First Strike

Jackie Chan,s latest film is regarded by his associates, friends and admirers (including Stallone and Tarantino) potentially as his biggest breakthrough yet into the American market. Rumble in the Bronx and Super Cop have already increased his American following. Now that he has an American agent, an attractive deal with New Line Cinema and lots of possible sequels bursting onto the horizon, this little guy with the antics of a clown and the agility of an acrobat will be whizzing forward at even higher speed. No wonder either, since he practically single-handedly managed to create world wide interest in what is now referred to as Hong Kong filmmaking. After two decades of work in the industry, Chan has become Asia's leading filmmaker with a following of fan clubs around the world. He has a likeable go-getter quality coupled with amazing physical skills and a whimsical sense of humor. When Jackie Chan says he does his own stunts, he really means it, and it is his insistence on doing dangerous scenes himself that creates an onscreen electricity. Two of his major comedic influences, on the other hand, have been Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd and this is reflected clearly at certain moments.

This fourth part of his Police Story series has an arsenal that, besides guns and knives, includes cars, ladders, tables, brooms, stilts, and sharks. In the story, Chan portrays a Hong Kong police officer who has to retrieve a stolen Ukrainian nuclear warhead. Keeping the good guys sorted out from the bad guys keeps him on his toes (literally) as he travels the world. For the viewer, it's something like watching a movie-screen-sized video game without having any controls. The outtakes at the end of the film show the kind of fun atmosphere that must be constantly present on location during production. These are a kind of trademark to end the film with Chan himself singing in the background. When all is said and done, it's all meant in good fun.

Quentin Tarantino says, "He is one of the best filmmakers the world has ever known. He is one of the greatest physical comedians since sound came into films ... If I could be any actor, I would have the life Jackie Chan has." Entrepreneurial in spirit and not one to miss an opportunity, Chan also has his own casting and modelling agency ("Jackie's Angels") as well as the "Jackie Chan Stuntmen's Association." His philanthropic side is not found wanting either, as he has also founded the "Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation" in 1987 funding projects ranging from hospitals to scholarships and has also built a facility in San Francisco for Alzheimer's patients. Sounds like a really nice guy. No wonder he has a smile on his face.

© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett