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Jackie Chan

by Gary Cheah


Jackie Chan Kwong Sang was born in Hong Kong on April 7, 1954. His Chinese name Chan Kwong Sang means ‘Born In Hong Kong’. He was the only child of Charles and Lee-Lee Chan. Jackie was delivered after a 12 months of pregnancy. That was extra 3 months. So, his mother had to have a surgery to bring him out. At his birth, he weighed more than 12 pounds, and that was amazing! Jackie had a nickname called ‘Ah Pao’ which means a cannonball. His parents were so poor that they doesn’t have enough money to pay for the operation. A British doctor who delivered him offers them for a meager $26 – HK$1500 for Jackie, but luckily, Jackie’s parents refused. So, they ended up by borrowing money from their friends to pay up.

Jackie attended the Nah-Hwa primary school in Hong Kong. He disliked school and left after finishing Primary 1. At age of seven, his father took position as chief chef in the American Embassy in Australia. His father determined that the boy should learn some skills and sent him to the Peking Opera School. At the age of 7, his parents enrolled him into the Peking Chinese Opera School to learn dancing, singing, acrobatics, acting and martial arts. There, Jackie met Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao who became a successful actors today. Their master was Yu-Jim Yuen. He himself has a background as a talented performer. He is very strict and believed every hard work will have their pay off. Later, he adopted Yuen Lo (Jackie) as his godson.

During the school days, Jackie and his friends had to train everyday from morning till night. Jackie had mentioned it was the hardest period of his life. They will need to study and work 19 hours a day. Jackie and his friends would be punished and beaten up if they didn’t fulfill their practice or fail to achieve the standards. After days of practice, they would performed in a troupe called ‘The Seven Fortunes’. They were given a stage name as Yuen Cu (Sammo), Yuen Biao, Yuen Lo (Jackie), Yuen Wah, Yuen Kuei (Corey), Yuen Mo, Yuen Choi and Yuen Tak. Among of them, Sammo Hung was the big brother of the group. They often performed in public performances at the then Laiyuen Amusement Park and other venues.

As time changes, the Peking Opera School was declining. Their master started to loan ‘The Seven Fortunes’ out as stuntmen to film company. Jackie worked as a stuntmen or the Shaw Brothers Film Company. He performed many dangerous stunts for the company and soon got noticed. Later, Jackie met Sammo who have signed contract to the Golden Harvest. Sammo introduced Jackie to Golden Harvest and soon he performed some stunts for the famous Bruce Lee in the Fist Of Fury and Enter The Dragon. Later, Jackie met Willie Chan who invited him to be a leading actor in a new film under Lo Wei’s company. Lo Wei wanted to model Jackie as a replacement to Bruce Lee. This is when Jackie is given his stage name “Sing Lung” which means ‘becoming the dragon”. In the 1976, Jackie filmed the new Fist Of Fury, hoping to imitated Bruce Lee. Unfortunately, the style didn’t suit him.

Besides Fist Of Fury, Jackie also starred in Shaolin Wooden Men, Killer Meteor and The Magnificent Bodyguard. It was not a great success as the box office showed no improvement and the new model of Bruce Lee didn’t work. Jackie tried to break into the Hollywood when he starred in Battle Creek Brawl with Kristine de Bell and Jose Ferrer. But, it ended up with a disappointing results. Later, he played a small role in Cannonball Run along with a huge cast of American celebrities. It was a big hit in US but the Americans doesn’t noticed him much. In 1978, Jackie was loaned to Sensonal Films which is owned by Ng See Yuen. Jackie acted in a kung fu comedy Half A Loaf Of Kung Fu and Snakes in the Eagle’s Shadow. Jackie established his own acting style and starred in The Drunken Master which is a great success and made him popular. Later, Jackie joined Golden Harvest company and Willie Chan became his agent. There, Jackie directed his own The Young Master in 1980. After that, many other successful films followed. The popular ones was the Police Story series which earned him the Best Actor award in the Hong Kong Film Award.


He also cooperated with his ‘brother’, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao and Yuen Wah in many movies including Project A, My Lucky Star, Dragons Forever, Heart Of The Dragon and Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star. All of them achieved great success and Jackie was among the superstar in Hong Kong film industry.Following the success in the 80s, Jackie continued his film making career and starred in many movies in the 90s. He directed most of his movies which include The Thunderbolt, Armour Of God, Who Am I, Island Of Fire, Twin Dragons and etc.

In the mid 90s, Jackie again tried to break into Hollywood with his films, Rumble In The Bronx (1995) and Mr.Nice Guy (1997). It was a great success as the Americans are aware of him and more people starts to know him. Jackie had also starred in his famous Police Story series with Police Story IV : First Strike which also a big hit in US. It seems that after the success of Rumble In The Bronx and First Strike in the US market, Jackie again been given an opportunities to starts his next step higher on US film industry. It came 1998, Jackie starred in Rush Hour and this time it was a huge success following the high box office gross.

In 2000, Jackie was in another US movie Shanghai Noon starring with Owen Wilson and Lucy Liu. It is another steps for Jackie to his aim higher on the Hollywood. Back to HK, Jackie released his HK$20 million movie, The Accidental Spy for the Asian market and hopefully for the US market too. It was a record of the highest budgeted film in Hong Kong. At this stage, Jackie Chan has proven himself in Hollywood market with the release of The Medallion, Around The World in 80 Days, The Tuxedo, Shanghai Knights and Rush Hour 2. In 2004, Jackie is back at his roots with New Police Story, directed by Benny Chan. His upcoming blockbluster, The Myth will hit cinemas in the end of 2005. Jackie Chan is one truly International Superstar with his vision, passion and unlimited dedication to the Hong Kong and world movie industry.

The End.

Buy Jackie Chan’s movies at  YesAsia

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