Jackie Chan is a legend in the world of stunts and action but it was an extra special ingredient in 1978 that really kick-started his meteoric rise to fame – comedy!
In 1976, Lo Wei, director of Bruce Lee’s Asian box office record-breaker “Fist of Fury”, tried to launch Jackie’s leading-man career as “the new Bruce Lee”. Whilst Jackie’s martial arts skills were never in doubt, audiences never really took to him as a serious replacement for the iconic Bruce Lee.
However, in 1978 Jackie was “loaned out” out to Ng See Yuen’s Seasonal Films, where he was allowed more creative freedom and came up with the first smash hit “kung fu comedy”, “Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow”. The film and its follow up, “Drunken Master”, were hugely successful turning Jackie Chan into Hong Kong’s biggest star.
As a young cinemagoer, Jackie Chan adored the comedy and physicality of performers such as Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and dancer Gene Kelly. His fusion of their slapstick stunt style, timing and rhythm with his Chinese opera-trained martial arts and Hong Kong action skills has led to arguably some of the finest cinematic physical comedy since the silent era movies.
In a career spanning way over a hundred films, we take a look at 10 of Jackie Chan’s laugh-out-loud funniest scenes! in descending order…
“Who Am I?” (1988) – Clog Fight
Filmed in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Jackie demonstrates the power of a Dutch wooden shoe! The reaction of the stuntmen really sell their pain to the audience and Jackie’s grinning “Feels good?” punchline is priceless. The outtakes reveal Jackie having to make multiple attempts at flicking up and kicking a clog at a bad guy until he was happy with the accuracy.
“Armour of God 2: Operation Condor” (1991) – Hotel Fight
In a pay-off from an earlier action sequence, Jackie displays his cheeky charm when actress Carol Cheng has her towel whipped off! It kick-starts a frenetic Three Stooges-style fight and chase through a North African hotel!
“Rush Hour” (1998) – Bar Fight
Jackie Chan finally hit global box office gold alongside co star Chris Tucker with the buddy-cop comedy “Rush Hour”. Playing on cultural stereotypes and misunderstandings, the bar fight scene was a great way to introduce the uninitiated to Jackie’s comic timing and flamboyant physical skills!
“First Strike” (1996) – Hotel Room Escape
Filmed on Australia’s beautiful Gold Coast, Jackie has a memorable chase through his hotel suite. As the henchman (played by the giant, former wrestler Nathan Jones) says, “This guy can move like a monkey”!
“Project A Part 2” (1987) – Cuffed
Jackie ups the ante for this chase sequence by chaining himself to his co star David Lam Wai. The outtakes at the end of the movie reveal plenty of the near-misses and painful pratfalls that took place to create this classic scene.
“The Myth” (2005) – Glue Factory
Arguably the best set-piece in the film, Jackie Chan takes the location of a glue factory and makes it an integral part of the action and comedy. He still maintains the sense of peril as everyone moves towards a deadly, chomping guillotine! The scene also features Bollywood star Mallika Sherawat.
“Drunken Master” (1978) – Jackie Chan vs The Stick King
The introduction of Jackie’s brand of comedy into “Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow” had been hugely successful with audiences. Sticking to the same formula for the follow up, the comedy is perhaps even more successful in “Drunken Master”. In the fight with the ‘Stick King’, we see the pay-off from Jackie’s earlier torturous training scenes and his first full-blown use of Drunken Boxing, including a rather unorthodox wind breaking technique!
“The Accidental Spy” (2001) – A Clothes Call
If Jackie Chan is being chased in a movie he always adds that extra dimension to complicate matters. On this occasion, it’s that he has to escape without any clothes from a Turkish bath, through the busy market streets of Istanbul! Jackie ingeniously combines hiding his modesty with fighting off his chasers. This clip has been one of the most popular on the Kung Fu Kingdom Facebook page with nearly 5 million views and counting!
“Rumble in the Bronx” (1995) – Try this! Or this!
The best way to watch any of Jackie Chan’s comedy films is with an audience. I was lucky enough to catch “Rumble in the Bronx” at the cinema during its limited UK release. Without a doubt, this scene with Richard Faraci delivered the biggest laugh from the packed audience!
And in at #1 is…
“Project A” (1983) – Bicycle Chase
The Project A films, possibly more than any of Jackie’s others, pay the most direct homage to his heroes, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd. The bike chase is a masterclass in the art of slapstick timing and was cited by film critic and Hong Kong film buff Jonathan Ross as the funniest scene he has ever watched. The “saddle moment” will make you cry with laughter and wince in empathetic pain at the same time!
With over 150 films to choose from there are so many moments we could have picked. The broad humour of “Rob-B-Hood” with Jackie Chan and Louis Koo’s hilarious attempts to look after a baby; the Chinese version of the Three Stooges from “Dragons Forever” featuring Jackie’s opera brothers Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao; the Western-style comedy of the Shanghai Noon and Knights movies that have made them worldwide box office hits, or more recent films such as “Chinese Zodiac”.
So, for now, that wraps up our Top 10 funniest Jackie Chan movie scenes! Which Jackie Chan moment makes you laugh the most? Let us know and stay tuned for more exciting, carefully selected Top 10’s coming up in 2017…Team KFK wishes all our readers and visitors a very Happy New Year!