When working in Mainland China, whether starring in films and commercials, or as a director, I have encountered many familiar faces among members of the crew; they are Hong Kong industry professionals who, with the typical ability of Hong Kong people to survive in different environments, have been well integrated into various China-Hong Kong co-productions. In recent years many film investments and productions have shifted north to take advantage of the growing opportunities on the Mainland, and how to maintain the distinct character of Hong Kong cinema without letting it become submerged within the shifting currents of this emerging market is a topic well worth considering. Within the past year, there had been Hong Kong films that have done well commercially based solely on the local market and that of South-East Asia. On the other hand, some of the films that have taken the top spots in box office receipts in China last year were produced with the participation of creative personnel from Hong Kong, which testified to the optimism, hard work and determination of Hong Kong people. This positive outlook is one of the most valuable qualities of Hong Kong cinema, and is an energy that Hong Kong cinema could rely upon to face any challenge.
Jackie Chan Kong-sang was born in 1954 in Hong Kong. At age seven, he entered the opera training school ran by Peking Opera master Yu Jim-yuen. With the performance name Yuen Lou, Chan performed as one of the Seven Little Fortunes, an acrobatics and opera troupe that appeared in films and amusement parks. He started working as a stuntman in his teens, becoming martial arts specialists by 15.
In 1972, he signed with actor-director-producer Chu Mu, changing his stage name to Chan Yuen-lung, appearing and serving as action choreographer in The Heroine (1973). He also got his first starring turn, in Cub Tiger from Kwantung (1974). However, both films were box-office disappointments. Chan suffered yet another setback when he was picked by director Lo Wei to be a successor to Bruce Lee, casting him in over a dozen action films that failed to arouse audience enthusiasm.
It wasn’t until producer-director Ng See-yuen came along that Chan’s career began to take off. Ng cast him in the kung-fu comedies Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow (1978) and Drunken Master (1978), showcasing Chan’s comic talents alongside his action skills, turning him into an instant star. Shortly after, Chan directed his first film, Fearless Hyena (1979).
Chan was recruited in 1979 by Golden Harvest, where he directed and starred in The Young Master (1980) and Dragon Lord (1982), which took the genre of kung-fu comedies to its height. Chan then directed himself in a series of immensely popular films-Project A (1983), Police Story (1985) and Armour of God (1987) - which became not only profitable franchises but also enduring representatives of Hong Kong films in global cinema. It was largely during the filming of these three films that his reputation as a fearless performer was established.
After several unsuccessful attempts to break into Hollywood in the 1980s, Chan gained an increasingly widespread cult reputation in the West in the 1990s, which he parlayed into a breakthrough in mainstream America, starring in Rush Hour (1998). He had since become a box-office draw, appearing in a series of Hollywood productions.
Despite his success in the West, Chan had not abandoned his roots, continuing to work in Hong Kong and, after the opening of the Mainland Chinese market, directing the China-Hong Kong co-productions The 1911 Revolution (2011, with Zhang Li) and CZ 12 (2012).
Chan’s work as a director had always been overshadowed by his on-screen performance, especially the death-defying stunts that had become legend. He is in fact an accomplished director, able to strike a fine balance between visual style, dramatic pacing and acrobatic action.
In a highly fruitful career, Chan had received numerous awards for his individual achievements as well as his stunt team. He had also produced many films, including Rouge (1988) and Centre Stage (1992), “art films” which had won many international awards and considered key works in Hong Kong cinema.
His latest effort as an actor is Police Story 2013, released in January, 2014.
|Year||Chinese name||English name||Directors|
||The 1911 Revolution|
||Who Am I ?||CHAN Muk Shing Benny|
||Who Am I?||CHAN Muk Shing Benny|
||Armour of God II : Operation Condor|
||Mr. Canton and Lady Rose|
||Police Story Part 2|
||Armour of God||TSANG Chi Wai Eric|
||Project A Part II|
||The Young Master|
||The Fearless Hyena|