We’ve been talking a lot about Mad Max: Fury Road for the past couple weeks, and one reason is that it is, as I argued in my review of the film, incredibly precise and clear storytelling from a visual perspective. There is virtually nothing as good as Fury Road in action films of late. But there is in older work, such as the remarkable run of ’80s and early ’90s movies from Jackie Chan.
A couple weeks ago I came across a video essay that is itself very precise about breaking down just what works in Chan’s films, and why. I’ve watched this essay many times now, and despite the fact that it isn’t “new,” having debuted late last year, I wanted to share it as an explanation of exactly how and why some visual storytelling works so well.
Whether you aspire to make films, or just want to gain a better understanding of how they work, you must watch this video.
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Even if you tried to assemble the least-likely cast for an adventure movie about Roman soldiers moving through China, you probably wouldn’t come up with the lead trio of Jackie Chan, Adrien Brody, and John Cusack. But that’s the cast for Dragon Blade, a Chinese film that has just debuted a trailer. Brody plays Roman general Tiberius , who (in the film at least) is trying to take control over the “silk road” — that is, the overland trade route from China to the West. Cusack is another Roman general, Lucius, and Chan is a Chinese officer who sides with Lucius. Check out the Dragon Blade trailer below. Read More »
“Talk has already begun about a possible fourth Rush Hour movie, further proving that their must not be a God, or at least one who cares about good movies.” This is what I wrote on the site exactly seven years ago as New Line Cinema Co-Chairman and Co-Ceo told trade reports that he’d “love” to do another “Rush Hour”. Well its been seven years and it hasn’t happened yet, which is good news. But it looks like the studio wants to make Rush Hour 4. Jackie Chan says the studio wants to make another sequel but they don’t even have a script, and until they do — he’s not interested.
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Jackie Chan isn’t yet ready to become Expendable, because he’s busy making his own big action films. One project he’s been developing is called Skiptrace, and features Jackie and Seann William Scott in a globe-trotting action buddy comedy. Now Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2, The Long Kiss Goodnight) will direct the film, with a shoot planned for later this summer. Fan Bingbing (Iron Man 3, X-Men: Days of Future Past) will also appear.
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When The Karate Kid was released in theaters in May 2010, the box office surpassed all expectations (grossing $176 million domestic and about $182 internationally). Columbia Pictures was quick to announce that the company would begin development on a sequel. Kung Fu Panda screenwriters Cyrus Voris and Ethan Reif were tapped to pen the follow-up, but development of the Karate Kid sequel has not been as quick. In 2012, Zak Penn, the writer of X-Men: The Last Stand and The Incredible Hulk, was brought on to rewrite the sequel screenplay. Two years later and Sony has hired Breck Eisner to be the Karate Kid sequel director.
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Sylvester Stallone has wanted Jackie Chan for an Expendables film, but I’m pretty happy that Chan has resisted, and made Police Story 2013 instead of The Expendables 3. OK, I haven’t actually seen this new Police Story film yet, but the first trailer was pleasantly intense, and this new look at the movie is also pretty dark and dank, with hints of great action.
In this film, which is a “spiritual sequel” to the previous five films in the series, Shen Ding directs Chan as an Interpol officer from mainland China who investigates a kidnapping case. The last film in the series, New Police Story, was effectively a reboot, with darker, meaner action than the films that preceded it. This film seems to continue that tone. Check out a new head-busting trailer below. Read More »
Among Jackie Chan‘s wonderful run of ’80s films, in that period when the writer/director/actor really became a superstar, some of the best are the first two Police Story movies. They’re brilliantly, gleefully anarchic when it comes to action, with Chan destroying shopping malls and shantytowns all for the benefit of the audience. But they can be sweet and almost naive from a character perspective, in a way that makes them feel like products of a time more removed than 25 years from now.
The third film in the series, Supercop, lost just a bit of the pleasant earnestness but more than made up for it with spectacularly huge stunts that shamed Hollywood productions of the early ’90s. The movie was huge. There were two more films, too, one of which was a reboot.
Now there’s a new film in the series — which is a spiritual sequel, sharing only Chan and the title with the first films — and it looks a lot more grim and gritty than anything else in the series. (Even more so than New Police Story, the remake from ’04.) But the stunts still look great, even if they’re not up to the standard Chan set at his peak over 20 years ago. Check out the trailer for Police Story 2013 below. Read More »
When Jackie Chan has an idea for a movie, that movie gets made. That’s certainly the case with Skiptrace, which is based on idea from the martial arts icon. Chan will star as Hong Kong detective whose daughter (X-Men: Days of Future Past‘s Fan Bingbing) gets abducted and the only person who can help is a wiseass American gambler, who’ll be played by Seann William Scott.
That’s all well and good, but the coolest news here is the director. Sam Fell, who directed Paranorman and The Tale of Despereaux, will make his live-action debut on the film. Read More »
With CZ12, Jackie Chan writes, directs and stars in a return to the Armour of God films that were part of his stellar ’80s film run. The two mid/late ’80s Armour movies were part of Chan’s international breakout, and the globe-trotting aspects of those stories, some of which were heavily indebted to the Indiana Jones movies, helped define Chan as an action star with broad appeal beyond the scope of martial arts movies.
Now there’s CZ12 (aka Chinese Zodiac), in which Chan once again reprises his Armour of God role. This time Chan seems to be going into full-on James Bond mode. A US trailer has hit for the release, and while Chan isn’t getting any younger, it’s easy to see that his ambitions haven’t been constrained when it comes to putting together action sequences. Read More »