With the untimely death of Bruce Lee in 1973, a massive void was left in the martial arts/action film world. And monkey-flipping his way right into that void was Jackie Chan – an actor with explosive kung-fu skills like Lee, but with 1978’s Snake In The Eagle’s Shadow, also showing off the type of big-screen comic sensibilities last displayed by Buster Keaton. He has entertained and wowed audiences since then with his own genre, the kung-fu comedy, featuring some of the most daring stunts and most elaborate action sequences ever captured on film.
And after 40 years in the business, Chan has decided to finally hang up the kung-fu slippers, but not before one final hurrah.
I first discovered Chan by complete accident. Instead of putting the correct VHS tape (you youngsters might have to wiki that one) into the cover of 7 Grand Masters, an inept video store clerk actually gave me Chan’s Armour of God. It was my first taste of his special brand of kooky action, and within minutes I had become an instant life-long fanboy, quickly devouring all the backlog in his filmography and watching everything since. Yes, even those horrible ones he made in Australia.
So how fitting (at least for me), that he’s going to be calling it quits on the action genre with his long in development (he’s been writing and choreographing it for the last 7 years) 3rd and final entry in the Armour of God series, Chinese Zodiac.
While doing press rounds for the film at Cannes, Chan has revealed that the high stakes stunts that has been a signature of his career, has finally taken its toll on the (still unbelievable spry) 58-year old.
“I’ve been fighting and doing action films all my life, you’ve got to find a point to stop. With this movie I’m the director, I’m the writer, I’m the producer. So okay, I think it’s a good time to announce that it’s my last big action movie. I would still do action movies but not a big one like this.”
Speaking to The Telegraph he also added that, “the world is too violent right now. It’s a dilemma – I like action but I don’t like violence.” He indicates that he now wishes to take on more serious roles, desiring to be “an Asian Robert De Niro.” And while I don’t think he’ll be getting a call from Martin Scorsese any time soon (although that would be amazing), as anybody who’s seen his most recent turn in The Karate Kid remake can testify, he’s certainly not an acting slouch. He’s just always preferred to lead with a flurry of kicks and punches.
Just like the kicks and punches on display in this trailer for Chinese Zodiac, which sees Chan reprising his role as legendary globe-trotting treasure hunter, Asian Hawk (just roll with it, ok), as he tries to track down 12 mythical statues, carved in the forms of the animals of the Chinese Zodiac calendar. It looks to feature some crazy fight scenes, high flying stunts and even an impromptu spelling lesson. How thoughtful.
Although I am saddened by the loss of Chan to the action movie world, I am immensely pleased that he’s going out doing what’s he’s done best for 4 decades: Kicking ass and cracking jokes.
Last Updated: May 21, 2012