Jackie Chan is a name we all know and value when we hear it. The Chinese Buster Keaton, the comedic kung fu funny man, these are really impressive out the ass descriptions I’d give him. His pop culture recognition is undeniable and all the more impressive after being imported from Chinese cinema and fame to the States where he was and is a stand out every time he shows up in a film. While his films aren’t always Drunken Master level quality, the man brings his all to the stunts and humor he is recognized for across the globe and this is why he should be recognized at the Oscars like he is.
His career has spanned decades and has transcended time and film since he has been here. He was a stunt double for the iconic Bruce Lee in his early days and went a different route in the martial arts films to follow. Adding comedic elements to insane stunt work that landed him what is likely a world record for amount of broken bones, it was not for nothing. His stunts are about as crazy as he is while reflecting a daredevil we don’t realize is as real as they come. Chan’s abnormal dedication to his craft is on the level of any method actor in film history and that includes the people like Daniel Day-Lewis, Marlon Brando, or Robert De Niro. The closest to him we have in America is Tom Cruise, which isn’t bad company, but Chan has no real competition otherwise.
With his charismatic approach to a craft dominated by wire-fu and terrible dubbing, Chan was able to fuse the best of kung-fu and Asian cinema with the best parts of American film making i.e. Buster Keaton and company to create a signature slapstick (sometimes literally) approach to his films. Sure, his actual acting ability may not ever win him a non-honorary Oscar, but it doesn’t have to because he is exactly what he wants to be and we love him for it. A man who demands excellence and brings in his stunt work and classic comedy style makes him a figure the world will never forget and it’s a pleasure to know that he is going to be honored with an Oscar like some greats before him such as Walt Disney, Charlie Chaplin, and many others, Chan will now sit on a pantheon of actors and probably fall of it and break his leg, but that’s just Jackie.
Categories: FILM ESSAYS