four amazonian women as the Final Boss, and boy howdy do they spend a good chunk of time kicking the crap out of Jackie (as in literally kicking, that's their primary move, and they do it in Combat Stilettos).
  • Action Survivor: A common theme with characters he plays, despite their competency in improvisational combat situations.
  • Apologetic Attacker: He tends to play characters who would like to avoid violence as much as possible. One interesting thing to notice about that same stepladder sequence from First Strike is that Jackie keeps attempting to calm his opponents down when they're not attacking.context
  • Appropriated Appelation: His Stage Name is an example of this. As he explained in a post-credits Q&A for Jackie Chan Adventures, his co-workers in Australia gave him the name "Jack", which he later changed to "Jackie" as he got better at English. And the rest is history.
  • Asian Speekee Engrish: As mentioned under "Japanese Ranguage" below, Chan goes through this, which is justified as as English is not his first language (and he's also multi-lingual, besides English and his native Cantonese). It sometimes pops up during the Hilarious Outtakes of his films or in interviews.
  • Badass Biker/ Badass Driver: One lesser-known aspect of his stuntwork are his car- and bike-based stunts, some of which involve driving into crowds and buildings while bystanders scramble to get out of the way.
  • Badass Family: His mother was a legendary gambler and opium smuggler. His father was a Nationalist spy. They met when he arrested her.
  • Bash Brothers: In his early films, whenever Jackie co-starred with his "Three Brothers", either Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, or both, expect them to team up and kick ass.
  • Batman Gambit: Jackie once challenged Benny 'The Jet' Urquidez to a fight on the set of Wheels on Meals. Benny, being a legitimate kickboxing champion who beat people up for real for a living, was very skeptical about this, since Jackie was just a performer, not a proper fighter. Word of this fight got around to the crew and they started taking bets on either men, but Jackie kept putting it off even though the hype was at an all time high. It was only at the end of the shoot that Jackie declined the fight, but by then he had gotten his crew motivated. It also played into Benny and Jackie's competitive natures, which was reflected in their fight scenes (which is widely regarded as the best fight ever choreographed in film history).
  • Beware the Nice Ones: His characters tend to be compassionate people who are capable of kicking ass (and destroying property) when properly pushed. Most of his characters can be summed up as "I don't want trouble!", which he is likely to say before and after he's beaten his opponents into an unconscious heap.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: In relation to the trope above, his characters tend to be unassuming due to being comically shy, cowardly, clumsy or otherwise awkward, but again, are more than capable of beating a room full of opponents. Jackie's inspirations were the silent stars of the 1920s, like Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, who were literal clowns.
  • Body Horror: Some of the injuries Chan's sustained over his career would've made anyone quit the business entirely, or at the very least stop stunts. Armor of God had him botch a jump so hard that his body was severely wounded and he's had to have a plug in his skull ever since, and that's just one of many, with scars he's had to cover up or make due with gathering up every so often. There's a reason why people consider him one of, if not the biggest Determinator of the movie industry, and why he finally had to retire from doing stunts in his 60's.
  • Book Dumb: Describes himself as this in his autobiography, because he didn't apply himself in grade school and spent a good portion of his youth in the Chinese Opera school. He laments that it means he's not as good with technology like computers that could have really helped his career.
  • Bruce Lee Clone: Started out as this in his early roles. Hilariously enough, he points out that in his old movie posters, the words "The Next Bruce Lee" are written above his name in much bigger fonts. Later averted, as New Fist of Fury bombed spectacularly, allowing Jackie to step out of Bruce's shadow and become his own man.
  • Bully Hunter: In the films where Jackie portrays a regular guy (who knows kungfu), you can bet that he gets dragged into the main conflict because a bunch of hooligans were roughing up his friends/neighborhood/some strangers, and he decided to break up the fight.
  • …But I Play One on TV: Has repeatedly said that while he portrays an impossibly skilled martial artist in his films, he's a filmmaker and stuntman, not a professional fighter. He does have a couple street fights in his resume back when he was younger, however, among them one in which, according to his inteview on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, he fought off a gang of bikers along with his brothers and only ended up sorely worried that he might have killed somebody.
  • Butt-Monkey: Exploited. Jackie's not afraid to get hurt in amusing ways on the silver screen for the sake of comedy.
  • Catchphrase: Less him and more his characters; more often than not, his characters in his action films will always say "I don't want trouble" or "Mou da" in Cantonese for "Don't fight/Please don't fight". This in turn is usually followed by a fight scene when his adversaries decide to make trouble for him. It's reversed in Rush Hour where he gives the line after delivering a beatdown he was forced to give in self-defense.
  • Celebrity Toons: Jackie Chan Adventures. Jackie himself only worked on it as a producer, but the show itself is considered to be quite strong on its own merits.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Jackie may not like to fight, but if you get him into one, he will use everything and anything to beat you. And we're not just talking about weapons either. He'll poke you in the eye, bite you, punch you in the balls, grease himself up so he's harder to grapple, grab your fancy earring and yank you around like a disobedient donkey, or even tickle you.
    • Also, unlike many similar martial-arts stars, many of his films will feature him running away when outnumbered or when the opportunity arises.
  • The Comically Serious: Invoked and averted; Jackie brought up this trope as part of the reason why he went into the action-comedy genre, because 1) in his early days, he was touted as "the next Bruce Lee", so he needed to step out of his shadow, and 2) being serious all the time would make fights look boring, so he would make his fights look like slapstick comedy by making funny faces and doing outlandish stunts, while still keeping the badassery.
  • Confusion Fu: His fighting style emphasizes fluidity and adaptability over rigid form and will shift between specific forms of combat depending on the moment and environment. The average Jackie fight scene can cycle from Boxing to Karate to Judo to just hitting opponents with whatever is around.
  • Cowardly Lion: Both on screen and in real life, by his own admission. His characters will run and avoid fighting as much as possible but will kick ass if given no alternative and he fully admits he is scared to death when doing the wild stunts his films require.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: One thing that stood out about Jackie compared to other action stars is that his characters took almost as much punishment as they dished out in fights, making it seem more like his enemies actually have a chance of beating him.
  • Dented Iron: His status as a major Determinator (see below) and all the amazing stunts coupled with the injuries that come with them, have been slowly taking a toll on his body. Although he still does his own stunts, he scaled down on some of the more spectacular displays and does whatever he attempts with much more security and safety than before. Still an amazing badass, but it takes a lot more effort to accomplish the things he would do casually when he was younger and he doesn't recover as quickly.
  • Destructive Savior: Because Chan's fighting style in movies relies heavily on Improv Fu and Improvised Weapons, he'll end up winning... after demolishing more than half of public property. It's a wonder he doesn't end up with a staggering fine afterward.
  • Determinator:
  • Dish Dash: One of the things he would use in his Improv Fu are dinner plates.
  • Does Not Like Guns: Something that sets him apart from Bruce Lee, who was a gun collector. Despite using guns in many of his American-film roles (and the fact that his characters don't have a problem with it), Jackie mentioned in a special called "My Stunts" that he thinks guns are terrible and that holding a gun does not make a person a hero.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Justified, as there were only so many Chinese Opera schools; several of his classmates are famous in their own right, like his "brothers" Sammo Hung and Yuen Biaonote .
  • Excuse Me While I Multitask: In many of his films, he's often seen doing other tasks in addition to whatever fights he's caught up in at the moment.
  • Faux Fluency: In most of his English-language movies, he plays characters that speak more fluently than he can. He does speak English fairly well, just not as naturally as some of his characters.
    • He often has to be fed his lines while shooting a scene and repeats them verbatim without thinking of the meaning, resulting in the infamous "horse" outtake from Rush Hour 3.
      [as the entire cast and crew loudly guffaws]
      Jackie: What you teaching me? Are you teaching me a bad word?
  • Fish out of Water: Going by the stuff he says, his early experience in Hollywood is like this in regards to the way they do their stunts.
    Jackie: I asked Mr. Spielberg how he put all the dinosaurs and people together and he says it's easy, just push button, button, button. Then he asks me how I can jump from building to building. I say that's even easier. Rolling, jump, cut, hospital.

    Jackie: They want to inflate this big cushion, set up wires... it takes five hour! And I'm just like "Look, let me jump between buildings, give me the money! Just give me the money, I'll do it in two minutes!"
  • Good Is Not Soft: Generally speaking, his characters are nice guys. However, when push comes to shove, he will kick your ass if he has to.
  • Good Old Ways: Downplayed. He would very much prefer to simply do his own stunts, no matter how dangerous, than to use green-screen/CGI effects. May be a holdover from early in his career when this was a necessity, as he simply couldn't afford the more advanced tricks seen in Hollywood.
  • Harpo Does Something Funny: Chan hardly ever scripted his fight scenes, preferring to show up on set and see what he can use. This makes his fight scenes famous for their interesting and engaging style — and also for being incredibly dangerous for Chan, who did his own stunts because when you improvise a fight scene, you can't take many more safety measures than "Try not to kill him."
  • Heroic RRoD: As he tells it, after completing the big pole slide in Police Story and wrapping up shooting at 6 a.m., he seemed fine and went on to shoot another film early the next morning, sleeping in the car while his colleagues drove him. When he woke up at the shooting location and tried opening the door, he found he couldn't even work his hands, not just because of his injuries, but because the terror of doing the stunt had completely drained his energy to the point he could barely stand, and he had just been kept mobile by the adrenaline rush.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: A staple of many of his films, most of them are multiple takes of stunts fights that just didn't go right. According to the man himself, this was inspired by Cannonball Run.
    • Once he started making movies for Western audiences, more traditional bloopers of Jackie flubbing his lines started to make the cut. Jackie had to learn many of his lines phonetically and would, on occasion, be fed dialogue he didn't understand that would nevertheless crack up his co-stars. From the shoot of Rush Hour 3:
      Jackie: [about pornography preferences] I like the one with the horses! [someone off-screen cracks up] Why you teach me? Are you teach me a bad word?
  • I Have Many Names: Besides the two names listed above, he has another lesser known stage name: Yuan Lou (元楼) note . In addition, after finding out that his father had changed the family surname to "Chen" from "Fang", he took on another name: Fang Shi-long (房仕龙).
    • In South Korea, he's known as Sung Ryong.
  • Improv Fu: Jackie Chan's characters are all about this. This is because the Chan man loves action but dislikes violence so he uses his own style involving a lot of dodging and using the environment to combat his opponents.
  • Improvised Weapon: It's safe to say that Jackie would be invincible if he got into a fight at Wal*Mart or Home Depot. He truly is the poster child of this trope.
    • As an example, one fight scene in Police Story 4 manages to utilize folding tables, wooden chairs, a skiing jacket, a box of flyers, wooden poles, scaffolding, packing crates, sheets of drywall, the head of a dragon dance costume, a broom and, most infamously, a 10 foot tall stepladder. All in the span of five minutes.
  • Interesting Situation Duel: Just as important (but not as often noticed) as his skill in Improvised Weapons is Jackie's use of unique environments in his fight scenes. Jackie has fought in a playground, a wind tunnel, and a garage.
  • Invincible Hero: Notably Averted. Jackie's characters are almost always normal human beings, and he's not afraid to show fear or pain whenever he's in danger. It humanizes him and gives his characters an Everyman appeal.
  • Japanese Ranguage: Since Cantonese (a dialect of Chinese that doesn't used the rhotic r sound at all) is his first language, Jackie suffers from the same L/R confusion, although it's not extremely obvious as movies allow for retakes and the like if the dialogue doesn't come off the way it needs to. In his "My Stunts" special, however, he has no one feeding him lines, so it's much more prominent than in his films. In particular, during one part, he struggles hard (understandably) with the word "umbrella."
  • Juggle Fu: Indulged in from time to time as part of his improvisational fighting style.
  • Le Parkour: Was climbing walls and leaping off rooftops on screen long before it was cool in the west.
  • Made of Iron: Did you read yet about all the injuries he's had over his career?
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Enforced. As Jackie tells Steve Harvey, if a stunt worker reveals they're in great pain, then they're left out of a job. So they had to lie and say they're okay in order to stay employed.
  • Malingering Romance Ploy: Down played and non-romantic example; In his autobiography, Jackie discusses meeting Bruce Lee, and how during one take while filming Enter the Dragon Lee accidentally hit Chan in the head. Jackie wasn't seriously hurt, but he pretended to be more injured than he actually was so that he could hang out with Bruce, the star apologizing to him all throughout the day.
  • Martial Pacifist: Jackie's characters are almost always very skilled fighters, but they are also just as likely to plead with their opponents not to start a fight before being forced to open a can of whoop-ass. He's also this in real life as he abhors violence and admits he's only ever been in one fight and only then because his friends forced him into it.
  • Mook Chivalry: Averts the trope almost at all times. He's so fast and is able to use props and such so well that he can believably take on multiple foes at once even when they don't politely wait their turn. Also, in a nice bit of realism, his character will sometimes simply run away if he's hopelessly outnumbered.
  • Mr. Fanservice: A subdued example, given it wasn't exactly one of his marketing points and he's mostly fit rather than extensively fanservicey, but even up to his 40's you wouldn't realize he's as old as he was, and he maintains his fitness incredibly well. Rumble in the Bronx, a 1996 film where he's 42, prominently has him take off his shirt shortly into the film to leave a tanktop, only for others to start Eating the Eye Candy shortly afterwards. Of course, he occasionally crosses into Fan Disservice, given the sheer amount of comedic (or brutally beaten) situations his characters end up in.
  • Nice Guy: His characters are normally well-meaning individuals who avoid conflict if possible. Crosses over into real life as well, as he is a dedicated philanthropist and Friend to All Children.
  • No Stunt Double: He's probably the only actor who can match Tom Cruise for his adherence to this trope, being famous for doing his own stunts no matter the risk or how badly he gets injured.
  • Not So Stoic: He has said that while advertisements liked promoting him as "the man without fear", he assures that it is not the case. In the fall through the awnings from the clocktower, he wasn't able to let go of his own accord, and told the crew to keep the cameras rolling until he lost strength and could no longer hold on. When he was holding on to a helicopter while swinging over a train, it took him three days to work up the courage to do the stunt because news crews were there and the pressure was at an all time high (the stunt came about in part because Michelle Yeoh jumped a motorcycle on to the train and he didn't want to get shown up). When he did pull off the stunt, he did a Menacing Stroll for the cameras and Hilarious Outtakes.
  • Obvious Stunt Double: Jackie prefers working with a core team of mostly Asian stunt performersnote  who know his preferred styles and timing. Because of this, he'll freely swap out both stars and day performers for his stunt team during sequences without caring things like how Caucasian mooks suddenly turn into smaller, Asians swimming in much-too-large clothing for brief moments.
  • Old Master: He can manifest this trope without breaking a sweat, playing elder characters whose age hasn't even come close to slowing them down including in Karate Kid and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem.
  • Omniglot: He speaks Cantonese, Mandarin, English, French, and American Sign Language and also speaks some German, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, and Thai.
  • One-Man Army: Subverted in most of his films, or at least severely downplayed. Being a Combat Pragmatist usually faced with the very real threat that he can be overwhelmed, most of his characters play the role of a Fragile Speedster to try to evade and counter as much as he possibly can, even fleeing if necessary to avoid the worst of trouble, and overwhelming his foes with any Improvised Weapon he can manage or their own strength against them rather than raw power. While several of his films do result in him taking down entire groups singlehandedly, he often takes hits and wounds in the process that leave the character Dented Iron, or coming out of it severely exhausted. While Chan's characters (usually) come out on top, it's not with the typical badassery spirit of the trope but with complete and utter luck, reflex and the skin of his teeth to create an unlikely underdog of a hero. And that's if he wins a fight, as there's a fair number of times that his characters don't.
  • The Perfectionist: As noted elsewhere on the page, Chan will do multiple takes of even high-risk stunts in order to get them right. When the scene isn't high-risk, the take count can end up in the triple digits.
    Jackie: Whatever you do, do the best you can because the film lives forever. No, because that day it was raining and the actor didn't have time—I said, would you go to every theater to tell the audience? No.
  • Production Posse: Has his own dedicated stunt team with rotating members. They are not just familiar with other's skills and techniques, but also how to perform best for filming according to Jackie's specifications. You can often see them appear as random Mooks or stunt doubles in several of his films.
  • Promoted Fanboy: He looked up to Bruce Lee when he was just starting out as one of the Mooks for Bruce to take down. On one occasion, Jackie actually got hit by Bruce, who immediately runs over to check to see if he's okay. Jackie proceeds to exaggerate how much pain he's in to spend more time with Bruce.
  • ReCut:
    • Many of his films for Golden Harvest were recut for international audiences, generally by dubbing every character's lines into English (even those originally speaking English in the scene) and by replacing the musical score. Some films, such as the Armour of God films, had as many as 15 minutes of footage cut out for their US debut. Jackie often participated in these re-cuts by providing an English dub for his own voice.
    • Jackie was very disappointed with The Protector and recut the movie himself so that things made sense (such as changing the nude female lab assistants to fully clothed ones) and so the story was more cohesive (re-editing the fights into a Hong Kong style, removing swearing, adding a scene or two to flesh out Character Development, etc.)
  • Renaissance Man: To put into perspective the amount of skills as a filmmaker he's accumulated over his long career, 2012's Chinese Zodiac won him two Guinness World Records, one (naturally) for "Most Stunts Performed by a Living Actor", and the other for "Most Credits in One Movie": He was its lead actor, director, writer, producer, executive producer, cinematographer, art director, unit production manager, catering coordinator, stuntman, stunt coordinator, gaffer, composer, props, and singer of its theme song.
  • Rule of Funny: Many of his fight scenes revolve around this. As mentioned, Jackie himself is not a big fan of violence (and even condemns the typical "American" style of simply using blunt objects to beat someone senseless), and so he choreographs his fight scenes to be more like a comedy skit than a real brawl. This is where his brilliant use of props really shines— for example, in Project A, he's on a bicycle being chased by a bad guy, also riding a bike. He passes a store and knocks on the door while riding past, and by the time someone answers, the door being opened takes out the bad guy behind him.
  • Save the Villain: Somewhat of a staple in his movies. He usually fights without intending to kill his enemies, merely incapacitate them, so when one of them, even a mook, is clearly in danger, Jackie will take the time to save them, even if he gets hurt in the process.
  • Shout-Out: The band 36 Crazyfists were named after a movie he was involved with choreographing (although he doesn't actually appear in it).
  • Signature Move: Among his most common involve using Le Parkour to maneuver around tight spots that may include some form of Wall Running, his Improbable Weapon User talents which have him using a stepladder against a crew using staffs and sometimes trading weapons with opponents to further confuse them and add to the chaos.
    • He's also likely to hold his hands out in front of him in a gesture of surrender when he's about to get into a fight, before being forced to fight anyway.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: He admits in his autobiography that he went through a phase of this early in his career, pulling stunts like behaving badly in restaurants. He quickly wised up.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • All those stunts look cool, but they're actually really dangerous. For one, the Armour Of God film left him with a plug in his skull after a stunt gone wrong caused him to take a nasty fall into a tree.
    • To give an element of realism, some of Jackie's movies has him running away from a multi-person fight, unless when he's surrounded by objects he can use.
    • Part of the appeal and excitement to his fight scenes is that the gang of mooks he fights don't attack him one at a time, and will instead rush together. They also don't just go down with one hit, so Jackie not only needs to fight defensively, he needs to be able to outlast them as well.
    • Jackie's characters often show fear when confronted with a dangerous situation or pain when they get hit, like normal people would. Contrast this to even the likes of Bruce Lee, who struts against the bad guys like he's alpha badass and doesn't react to injuries.
    • Invoked with the issue on guns; as mentioned above, Jackie strongly believes that carrying a gun automatically does not make a person a hero.
  • Take That!: His stage name "Cheng Long" means "already a dragon" and was intended as a dig at all the Bruce Lee Clones with stage names like "becoming a dragon".
  • Talking through Technique: When Benny 'The Jet' Urquidez was cast in Wheels on Meals, Jackie hadn't learned to speak English yet, so they couldn't communicate without an interpreter. Despite this, and despite the stunt crew disapproving with how hard Benny was legitimately hitting Jackie in their fight scenes, they developed a rapport because that realistic, high-impact fighting was exactly what Jackie wanted in an effort to move away from the theatrical Hong Kong style, and they were both equals in their commitment and competitive nature. This is especially remarkable when you remember that their fight scene is considered to be one of the greatest to be ever captured on film, and neither participants could even speak to each other.
  • Technician vs. Performer: Jackie's forte was in stuntwork, whereas his brother Sammo Hung is considered to be the better fight coordinator.
  • Theatrics of Pain: Even when playing protagonists, Jackie doesn't just sell being punched but delivering punches.
  • Think of the Children!: Jackie is very conscious of his young fanbase and, as a result, doesn't like doing roles which feature sex scenes in fear that it might gross them out (Toilet Humor is okay, though).
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Reflecting his real-life views on murder (and even hurting people in general), Chan's characters rarely kill unless they absolutely have to (and even then, it's sometimes simply an accident). One scene in Rush Hour 2 sees Lee (Chan) fighting a bunch of bad guys on a boat in the middle of the ocean. When one is teetering dangerously close to the edge of the deck, Lee actually grabs him and pulls him back on the boat to keep him from falling overboard.
  • Wire Fu: Not to the point that it makes his films look supernatural, but a lot of Jackie's stunts involve wires, like making people spin when they're hit, sending them flying across a room from a kick, or simply as a safety measure when he makes a big jump. As you might have guessed, this is pretty standard stuff for professional stuntwork, because Jackie may be known for his bravery, but he's not stupid, and will take precautions where necessary.


Video Example(s):


Warehouse fight

Jackie Chan uses everything he can get his hands on, such as mops, dragon heads, drywall, and of course a stepladder.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (21 votes)

Example of:

Main / ImprovisedWeapon

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