Best of the Best
The Legend of Drunken Master ("Jui Kuen II")
The Prisoner ("Huo Shao Dao")
I plan to see:
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Once Upon A Time In China
Ranking Jackie Chan Movies
1. The Prisoner
3. Legend of Drunken Master
4. Rumble in the Bronx
5. Rush Hour
6. Shanghai Noon
7. Rush Hour II
8. The Accidental Spy
9. Operation Condor
10. Project A
11. Twin Dragons
Ranking The Rest
1. Once Upon A Time In China
2. The One
3. Kiss of the Dragon
4. Mortal Kombat
Jackie is my favorite actor. He flawlessly melds comedy and action, with a little bit of romance thrown in.
Gorgeous (Bor lei jun)
A Romantic Action Comedy. Highly recommended -- one of my favorite movies. It follows the story of a young provincial woman, Ah Bu (Shu Qi), who ends up falling for Jackie's character in the Big City. Yes, she's a drama queen. Sweet, funny, and simple, with enough action thrown in to mix things up. Great date movie.
You may have to hunt around to find this movie in the US. Blockbuster does carry it at
some locations -- I recommend watching in Cantonese with subtitles -- Qi Shu's petulant voice is essential to the character and to the interplay between her and Jackie Chan.
You can also catch Shu in the new movie "The Transporter", starring opposite Jason Statham.
"Cool Hand Luke" in China. Well, there are similarities, including one particularly intriguing chain-gang scene. Also stars Sammo Hung (who you might know from the TV series "Martial Law", also starring Arsenio Hall) and Tony Leung. Fairly decent story line: undercover agents in prison root out corruption. The fight scenes are varied and interesting and at times humorous, particularly Sammo's kitchen sequence. Very violent, dark movie, but well done overall. Highly recommended.
Operation Condor (Feiying Gaiwak)
Very disappointing. Billed as a Bond-type movie, never comes close. I'm scared to watch Operation Condor II. Poor supporting cast, lack of "Bond girl" types.
Legend of Drunken Master
Vintage Jackie Chan. Don't let the title fool you -- this is no "Kung Pow -- Enter the Fist". This has some serious Kung Fu, good character development, good humor, tolerable plot, plus beautifully understated romance. Jackie Chan is Wong Fei-hung, son of a local martial arts teacher, who disapproves of Fei-hung's use of the "drunken boxing" technique, which Fei-hung uses to battle 'the bad guys'. Fei-hung is young (early 20s) and impetuous and much of the drama follows from his relationship with his father, played by Lung Ti. Also stars Anita Mui ("The Enforcer"). Highly recommended. Again, it is best watched in the original Cantonese, but I don't think this will suffer TOO much if watched in English: the acting is excellent and does not depend on dialogue to communicate everything. However, by the same token, you can watch it with subtitles and not worry about missing a few. (Edit: user comments on IMDB.com indicate the English dubbing is destructive to the movie.)
Enjoyable comedy. This is an Eastern Western, and a good one at that. One of Jackie's American films, it co-stars Owen Wilson as a laid-back wise-cracking cowboy in the Old West and the enticing Lucy Liu as Chinese Princess Pei Pei (pronounced Pay Pay). Jackie Chan is a Chinese Imperial Guardsman sent to America to rescue the kidnapped Princess. This had the potential to be incredibly corny, but instead it's quite funny and the plot is engrossing, although the whole Indian sidebar doesn't seem to be very well thought-out. Owen Wilson has the potential to get annoying quickly, but I was pleasantly surprised that he was funny without being 'too much'. Lucy Liu is of course Awesome, really fits her role well, and has some good fight scenes of her own in a very substantial part. Otherwise the fight scenes were good but nothing out of the ordinary, except for a few novelty Western props. Recommended, especially for Lucy Liu fans.
The Accidental Spy
Jackie Chan nude! That's not exactly what I look for in a movie, but that's what you get, an extended fight/flight scene with Jackie buttocks on full and frequent display. Yup.
Okay, moving on, the beginning is hilarious, the segway into the main plot is preposterous (Jackie starts as a salesman and then starts doing spy things -- thus "The Accidental Spy"), and the rest is rather serious but features some of the best drama in any Jackie Chan movie, mainly due to the entanglements related to the lovely Vivian Hsu. It's mysterious, touching, and, of course, action-packed. Recommended. Eric Tsang (also in Once Upon A Time In China, Twin Dragons) has the best (though brief) scenes as private investigator Many Liu.
Co-starring: Maggie Cheung, Maria Li Chi
The DVD version I rented had no Cantonese or Mandarin options, only English dubbing, but at least the dubbing was done well. Jackie Chan plays streetwise Boomer and conductor/pianist John Ma, identical twins separated at birth. (Get it, Twin Dragons?) Mistaken identity and girl-swapping runs rampant, fueling most of the movie. Okay overall, Maggie Cheung is hot. The fight scenes are nothing special.
Jackie Chan's Project A
Jackie Chan is a naval officer called Dragon fighting pirates in old Hong Kong. Period Piece. The version I saw was dubbed, with mixed results. There are many typical Jackie Chan jokes, and they do work well . . . but you would have to be a fan to appreciate this less than polished package. There's lots of swashbuckling fun, including an old-fashioned bar brawl, service rivalry, and good cop/ bad cop. Sammo Hung has a limited, non-humorous role.
Kiss of the Dragon
Starring: Jet Li & Bridget Fonda
Nice performance from Jet Li, who as a Chinese detective in France has a perfect excuse to use English sparingly. He manages a great performance, balancing action & character, despite the lack of dialogue. Bridget Fonda, as an American-born hooker and mother in Paris, is on the verge of annoying, and has no action scene. Overall the film was Mixed, although Jet Li is cool, smooth, an Asian James Bond, if you will, complete with Chinese 'gadgets'. One big plus is that you get to root against the French, who are the bad guys in the movie -- a rare treat!
Once Upon a Time in China
Starring: Jet Li & Rosamund Kwan & Co.
Epic featuring the legendary character Wong Fei Hung, played by Jet Li, who stands up against the evil imperialists and the corrupt Chinese who cooperate with the imperialist Westerners. So I guess you could say there are some spiffy Chinese nationalist anti-foreign themes -- good Commie propoganda, and also consistent with the current 'unification' propoganda coming out of China today.
The plot is a strong current with many eddies; each character is presented with his own conflict; he generally must choose to be on the side of the West or the East. Rosamund Kwan is pretty and the characters are well-acted and complex, and mostly well-defined. Recommended, with spot-on kung fu for the kung fu enthusiast, but without some of the blatantly unbelievable stuff in Iron Monkey and Crouching Tiger. Also classic photography for the camera enthusiast.
I tried the dubbed version of the DVD but it gives Jet Li a voice very unlike his real voice, and just so unlike his character that I couldn't even handle listening to it. Luckily the soundtrack is offered in two languages: Mandarin and Cantonese! The subtitles are unusually difficult to follow because of the sophistication of the script, but I made do somehow, and besides, the images, action and body language, are very powerful and communicative aside from the words.
Reviews Coming Soon: Rush Hour I & II, Rumble in the Bronx, Iron Monkey, Replacement Killers, The One.