Chan, Jackie

Chan, Jackie
(né Chen Gangsheng; a.k.a. Cheng Long)
b. 7 April 1954, Hong Kong
Film actor, director, screenwriter, producer, stunt coordinator, pop singer
Jackie Chan appeared in his first motion picture in 1962 at the age of seven, while still a student at Hong Kong’s China Drama Academy. There he practised Peking-opera jing (warrior) roles (see Xiqu role types) and martial arts alongside classmates Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao. Through 1977, he appeared in several films as one of the actors groomed to replace the late Bruce Lee (Li Xiaolong, 1940–73), to whom Chan has been contrasted ever since his breakthrough successes of 1978 through 1983.
These included Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow (Shexing diaoshou), Drunken Master (Zuiquan) and Project A (A jihua). Jackie Chan’s kungfu comedies of the 1980s and early 1990s feature inventive action choreography, showcase the star’s acrobatic skill and physical daring (not least in outtakes), and establish Chan’s screen persona as the indefatigable, likeable underdog. Bruce Lee was threatening and sexy; Jackie Chan is neither. Chan’s films, including his police dramas and globe-trekking adventures, are entertaining, well-crafted, formulaic and solidly middle-class in taste and values. Chan was a pan-Asian film star by the release of Young Master (Shidi chuma) in 1980, but did not succeed in North America until Rumble in the Bronx (1996) and Rush Hour (1998). Jackie Chan typifies transnational Chinese cinema in an era of globalization in that his Hollywood triumph required the sacrifice of some of what marked his early films as culturally and aesthetically unique to Hong Kong.
Cheung, Mabel (dir.) (2003). Traces of the Dragon [documentary on the life and family of Jackie Chan].

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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