Jackie Chan's contributions to movies cannot be replicated
Published: Mar 26, 2023 10:35 PM
Illustration: Liu Xiangya/Global Times

Illustration: Liu Xiangya/Global Times

Legendary Chinese action star Jackie Chan's latest movie Ride On is scheduled to hit theaters in China on April 7, the day of his 69th birthday. During one of his recent behind-the-scenes interview, the Hong Kong movie star talked about the sad state of action stars in films. His comments have gone viral on Chinese social media, triggering a heated discussion.

In the interview, Chan tearfully said it has been very difficult to find a second "Jackie Chan" and that he wished the film industry would once again value true action stars over just good-looking actors.

Chan has made a deep impact on the film industry both at home and abroad. He is the first Chinese actor to be given an honorary Academy Award for his "extraordinary achievements" in film. Chan's charm, athleticism and boundless charisma have captured audiences for more than four decades. Yet despite his immense success, Chan has expressed a desire to find a replacement for himself.

However, the industry has shifted toward digital effects and less demand for dangerous stunts, making it difficult for new generation of action stars to emerge. Meanwhile, his huge success will be difficult to reproduce as everyone is unique. 

Chan's huge success can be attributed to his solid martial arts foundation, as well as his tireless dedication to his craft. He is a master in various aspects of film production, from writing and directing to acting and choreography. His action scenes are renowned for not using stunt doubles and his professional dedication and fearless adventurous actions.

His unparalleled achievement also coincided with the golden age of Hong Kong movies during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Iconic martial arts stars such as Chan and Sammo Hung produced a large number of excellent action movies every year, which were enjoyed by audiences nationwide. Drunken Master, Police Story, Armour of God… It can be said that Chan was the ambassador of Chinese action movies during that era. 

He later went on to have huge international success with hits like Rumble in the Bronx, animated film Kung Fu Panda and the Rush Hour franchise.

However, the industry has evolved, and Chinese audiences now enjoy a broader range of film genres, including science fiction. With the soaring development of technology, special effects are commonplace in film making. 

It is easier to use digital effects than taking the risk to doing stunts that may see an actor get or their stunt double get hurt while filming.

"In Hong Kong, Jackie Chan, Jet Li and I cannot buy insurance," said famous action star Michelle Yeoh. 

This is because their work is extremely dangerous and getting injured is almost a daily occurrence.

Nevertheless, martial arts remain an important part of Chinese films as it has deep roots in traditional Chinese culture and there are still a group of die-hard fans who like reading martial arts novels and dramas. 

Chan's latest movie Ride On is as an action dramedy, in which Chan pays homage to old-school stunt men. 

The film tells the story of a washed-up stuntman (Chan) who, along with his stunt horse, becomes an overnight social media sensation when their real-life fight with debt collectors goes viral. 

The film is also set for release in North America, the UK and many other countries. 

This indicates that while the demand for action stars may have diminished, there is still a place for martial arts and action films in the global market. 

As an iconic figure in the film industry, Chan has left an indelible mark on the world of action movies. 

While it may be difficult to find another actor like him, the legacy he has left behind will continue to inspire future generations of action stars and filmmakers.