“Don’t tell me about the plot and the dialogue. Don’t dwell on the acting. The whole point is Jackie Chan – and, like Astaire and Rogers, he does what he does better than anybody. There is a physical confidence, a grace, an elegance to the way he moves. There is humor to the choreography of the fights (which are never too gruesome). He’s having fun. If we allow ourselves to get in the right frame of mind, so are we.”

– Roger Ebert

Late last week, the news hit the internet that legendary action star, Jackie Chan, was retiring from doing action films citing age as a major factor. And at this point, who could blame him? At fifty six, Jackie has probably broken more bones than you even knew existed. That doesn’t mean we won’t have more of Jackie’s unique action/comedy style coming (there’s at least one more action film, maybe two, that are in the midst of being released) but I thought I’d share my top 6 Jackie Chan action flicks so you can do a mini-marathon at home. Please note, this is my own personal top six and many of you might disagree with it, feel free to post your choices in the comments below.

Oh, and not a single Rush Hour is on this list. Suck on that Ratner!

6) Rumble in the Bronx (1995)

I’ve only ever seen the American dub (from New Line, who cut out roughly 17 minutes of the film) of this film but I love it anyways. It was the first time many North Americans (myself included) got to see the mastery of Chan’s work on the big screen. Rumble in the Bronx is pretty typical in terms of story. Jackie is a nice guy who tries to help out and ends up running a foul of a street gang and then diamond smugglers. And there’s an action sequence with a hovercraft that is fixed up with duct tape.

5) Armor of God (1986)

Jackie Chan’s films from time to time straddle various genres and this time it’s the adventure film.  A great action comedy with the added humor of Jackie vs Women in a fight. Also notable for being the film where Chan fell from a huge height and went into a coma.

4) Drunken Master 2 (aka Legend of the Drunken Master) (1994)

Here’s where Asian film gets a little weird. This isn’t a direct story line sequel to the original Drunken Master despite the fact Chan plays the same character. Very similar story to the first but very different action sequences.  Once again it’s the comedy and action that make this a must watch.

3) Police Story 4 (aka Jackie Chan’s First Strike) (1996)

Due to the North American viewers reaction, First Strike was part of a slew of re-dubbed Chan films we got over the course of two years and while this is definitely not the best of Chan’s cannon (a Jackie Chan Bond film of sorts), I absolutely love the ladder fight scene. It’s some of my favorite stunt work of all time.

2) Armour of God II: Operation Condor (aka Operation Condor II: The Armour of the Gods) (1991)

Still using Chan’s trademark humor and action scenes, Armour of God II is what you would expect out of a Jackie Chan Indiana Jones movie. Seriously, Jackie is hunting for lost Nazi gold in this one and it is awesome. One of the bigger budget Chan films, I love the machine gun bunker.

1) Drunken Master (1978)

It’s your basic martial arts flick about a reluctant student who realizes that his master is awesome and follows his path to ass-kickingness. What makes this film different, or at least for the time period, is the huge amount of comedy involved. For me, this is the first true Jackie Chan film. Drunken Master is the first film to where Chan’s comedy and action sensibilities blend together perfectly. The action scenes (put together by director Yuen Woo-ping) are amazingly well done especially when you put it up against the other action films of the time period.

There you have it. Now go and celebrate the works of action master Jackie Chan.

And remember, if you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!

 

Jackie looking all badass on the 1978 poster for Drunken Master

 

Last Week’s Column: Fear And Loathing in Geekdom #20: 10 Comedies you MUST SEE!