I grew up watching Jackie Chan movies, and I remember them fondly. So I was pleased when someone asked me to write a list of the best Jackie Chan movies. He’s led an interesting life, growing up in the Chinese circus before finding his way into the Hong-Kong film industry. In his early days, he worked with huge Chinese stars like Bruce Lee and Sammo Hung. With his marital arts skill from many years training, and his acrobatic skill from circus life – it wasn’t long before he was the main star in king fu films. He broke America in the early 1990s when producers brought him into the English-speaking market, and he’s been known worldwide ever since. Here are the ten best Jackie Chan movies.
Who Am I? (1998)
In this movie, Jackie Chan plays an agent in a secret company of international special forces. After one mission in particular, he falls out of a helicopter. This saved his life as those who stayed inside all died when it crashed. But the fall left him with Amnesia. So he wakes up in the middle of nowhere, and is taken care of for a while by a local African tribe. He’s left questioning who he actually is and where he came from. So then he goes to the Netherlands for some reason. It turns out there are a number of people who wish to prevent him from learning of his true origin.
This is such a bizarre movie. It tells the story of a professional fighter in constant competition with his rival. His rival is an extremely wealthy martial artist who regularly meets with him in unarmed combat for some reason. I’ve seen the movie several times now and I’m still not sure why it’s called Gorgeous. Some of the dialogue-heavy scenes were taken out for the English version of the movie, so maybe that explains it. A young woman from Taiwan falls in love with Jackie Chan’s character. She traveled to China when she found a message in a bottle, and wanted to find the man who wrote it. But the man who wrote it was gay, so she gave up on him and just stayed in China for a while.
The Myth (2005)
The Myth was an interesting experiment for Jackie Chan. It really isn’t like his other movies as it lacks comedy and fast-paced action. It’s more of an epic. Jackie Chan plays a Chinese archaeologist who suddenly receives memories from his past life as a general in the Imperial Chinese army. He decides to investigate his former carnation as a general, which turns his attention to a meteorite that fell to earth long ago. Also there’s an ancient Korean princess involved, which is always a god sign. It wasn’t a well received movie, but I think that’s just because Jackie Chan fans are more use to action comedies.
The Forbidden Kingdom (2008)
This is more like the type of movie you’d expect to see Jackie Chan star in. And also, Jet Li plays the other main role. So it’s like Kung Fu film nerd heaven. The film tells the story of an American teenager who one day finds himself in ancient China. While there, he meets two kung fu masters who agree to train him if he agrees to help them free the monkey King. The monkey king was a powerful warrior king who was trapped by magic. The fight scenes are known to be especially well choreographed, and the whole movie is like a combination of the best elements from classic martial arts movies.
Battle Creek Brawl (1980)
This one’s on the list just because it’s interesting to see. It was Jackie Chan’s failed first attempt to break America. Set in Chicago, Jackie Chan’s character is unable to repay his debt to the mafia. To earn the repayment money he begins fighting in an underground fighting tournament. His prize for winning the tournament would be a small fortune and the safe return of his brother’s girlfriend, who they had kidnapped until that point. The movie was a complete flop, and Jackie Chan had to wait another 15 years before becoming a star in America. Btw his final opponent is known as Billy Kiss, because he would kiss people after beating them up. It’s not usually considered one of the best Jackie Chan movies because of it’s failure at the box office.
Police Story (1985)
Police Story is a movie most people think they have seen, but really only some of them have. I think it’s just because the name is so generic. Jackie Chan plays an honest police officer in Hong Kong. But he is framed for the murder of another police officer, and must fight against his own in order to prove himself innocent. It eventually turns out he was set up by a group of criminal gang bosses. To clear his name, he must bring those bosses to justice. Jackie Chan remembers this as his best movie. It was the first in a series of Police Story films.
Armour Of God (1986)
Armour of God is almost like the Chinese version of Indiana Jones. It tells the story of a Chinese man who travels to Europe on a strange quest. It’s a quest to find the Armour of God, a mysterious artifact protected by European monks. He goes on this quest to save the life of a friend of his. His friend was kidnapped by a deadly cult, who demand he find them the Armour in return for her safety. So he travels to Yugoslavia, a place that doesn’t even exist any more. While there he locates the monastery said to house the legendary Armour. Jackie Chan broke his skull during filming when he fell out of a tree.
Drunken Master (1978)
Drunken Master was an important part of Jackie Chan’s journey, as it was among the first of his comedy/martial arts movies. His unique comedic elements within such movies created the genre, in which he would see most of his success. This film tells the story of a young man who takes to studying drunken style kung fu so that he may defeat his deadly enemy. His training is brutal, but it pays off as drunken style is so unknown that his enemy has no answer to it. It’s one of the few Chinese kung fu films to be set around the turn of the century. Most are set long before then.
Rush Hour (1998)
Probably Jackie Chan’s most well known movie, Rush Hour did almost 250 million at the box office. While in California, the daughter of a Chinese politician is kidnapped and held for ransom. An elite Chinese police officer is sent to assist the LAPD in saving the girl. The Chinese officer is assigned an American officer, who has been instructed to keep him out of danger. The movie was so popular that it became a trilogy, and a forth installment has been announced.
Rumble In The Bronx (1995)
As I mentioned earlier, it was only with this movie that Jackie Chan broke into the American film market. It tells the story of a Chinese police officer, who moves to New York. While there, he falls in love with a local woman. He also falls intro trouble with biker gangs, and soon finds himself deep in the underground world of gang wars. Apart from being among the best Jackie Chan movies, it was also one of Hong Kong’s most successful ever.