in Movies

The fall of Jackie Chan

In the early nineties I was one of those few bored teenagers that were hooked on the stylish Hong Kong action movies that seem to make Hollywood action movies look pale in comparison.

Whereas Hollywood focused on big pyrotechnics and extravagant stunts laden with CGI and special effects Hong Kong had dramatic undertones often utilising specialist stunt techniques that often made the protagonists look super-human and yet, so very cool.

So why did it all go so horribly wrong, and who is to blame?

Back in the days of school I was quite the Bey Logan ( seemingly to know anything and everything about Hong Kong action (although now I dont know anything anymore) with a fascination with every film that involved hyper-kintetic kung fu fights like Police Story or John Woo classics like Hard Boiled and The Killer.

When Hong Kong was finally handed over from the British back to the Chinese, the films changed and actors such as Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Donnie Yen and Chow Yun Fat moved to Hollywood to conquer it with some being more successful than others.

As Chan et al progressed through their movies, we the movie audience suddenly realised that Hollywood executives, producers and writers were screwing us by repeating the same fish-out-of-water plot over and over again.

Chans films after the spectacular Rumble in the Bronx (bar his Hong Kong stints) have all been the same damned film often changing certain key characters or storylines no invention, innovation were expressed and often creativity was thrown out of the water for cheap jokes and badly filmed fight sequences.

For example, in the film Rush Hour any fight sequence with Chan involved often has the camera focused too much on Chans upper body, or it under cranks or over cranks for, apparently no reason. The worst one was when the director of Rush Hour thought it would be a cool idea to move from a intricate and dangerous Chan fight to a shot of Chris Tuckers face.

Admittedly Chan has expressed his own distaste of American cinematography, for example in the film Shanghai Knights (the sequel to Shanghai Noon), Chan did a faithful recreation of the one shot dance sequence from Singing in the Rain however the director used many cuts and ruined the whole effect.

So why does Chan et al keep doing the same film? Is it money, or are actors like Chan trying to remodel themselves into kid and family friendly versions of themselves?

Who knows all I know is Chans films have moved from exciting action adventure movies to boring movies with the same plot reworked a little bit or with a twist.

Although Chan has more or less moved back to Hong Kong to do more dramatic action movies like Police Story 5 and The Myth (with co-star, Mallika Sherawat), the efforts may be too little too late.

So, okay – Chan is getting old and sure, okay hes allowed to make movies opposite obviously younger female actors and sure, hes allowed to make mistakes the problem is, nobody seems to say look, we need to stop this and get back to doing one more film like we used to.

Who do I blame? Jackie? Hollywood? The Matrix? CGI? The writers? Us? Perhaps were all to blame all I know is that there isnt any more Jackie Chan movies and there will likely ever be any now its more about a McDonalised caricature of a once famous movie star, with yet another poorly conceived fish-out-water story line.