Everyone agrees that martial arts films are truly a genre unlike any other. Nothing is more exciting than watching the hero execute a perfectly timed high kick, knocking out his formidable enemy in the neverending fight between good and evil.
Hand to hand exchange, flying kicks and somersaults; no one does it better than Jackie Chan, one of the biggest martial arts superstars in history. Born Chan Kong-sang on April 7,1954, in Hong Kong, China, Jackie Chan was once considered to be the heir apparent to Bruce Lee. Today, he has become one of the biggest action movie stars in Asia and even the U.S.
Today, Evolve Daily shares 7 Reasons Why Jackie Chan Is One Of The Biggest Martial Arts Superstars in History:
1) He does all of his own stunts.
Convinced that his audience should get the best movie-going experience, Jackie Chan insists on doing all his stunts himself. In fact, Chan admits that he’s broken every bone in his body at least once while performing stunts.
While filming Armor of God in 1986, Chan reportedly fractured his skull after falling more than 40 feet while attempting to jump from the top of a building and land on a tree branch below. Today, Chan holds the Guinness World Record for “Most Stunts By a Living Actor”, which emphasizes “no insurance company will underwrite Chan’s productions in which he performs all his own stunts.”
2) He created his own sub-genre of martial arts movies.
Once slated to be the next Bruce Lee, most of the kung-fu movies that Chan starred in during the beginning of his career were unsuccessful. Determined to make his mark in the film industry, Chan broke out of the Bruce Lee mold and created his own persona. By blending martial arts, death-defying gymnastic stunts, and comedy, Chan created a new sub-genre called wu da pian.
3) He has over 100 credits to his name.
At the tender age of 5, Jackie Chan started appearing in small film roles. Thanks to his training at the Peking Opera School, Chan grew to be well-versed in martial arts and acrobatics. He became part of the Seven Little Fortunes, a performance group of the school’s best students and went on to star in some movies with them.
In the 70’s, Chan found his niche in comedic kung-fu and went on to make Drunken Master, which helped propel him to success. While in the 80’s, he ventured into the international film scene and later on went back to Hong Kong where he would go on to break box office records with his elaborate stunt action sequences.
Although Chan would try to rekindle the flame with American audiences in the late 90’s to the 00’s, he never quite had the artistic freedom he had in his past films, which caused him to feel frustrated. In 2011, Chan released 1911, which was his 100th movie.
4) He has complete artistic freedom in most of his movies.
In the late 70’s, Jackie Chan had begun to take more responsibility in his films and was given complete freedom over his stunt work. He also started co-directing films and eventually went on to direct, write and produce films.
A trained singer, Chan has sung many of the theme songs of his films himself.
5) He is trained in both martial arts and acrobatics.
At the Peking Opera School, Jackie Chan trained martial arts and acrobatics for a decade. When he entered the film industry, he learned Hapkido and eventually attained his black belt. He is also known to have trained in other martial art forms such as Karate, Judo, TaeKwonDo, and Jeet Kun Do.
6) He has won over 28 film awards for various achievements.
Jackie Chan received numerous awards for his acting and stunt work. These awards include the Innovator Award from the American Choreography Awards, a lifetime achievement award from the Taurus World Stunt Awards and the Asia Pacific Film Festival, Best Actor from the Golden Horse Film Festival, Golden Rooster, Hollywood Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Awards, among many others.
7) He is a well-known philanthropist.
Jackie Chan is a true philanthropist — he reportedly pledged to donate half of his assets to charity upon his death. He is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and has campaigned for conservation and against animal abuse. Chan has also helped promote the disaster relief efforts for natural disasters such as the floods in mainland China and the tsunami in 2004.
Although it may seem that Chan’s films are rife with violence, he says that he prefers cartoonish action to graphic violence. He believes in sending a positive message in his films, promoting peace and community compared to your typical action movie.
There’s no doubt that the influence Jackie Chan has as a martial arts superstar has truly made an impact not only on the movie industry, but on his fans as well. To true Jackie Chan aficionados, he is a man that has truly changed the landscape of martial arts films, proving that it is possible to promote peace and laughter in an action movie.
So tell us, which is the last Jackie Chan movie you’ve seen?