I try to keep a list of movies that I want to see. It is filled with serious movies and fun movies.
One movie that is on my list is the new “Karate Kid” starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan. Chan also has a movie that just came to the DVD market called “The Spy Next Door.”
During my life as a movie reviewer, one of the biggest surprises for me was how much I had come to love his movies and his style of martial arts. These were smooth fights that added elements of comedy as well as the use of everyday items. You can see the influence of Chan’s movie heroes, 1920s film stars Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd. I laughed and cried and was always amazed.
After a while I became immune to his charm and wondered if his skill or risks were slowing down. He did turn 50 in 2004 and surely he was going to slow down, right?
Chan works to keep his movies interesting beyond the out-takes at the end of the flick. If he never works with Chris Tucker ever again, I will be happy although I am sure Tucker will miss the money.
If you are planning to have a Jackie Chan Film Festival, make sure to do it at the house of the friend with the biggest TV. You are going to want to be overwhelmed by all of the action and every side house kick.
Next, try to get at least one film made in Hong Kong. These movies were made without insurance and very cheaply BUT they have some of Chan’s best work as a martial artist.
The most accessible of these is Legend of the Drunken Master in which Chan plays the son of a doctor who feels shame by Chan’s style of martial arts and worries it will lead to a life of drunkenness.
Watch this movie for the wonderful interplay, the great moments of tossed around household items. Then there is the final fight sequence in a factory over hot coals. It is great.
Grab Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights with Owen Wilson to see how Jackie mixes with the Butterscotch Stallion in their misadventures trying to save beautiful women who might be just as strong as Jackie. Throw in Rush Hour if you must, although I hate Chris Tucker’s antic and prefer to miss it.
To lighten up the mood, find the animated Jackie Chan shows as well as Kung Fu Panda. Chan’s appearance in the latter is small but the movie owes everything to his style of martial arts.
All I know is this weekend the Bowmans are going to watch The Spy Next Door and fall in love with Jackie just a little bit more.
Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.
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