In This Article Jackie Chan

  • Introduction
  • Autobiography
  • Stardom
  • Asian Cult Cinema
  • Reception
  • The Digital Body
  • Philosophy
  • Postmodern Culture
  • Martial Arts Choreography and Performance
  • Masculinity
  • Female Costars
  • Race and African/African American Connections
  • Hong Kong Culture and Identity
  • Tourism and “Brand” Hong Kong
  • Hollywood
  • The Chinese Diaspora and American Multiculturalism
  • Globalization/Global Cinema
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Italian Sources
  • Chinese Sources

Cinema and Media Studies Jackie Chan
by
Gina Marchetti
  • LAST REVIEWED: 28 April 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 October 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199791286-0038

Introduction

Many popular books and fan guides on Jackie Chan (b. 1954) exist; however, most of the film-studies scholarship on Chan dates from the period in which he enjoyed the most visibility on American screens. Although a major star in Asia who had previously made some films in Hollywood, Chan only achieved widespread recognition in the United States in the mid-1990s. When New Line Cinema picked up Rumble in the Bronx (1995), reedited and rescored it, and released it in 1996, it opened the way for a wider appreciation of Chan’s martial artistry and stunt work among mainstream American audiences. In addition to continuing to make films in Asia, Chan began to work on American features, including the Rush Hour series (1998, 2001, 2007), Shanghai Noon (2000), Shanghai Knights (2003), and The Karate Kid (2010), among other films. Born in 1954 in Hong Kong, and trained as a child at a Peking Opera school, Chan helped to revitalize the Hong Kong kung fu genre after the death of Bruce Lee by injecting it with a heavier dose of humor. As a major star of the “kung fu comedy,” Chan developed a screen persona that emphasized his vulnerability, mischievousness, youthful vigor, flexibility, and general amiability. Off-screen, he cultivated a reputation for imaginative and dangerous stunt work that often resulted in injuries, which he incorporated into the outtakes in his films. Most of the scholarship on Chan deals with his star image and importance to the history of Hong Kong cinema. His screen persona has been examined primarily in connection to questions of ethnicity, race, and masculinity. Scholars have also analyzed Chan as a public figure and “brand name” in relation to Hong Kong’s image as a “global” city. Other studies look at Chan in terms of postmodern hybridity, globalization, the kung fu comedy, and the development of the action genre internationally. Research on Chan’s career parallels scholarly interest in Hong Kong cinema more generally, with a growth spurt around the time of the territory’s change in sovereignty from British colony to Special Administrative Region (SAR) under Chinese (PRC) jurisdiction in 1997.

Scholarly Books, Anthologies, and Reference Resources

Few scholars of Hong Kong, Chinese-language, Asian American, or Asian regional cinema fail to mention Jackie Chan. However, many only touch on him. Still, these references can be key to understanding how Chan fits into the broader dynamics of global film culture. Jackie Chan, then, often becomes an example of a trend or part of a larger argument. Scholarly reference works also include entries on Jackie Chan as a key figure in Asian film studies.

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