Besides the emotional and inspiring story of how Jackie Chan went from a teenage stuntman in Bruce Lee films to become a star on his own, his films available on YouTube are alone to make anyone a fan.
Unlike the Messi-Ronaldo, Rihanna-Beyonce, and Wizkid-Davido rivalries, you can be a Jet Li fan too. Since Chan began starring in films as far back as the late 1970s, it is understandable if you are not a fan.
To understand why people are devoted to this slapstick acrobatic comic actor, you will need to watch ten of his best films. They are selected to show his range and ability to turn every role into an entertaining display.
Caveat: Avoid his 2011 Chinese historical drama film “1911”, which has been described as a propaganda vehicle, as it does not do his fame justice.
Here are the ten must-see Jackie Chan films available on YouTube:
10. Project A
This is a 1983 Hong Kong action comedy film series that blends Chinese martial arts with bawdy comedy and spectacular stunts. Chan worked with Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao, two actors he knew from his opera school days. With this film, he was able to establish himself as a foremost entertainer.
Before the release of “Project A”, martial arts films have been viewed as too serious and many viewers only watched it for the fight scenes as many other action films. Comedy-action genres were just getting early acceptance at the time with Jackie Chan at the forefront for films like “Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow” and “Drunken Master”. He got most of his international fans after the film’s success, although he was still only popular in Asia at the time.
9. Drunken Master
“Drunken Master” is iconic because it was the second time that directors gave Jackie Chan a platform to be himself after several attempts to model him into a new Bruce Lee. He was just coming off the set of “Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow”; which was the first attempt to bring the new comedic-king-fu concept.
The film was a comedic relief through-and-through with innovative fighting scenes and improvised stunts as well that will come to characterise most of Chan’s films in future.
8. Armour of God II: Operation Condor
Moving away from the traditional martial arts duel-style fighting, “Armour of God II: Operation Condor” took Jackie Chan from an Asian star to a global superstar. The film got released in North America, the UK and later in the US.
He played the character of an adventurer fighting a former Nazi to retrieve gold from an abandoned German base deep in the Sahara Desert. Chan masterfully maintains his comedic style of fighting while facing off against heavily armed oppositions in believable choreographed fight scenes.
7. Rush Hour
While this is another action comedy film, it is one of the actor’s most famous role in an American film. He starred alongside actor and stand-up comedian Chris Tucker, and they delivered one of the most cohesive performances by two main characters in modern history.
“Rush Hour” grossed a total of $244 million in the box office and proved to be one of Chan’s most commercially successful films. But apart from its earnings, it is an entertaining film that you will never get tired of watching, and it has two sequels to keep you going for as long as you have.
6. Police Story
Another series that Jackie Chan stars in remarkably is the “Police Story” series. It shows another part of the actor that is not as popular; the ‘serious’ part. In the crime-action series about Chan as a cop and the first instalment is voted by both fans and the actor himself as his best film ever.
According to his autobiography “I Am Jackie Chan”, Chan says he performs his best action sequences and stunts on the film. It is a memorable film that proves his ability to deliver just what his role requires of him.
5. Around the world in 80 days
There is no getting enough of Chan’s comic acting and in 2004, you would think people were already tired of his goofiness but that was not the case. The adventure film is based on Jules Verne’s 1873 novel of the same name and a remake of an earlier version released in 1956.
That is where the resemblance ends as the 2004 “Around the world in 80 days” film is nothing like the original materials. If you are not burdened by the weight of expectation accuracy, then, you will have no problem enjoying this film.
4. Mr Nice Guy
“Mr Nice Guy” marks the milestone as the first Jackie Chan film to be scripted and shot in English. It delivers on humour and innovative stunt performances employing props. It is another rib-cracking film that improves Chan’s legendary status and also appeals to English-speaking audiences.
3. Dragon Blade
This film features here as one of the actor’s most recent releases that employ high-tech equipment. It is also another of Chan’s films that deviate from the action-comedy line.
While it is not aimed at making the audience laugh, it does not fail to deliver on impressive action sequences. The fight scenes in this 2015 film will cover up the fact that this film was heavily criticised for its historical bias and inconsistency.
Another recent Jackie Chan film that will appeal to people who are used to clearer film versions. “The Foreigner” is a rare kind of Chan film as it is an action thriller. It also makes this list to counter the narrative that the actor is a one-trick pony.
While he had found fame through comic acting, he does not fail when it is time to deliver on other genres. Also, the film features Pierce Brosnan in a villain role.
1. Who Am I?
This 1998 has been ranked as one of the most loved Jackie Chan’s films competing with Police Story. It is also likely his most popular action-comedy performances and his second ever film to be scripted and shot in English.
If you want to know why he is well-loved, this is the film you should start with. His crazy stunts in this film (done by himself) will convince you that he is up there with the greatest of them all.