Bleats

Jackie Chan Is An Awful Person, Even If He Is The Greatest Action Hero Ever

There's a big difference between his onscreen and off-screen personas.

There are several strong cases to be made as to who the greatest action movie star of all time is, but there’s no denying that the frontrunner to that title is Jackie Chan.

There was just something about his fighting and action scenes that thrilled many moviegoers to no end while also somehow managing to elicit at least one genuine hearty chuckle mid-scuffle. Combine his unparalleled stuntwork with his everyman persona and a philanthropist streak that has helped millions of underprivileged children, what you get is a beloved action star who has endeared himself to me and millions around the world.

Which is why after many years of enjoying his work and seeing people fawn all over him for his recent 65th birthday, it pains me to throw a milkshake all over this martial arts duck: Jackie Chan may be the greatest action hero ever onscreen but he’s an awful human being off-screen.

For all the moral upstanding stances his movie characters hold, Jackie’s real-life views and actions leave much to be desired.

While he’s been married since 1982 and has a son, Jackie has a reputation in Asia as being something of a tail-chasing movie star who is seen with more than a few young women over the years. Now while all this might be nothing but rumours by Chinese tabloids, no amount of covering up can hide the extra-marital affair he had in 1999 with former Miss Asia Elaine Ng, which resulted in an illegitimate daughter, Etta.

Jackie ultimately confessed to the affair before defending himself by saying he “committed a fault that many men in the world commit.”

Not sure if that’s the best explanation to dish out if you’re someone who cheated on their wife, especially if you’ve (allegedly) done it on multiple occasions with many different women.

Okay, so Jackie is pretty dodgy when it comes to keeping it in his pants, but surely that’s it right? Sorry to burst your bubble but it gets even worse there.

In a recent 2015 memoir, Jackie admitted that he was a “nasty jerk” when he became a superstar and did things like acting high and mighty wherever he went. He even revealed that he drunk drove a heap of times and totaled his share of cars in the process. When photographers tried to take photos of his wreckages, he threatened to beat them all up if they did it. It all seems bit ironic when he was named China’s anti-drug ambassador in 2009 so make of that what you will.

But perhaps the most gutwrenching revelation about his personal life is how awful of a parent he is. Not only did he confess to hitting his son and being an all-around bad parent, he has not acknowledged the existence of his illegitimate daughter after all these years.

Yikes.

But look, what Jackie does in his personal life is his own thing and who are we to judge. His public views on politics though? Hoo boy, it’s like opening Pandora’s Box.

He’s a big defender of the Chinese Communist Party and often acts as its propaganda mouthpiece in criticising anyone who is anti-China. Not only are his statements quite inflammatory (making him something of a joke in the Chinese media), the logic of his comments amount to nothing more than “I’m famous so f**k you”. When you think about it, all this cuts a little close to the wannabe Combover Caligula currently sitting in the White House.

Perhaps most disturbingly, Jackie is a big supporter on suppressing people’s freedom and democratic processes, saying very Orwellian things like, “Chinese people need to be controlled, otherwise they will do whatever they want.” In short, the guy isn’t a supporter of China and its people but rather the oppressive single-party regime that’s in power and doing all it can to crush any critics.

Like I said, Pandora’s Box.

MAKE IT STOP

Getting a milkshake thrown on the supposed squeaky clean image of everyone’s favourite action star isn’t a good feeling, but it is more necessary than ever given the increasing importance on holding people accountable for their actions and words, especially those with a public profile.

So next time you watch a Jackie Chan film, just know that while he may be able to take on six baddies with a step ladder, he is also an awful human being who has cheated on his wife, beat his kid, ignored his other (illegitimate) kid, and is a Communist and fascist in all but name.

Rush Hour Is 20 Years Old, And Putting Jackie Chan And Chris Tucker Together In A Buddy Cop Film Is Still One Of The Best And Most Groundbreaking Things Hollywood Has Ever Done

And those blooper reels during the credits remain my favourite bits of comedy in a Jackie Chan film ever.

Back in the not-so distant past when I was a mere 8-year-old kid trying to figure out which movie to watch in order to pass the time, I was introduced to a little American action movie called Rush Hour. It had cops, action, and Jackie Chan, all of the things that young me absolutely loved.

Unsurprisingly, the movie absolutely rocked.

And now 20 years to the day of its initial release, Rush Hour has proved itself to be more than just a great action-comedy: it is a seminal entry into the buddy cop genre.

The 1980s and early 1990s saw the release of a number of well-received buddy cop films, such as 48 Hrs.Lethal Weapon, and Bad Boys. Sure innovation was a little hard to come by in a genre that essentially built itself on the basic premise of “two mis-matched cops solve a crime and gradually become friends” but audiences absolutely lapped it up, and Rush Hour was something of a revelation when it was released in 1998.

The movie certainly had its faults (and the less said about Brett Ratner as director the better), but it did try to do something new with certain tropes, such as the villain actually having a plausible motivation (a colonist Brit who is mad he has to give back stolen artifacts after Britain handed back sovereignty of Hong Kong to China) instead of just being “evil”.

But the real reason why Rush Hour stands the test of time two decades on is because of Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.

Chan’s star was on the rise in America prior to Rush Hour and audiences were itching for more of his crazy blend of action and comedy, so it made perfect sense for Hollywood to sign him up to do his thing in a buddy cop film.

It definitely was a smart move because Chan brought a spark of life to the genre with his martial arts and physical comedy talents. But a buddy cop movie only works if the lead is paired with someone who they really gel with, and Chris Tucker fit the bill to an absolute T.

The chemistry between was off the charts, with Chan’s rare portrayal of a straight man character being the perfect foil for Tucker’s endless stream of uncontrollable manic energy. It was also obvious as day that the pair just enjoyed working with each other and they defined bromance before JD and Turk came along.

But beyond their undeniable chemistry, Chan and Tucker were a groundbreaking non-white leading duo whom audiences have never seen in a major Hollywood movie before.

Now the pairing certainly weren’t the first non-white actors to headline a big buddy cop film. There was Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon,  Bad Boys starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, and 1989’s Collision Course starring Pat Morita and … Jay Leno. One of these is not like the rest, but you get the idea.

However, Rush Hour was the first – and still the only – time that a black cop was teamed up with an Asian cop in a high profile Hollywood action film.

While there are the usual slate of cultural misunderstanding jokes between Chan and Tucker in Rush Hour, all of them are handled in a relatively non-offensive – albeit cringy – way. In fact, Tucker’s character starts off the film as a buffoon who is ignorant of all things Asian culture and ends it on a plane to Hong Kong.

By building on the legacy of its spiritual predecessors like Lethal Weapon and by piggybacking in Jackie Chan’s then-growing fame in America, Rush Hour unintentionally Trojan horsed a diverse film into the mainstream, something that surely wasn’t part of the studio’s original plan.

At a time when the spotlight is firmly on the lack of diversity and representation in Hollywood, Rush Hour represents a moment in film history where some daring casting choices ultimately paid off and it is just as relevant in 2018 as it was in 1998.

Plus, it’s just a dumb, fun action movie that’s still great for passing the time regardless whether you’re a 10 year old child or a 28 year old man child.

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