Jackie Chan

Gina Marchetti

in Cinema and Media Studies

ISBN: 9780199791286
Published online October 2011 | | DOI:
Jackie Chan

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Many popular books and fan guides on Jackie Chan (b. 1954) exist; however, most of the film-studies scholarship on Chan dates from the period in which he enjoyed the most visibility on American screens. Although a major star in Asia who had previously made some films in Hollywood, Chan only achieved widespread recognition in the United States in the mid-1990s. When New Line Cinema picked up Rumble in the Bronx (1995), reedited and rescored it, and released it in 1996, it opened the way for a wider appreciation of Chan’s martial artistry and stunt work among mainstream American audiences. In addition to continuing to make films in Asia, Chan began to work on American features, including the Rush Hour series (1998, 2001, 2007), Shanghai Noon (2000), Shanghai Knights (2003), and The Karate Kid (2010), among other films. Born in 1954 in Hong Kong, and trained as a child at a Peking Opera school, Chan helped to revitalize the Hong Kong kung fu genre after the death of Bruce Lee by injecting it with a heavier dose of humor. As a major star of the “kung fu comedy,” Chan developed a screen persona that emphasized his vulnerability, mischievousness, youthful vigor, flexibility, and general amiability. Off-screen, he cultivated a reputation for imaginative and dangerous stunt work that often resulted in injuries, which he incorporated into the outtakes in his films. Most of the scholarship on Chan deals with his star image and importance to the history of Hong Kong cinema. His screen persona has been examined primarily in connection to questions of ethnicity, race, and masculinity. Scholars have also analyzed Chan as a public figure and “brand name” in relation to Hong Kong’s image as a “global” city. Other studies look at Chan in terms of postmodern hybridity, globalization, the kung fu comedy, and the development of the action genre internationally. Research on Chan’s career parallels scholarly interest in Hong Kong cinema more generally, with a growth spurt around the time of the territory’s change in sovereignty from British colony to Special Administrative Region (SAR) under Chinese (PRC) jurisdiction in 1997.

Article.  11133 words. 

Subjects: Media Studies ; Film ; Radio ; Television

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