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Six months ago, I was in the position of having only ever seen a couple of Jackie Chan movies, most notably Drunken Master, which I absolutely loved when I saw it fifteen years ago. I was aware that he had done a lot more but for whatever reason, I just never got round to any of them. Speaking more broadly, I hadn't seen that many kung fu movies full stop despite enjoying everything I had come across over the years. That's all changed.

 

The Eureka and 88 Films releases of the 70s and 80s Jackie Chan films (and others) have opened up all the doors and windows to a big wide world of incredible entertainment. It's an overused phrase but never more appropriate: They do not make them like this any more. The humour is pretty dated and corny but it's so sincerely daft that it almost always lands. It's so good to watch something funny that has not one iota of snark or cynicism. The soundtracks are also incredibly playful and goofy and almost beyond parody. Check this one out from Project A, the soundtrack to a fight on bicycles down some hutong back alley:

 

 

Obviously, I'm not primarily watching them for the humour or soundtracks, it's the fights and stunts and action sequences. Wow. I love all the different styles and balletic versatility. I don't know whether much of this would be effective kung fu but it is makes for a phenomenal spectacle. I understand that Jackie is very well known for using whatever everyday objects can be incorporated into the choreography, whether a couple of cucumbers or a wooden stool.

 

My favourite might be when he gets his arsed kicked by Yuen Biao's sister in The Young Master with her 'swirling skirt style' (my terminology). Later on, when facing two particularly tough bad guys, he uses a big piece of red fabric tucked into his waistband to replicate the swirling skirt, only he also incorporates some matador style techniques and poses. Just a magnificent action sequence. In terms of pure stunts, pfff, where to begin? Hard to look past the ending (and beginning!) to Police Story for utter carnage and lack of regard for physical safety.

 

Anyone got any faves or been picking up some of these Eureka/88 releases? 

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Project A Part 2 is my favourite, it's just perfect. Most of the stunts are quite low-key, but they all look like they really fucking hurt quite a lot.

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I seem to remember being bonkers about Armour of God, but I can’t remember a thing about it. I think Channel 4 put it on telly one Christmas like 25 years ago...

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3 minutes ago, Benny said:

Drunken Master 2 is probably the best. Technique, stunts, and eye watering punishment in the service of his craft.

 

Yeah, I did love that one. It's tied up in rights hell so the version available on Blu-ray over here and in the States is cut and has quite crap picture quality. I ended up ordering the Japanese/HK version online which came via snail mail. That's the one to go for if anyone is wondering. Looks like this:

 

208816-B_l.gif

 

The fights are spectacular, and I love the range of styles again, but it is a tiny bit serious for my tastes. The ending is a bit gruelling with the industrial ethanol but I'm possibly being swayed by the uncut 'comedy' ending where he is suffering from brain damage! Amazing film, though. 

 

8 minutes ago, PK said:

Project A Part 2 is my favourite, it's just perfect. Most of the stunts are quite low-key, but they all look like they really fucking hurt quite a lot.

 

Still not watched it but got it with the first film in a two-fer on Eureka. Glad to hear it's one to look forward to. 

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I’m a huge fan of Wheels on Meals, even though it’s objectively hard to justify as a good film. It was the first Jackie Chan film I’d ever seen I think, and was my gateway to spending Saturday afternoons sat around with pals watching martial arts films on VHS, drinking heavily, eating crisps, and boggling at the insane stunts and inappropriate humour - which was a huge part of my life in my teens and twenties. 
 

Wheels on Meals has probably my favourite stunt ever in a film, which is Yuen Biao jumping out of a first floor window and landing directly on his coccyx. It’s an absolutely incredible piece of work, given that it’s ludicrously dangerous, looks mind-bendingly painful, and is essentially done for the sake of a very quick joke. Genuinely incredible that they thought it was worth it, but it never fails to amaze me. The film as a whole is right on the knife edge between being terrible and being brilliant - on the one hand, there’s the fight between Jackie and Benny the Jet, on the other there’s the mental institution scene and Sammo Hung’s wet-look perm. But I do love it a lot.

 

It’s great that Jackie (and other action superstars of that era) is being reappraised a bit, and his films are getting proper releases. I bought the Eureka Police Story 1 & 2 compilation the other day, and it’s lovingly put together. There’s something slightly odd about watching an eighties Jackie Chan film on a crystal-clear, colour-corrected blu-ray, with Chinese dialogue and subtitles, but the Police Story disk even has an 84 minute cut with classic dubbed dialogue, presented in VHS crap-o-vision, if you want to recreate the effect of watching it back in the day. 

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I used to love all these as a kid. A friend of mine had loads on VHS - Project A, Armour of God, Police Story plus loads of the classic style like Drunken Master, Snake in the Eagle's Shadow, that sort of thing.

 

When I've tried to watch them more recently, the terrible humour really puts me off. Are there any without that stuff?

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6 minutes ago, Camel said:

I used to love all these as a kid. A friend of mine had loads on VHS - Project A, Armour of God, Police Story plus loads of the classic style like Drunken Master, Snake in the Eagle's Shadow, that sort of thing.

 

When I've tried to watch them more recently, the terrible humour really puts me off. Are there any without that stuff?


Have you seen Legend of Fong Sai Yuk? It’s Jet Li, but always seems to me to have a ‘same but serious’ vibe as Jackie Chan stuff:

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Camel said:

I used to love all these as a kid. A friend of mine had loads on VHS - Project A, Armour of God, Police Story plus loads of the classic style like Drunken Master, Snake in the Eagle's Shadow, that sort of thing.

 

When I've tried to watch them more recently, the terrible humour really puts me off. Are there any without that stuff?

 

As I say, Drunken Master 2 is lighter on the corny humour and still has amazing action. To add to what ZOK suggested, I'd also say that Once Upon A Time In China is another superb film (series) with Jet Li. More grounded than Jackie, great period setting with spectacular fights and plenty of atmosphere. There's a little dumb humour with Jacky Cheung's character but it's pretty rare. Even more grounded, Donnie Yen stars in the excellent Iron Monkey which is another Eureka Blu-ray release. More of a straight kung fu film but the fights are pretty intense and creative. 

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Agree, but I feel compelled to point out that the ending of Drunken Master 2 is probably the absolute zenith of terrible, inappropriate humour in Jackie Chan films. 

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Thanks both. I meant Jackie Chan films specifically. I'm not averse to the genre as a whole.  Really love 36th Chamber of Shao-Lin and The One-Armed Swordsman. I'll check out DM2 and Zok's Jet Li recommendation.

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1 minute ago, K said:

Agree, but I feel compelled to point out that the ending of Drunken Master 2 is probably the absolute zenith of terrible, inappropriate humour in Jackie Chan films. 

 

Ah.

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@K @Camel

 

It's true, but it's probably cut from the version you'll find, anyway. Was deemed a bit tasteless for the West.

 

Another more straight up Channer is Miracles. It's a kind of Italian mobster thing transposed to Hong Kong. It's a sort-of remake of a Frank Capra movie from the 60s. Less kung fu action than most JC but some great sequences. A good story for the most part, some great characters and it's also beautifully shot. 

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One of the main dangers of turning on the olde worlde broadcast tv here is that there is always a Jackie Chan film on, and I absolutely will watch the whole thing given the opportunity.

 

 

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I could be overrating it in my memory, as I haven't rewatched it in nearly 20 years, but I've always thought of Who Am I? as one of his best because it strikes a good balance between great hand-to-hand fight scenes (the rooftop fight!), and outrageous stunts (running down the steep building roof!).

 

I think of most of his other films as leaning one way or the other: Police Story and Project A towards the spectacular stunts; the Drunken Master films almost entirely on fight scenes.

 

Then there's stuff like Gorgeous, which doesn't really fit in because it's not an action movie for most of its running time - but concludes with one of the best fight scenes that Jackie Chan ever filmed. :wub:

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My post in the blog thread from when I watched Project A:

 

 

The main things that stuck out to me were the unpredictable genre-swapping of its storyline (HK Coast Guard/police rivalry -> army boot camp -> police investigation -> pirate movie! -> spy movie), and the stunts. Not just the famous fall from the clock face, but the smaller-scale stuff like this:

 

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Project A 2 was always my favourite with Police Story and Police Story 3 as runners up. I had Police Story 3 taped off Channel 4 and I spent years looking for a un cut subbed release but I guess licensening reasons put paid to that.

 

The finale of Police Story 3 cutting between Chan and Michelle Yeoh in an ever escalating series of insane stunts ending with Yeoh's dirt bike jump on to a moving train has made every action movie I've seen since look tame in comparison. For the sheer inventiveness, choreography and physical comedy though Project A 2 is hard to beat.

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3 hours ago, Camel said:

You can access a lot of 88 Films' releases on Amazon Prime but annoyingly they all seem to be dubbed versions.

 

Really? I've bought quite a few 88 releases from Amazon and they all have the original audio.

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I love Jackie Chan. Bought all his movies on vcd or dvd when I went to Hong Kong when you could only get the really big ones in the UK but may get the blu rays just because.

 

The end of that bike stunt when he flips it up at the end of the alley might even be yuen biao according to the commentary for project a.

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Despite them not being the highlights of his career, for many years I've held a soft spot for Jackie's English language films pre-Rush Hour. The aforementioned Who Am I? but also Mr Nice Guy and Rumble In The Bronx. The stunt work and choreography is as stellar as ever, but there's something about the gentler, goofy comedy of them that has stuck with me. I think it also adds a new layer to Chan's character archetype in that he plays a fish out of a water magnificently, and seeing him outside of the Hong Kong setting brought a lot of additional creativity to the action. The Clogs from Who Am I?, building site escapades in Mr Nice Guy and the outrageous hovercraft finale in Rumble In The Bronx. Something about that era man, it's my fave.

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I am a huge huge Jackie Chan/Martial Arts film fan and have been since I was a nipper. So much so that my username when I first joined the forum was "wong fei hung" because a copy of Drunken Master was sitting on my desk when I signed up.

 

My Dad used to rent martial arts films from the local video rental place for me and my brother so we saw, and loved, a lot of Shaw Brothers type films, but when I saw my first Jackie Chan film (Dragon Lord I think it was) you could see that he was something special. My own kids are just getting to the age where they enjoy action movies and I can't wait to sit them down for their first Jackie Chan experience ( I'm thinking Battle Creek Brawl).

 

Like @Cheyenne I've got a real soft spot for the 90s films like Rumble in The Bronx, and Mr Nice Guy, simply because of the outrageous stunt work.

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ok I thought you were somehow streaming non-Prime versions. Glad we've cleared that up :D

 

The covers on Prime are different to the 88 releases so maybe these versions have nothing to do with 88 Films.

 

edit: @Monkeyboy obvs

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