Jackie Chan (成龙 Cheng Long), born Chan Kong-Sang (陈港生) on April 7, 1954, is, quite simply, Made of Awesome. He has hit the big time since 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 really that's the entire point of going to see any of his movies - watching dumbfounded as he does all sorts of insane tricks and stunts in jaw-dropping fight scenes. He reportedly says that he loves action, but hates violence. Rather than being bone-crunching kung fu instead he is heavily inspired by 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). Most of his films are just backdrops to amazing stunts, creative fight scenes and little wire work.
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 Jackie Chan's character fall through three awnings onto the street below? Really him. You see Chan's character roll artfully over a running circular saw was really 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 (go to YouTube and search for Jackie Chan outtakes... and prepare to be amazed!). Often involving ambulances. 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 the age of 60, 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, also in part because in the Hollywood system, insurance for the stars is a must and, as aforementioned, he has a little trouble with that.
Chan has developed a distinctive fighting style, quite comedic and usually making extensive use of props, even those at first sight most unsuited to fighting, such as a stepladder. (Seriously, if you've somehow never seen his work before, you can spend many happy and amazed hours on YouTube watching fight scenes.)
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 when you know that he originally trained for Peking Opera, which features acrobatic fight scenes. He also has his own Animated Adaptation, Jackie Chan Adventures.
In the last decade, Chan has 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.
In some parts of the global Asian community, 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 The Karate Kid (2010) remake to bear its original title, rather than the proposed 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 without the aid of computers that were second-nature to him only 5 years ago. 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 Armor of God series, will be the last "big action movie" of his career, a dignified slam-bang of a finale. All future roles will focus less on his dangerous stunt work and more on dramatic roles 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.
- 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.
- 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: 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 renown 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.
- Shinjuku Incident is his attempt to branch out into serious (and gritty!) drama.
- 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)
- 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)
- 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 of the few of his 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.
- Armour of God 1, 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 1 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 1 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".
- City Hunter: Based on the Hojo Tsukasa manga, and most famous for funny and enterprisingly well done Street Fighter 2 parody, which is usually considered to be better than the movie! Jackie personally dislikes it, though. 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.
- 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.
- 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: Surprisingly, given his well-known difficulties in speaking English, he's the voice of master Monkey! 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.
- Actor Allusion: There is a poster in his room of the Mitsubishi he drove in Cannonball Run 2.
- 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?: 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Video games starring Jackie Chan include
- Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu. Also known as Jackie Chan. - NES and TurboGrafx-16
- Jackie Chan: Stuntmaster - PlayStation
- Jackie Chan: The Kung-Fu Master - Arcade
Tropes applicable to him:
- Acquainted with Emergency Services: No insurance agency on the planet will cover him, who had, for the longest time, insisted on performing all of his own acrobatic stunts in his movies.
- Action Girl: Most of the women in his movies tend to not be typical Distressed Damsel 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.
- Apologetic Attacker: He tends to play characters who would like to avoid violence as much as possible.
- 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.
- 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.
- Beware the Nice Ones: His characters tend to be compassionate people who are capable of kicking ass (and destroying property) when properly pushed.
- 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.
- 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.
- Butt-Monkey: Jackie's not afraid to get hurt in amusing ways on the silver screen for the sake of comedy.
- Catch-Phrase: Less him and more his characters; more often than not, his characters in his action films will always say "I don't want trouble." 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.
- 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.
- 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: He's broken pretty much every bone in his body and has a hole in his head, but keeps going like it's nobody's business.
- 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 is 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 Biao.
- 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 2.As the entire cast and crew loudly guffaws
Jackie: What you teach me? You teach me dirty word?
- 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 2.
- 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."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."
"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.
- 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?
- 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:
- 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.
- This is also true for his character in Jackie Chan Adventures.
- 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.
- It Will Never Catch On:
- Lo Wei, the first director who gave Jackie a chance, actively worked to prevent him from making comedic kung fu movies and forced him to work on endless Bruceploitation films. Obviously, Jackie won that argument.
- Jackie had this attitude when it came to seeing the early Bruce Lee movies. No wire work, bare-bones fights, long cuts that show exactly what they are doing and only fighting one guy at a time. He later admitted he and his stuntman friends were actually jealous, recognizing that Lee was crafting a new age of action movies that relied on the skill of the performers and not the flurry of the visuals.
- 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.
- 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.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: Downplayed. Jackie abhors violence in real life and claims to having only been in one fight his entire life and only then because his friends dragged him into it. Most of his characters are very powerful martial artists, but they are also nice guys until they're pushed too far.
- 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.
- Not So Stoic: He has said that the advertising liked promoting him as "man without fear", but 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 one-man Power Walk for the cameras and Hilarious Outtakes.
- Older Than They Look: Would you believe he was born in 1954? The only role he shows it is Mr. Han and even then he simply looks aged up.
- Omniglot: He speaks Cantonese, Mandarin, English, and American Sign Language and also speaks some German, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, and Thai.
- 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."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."
- Reality Ensues:
- 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.
- Invoked with the issue on guns; as mentioned above, Jackie strongly believes that carrying a gun automatically does not make a person a hero.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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".
- Theatrics of Pain: Even when playing protagonists, Jackie doesn't just sell being punched but punching people.
- 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.
- Your Cheating Heart: He is married to Joan Lin but cheated on her with Elaine Ng Yi-Lei - this led to Elaine eventually give birth to Jackie's daughter Etta Ng.