10 Reasons Jackie Chan Is The Greatest Stuntman Ever


A while back we published a list about the walking advertisement for broken collarbones that was Bruce Lee, and you guys loved it. So we decided to sit down and give everyone’s favorite Hong Kong hero, Jackie Chan, the same treatment. After spending weeks meditating under a waterfall while listening to ’80s rock, this is the list we came back with.

10. Jackie Chan Can Shatter Cement Blocks With an Egg in his Hand

Because almost every movie he’s starred in has shown him as a goofy, happy-go-lucky idiot who constantly finds himself being punched in the back of the head for reasons he can’t quite understand, it’s easy to forget that Jackie Chan is actually capable of punching a hole clean through a wall. In his prime, he had more muscle definition than a dictionary.

Like most self-respecting martial artists, Jackie Chan can break concrete slabs with his bare fists. Unlike most, Chan can do this while holding onto an object more synonymous with fragility than men’s egos — a raw egg. While this skill may be limited in its usefulness, don’t you think it’s just a little bit worrying to know that Chan could probably beat you to death with a baby without cracking its skull?

9. He Used to Carry Grenades


A shared trait of many of the characters Jackie Chan plays seems to be a fear of guns, which is the only explanation we can think of for why they so often resort to slapping hired thugs with ladders. But in real life, Chan has no qualms about using guns and even grenades to assure people he means business. According to an interview with Chan, early in his career the Hong Kong triads tried to bully and extort him, forcing him to flee to the United States. When he returned years later expecting the feud to have died down, the first thing that happened when he stepped off the plane was that someone tried to shoot him. So Chan took to carrying two guns and a bunch of grenades around to threaten any Triad who approached him. Presumably it was just too inconvenient to lug a ladder everywhere.

8. He Angered Buddha (With His Genitals)


No list about Jackie Chan would be complete without mentioning his high-flying, ego-withering stunts. Specifically, we’d like to talk about the one that involved him sliding down a huge electrical wire in the middle of a busy shopping mall in his breakout film, Police Story. The stunt was conducted in a actual mall at night, meaning the crew only had a limited window in which they could film. So when the time came for Chan to slide down the wire, the other stuntmen present were worried that he was ill-prepared. One stuntman gave Chan a Buddhist prayer paper for good luck, which he immediately shoved down his pants where it nestled against his junk. Buddha must not have been happy with this, because during the stunt Chan landed incorrectly and dislocated his pelvis. You know, the place where he’d just shoved the piece of paper designed to bring good fortune. Ouch.

7. He Once Played Up an Injury to Get a Hug from Bruce Lee


One of Chan’s earliest roles was as a random henchman in Enter the Dragon who has his kidney evaporated by an elbow from Bruce Lee before his neck is snapped. Years after Lee left this mortal coil, Chan revealed that during rehearsals Lee accidentally whacked him across the face with a stick. Realizing that this would be his only chance to speak to Lee one on one, Chan clutched his face in agony and writhed around like his eyes had been replaced with snakes. That prompted Lee to drop what he was doing and give Chan the greatest hug the world has ever known. Lee spent the rest of the day saluting Chan whenever they crossed paths. As you’d expect, Chan considers this the best day of his life.

6. There’s Someone Out There With His Voice


If you watched Jackie Chan Adventures as a kid or a stoned adult, you may remember that the show featured big name voice actors, including Clancy Brown, Ron Perlman, George Takei, Lucy Liu, Michael Ironside and John DiMaggio. But one person who didn’t lend their voice to the show was Jackie himself. Although Chan appeared physically in each episode in the form of a stinger in which he’d answer a question from a fan, his character was voiced by a guy called James Sie.

Sie has filled in for Jackie a lot, to the point where he’s now known as a Jackie Chan impersonator and is the go-to guy when Chan is busy. For example, Chan provided the voice of Master Monkey in both Kung-Fu Panda movies. When the show got a TV spin-off, Sie was brought in to replace him. The same thing happened for both Kung-Fu Panda video games.

As if only hiring a guy to voice Jackie Chan and ridiculously stereotypical characters like “Jimmy Woo,” “Sensai Ogun,” Wong Chu” and “Wind Dragon” wasn’t insulting enough, Sie was also the guy they called when they needed someone to provide a voice for the terrible Bruce Lee video game. Which means that somewhere out there is an executive who thinks Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan have the same voice.

5. He Once Shamed People Into Loving Sharks


Like all awesome people, Jackie Chan has a natural affinity and deep respect for any animal he couldn’t beat in a fight. As a sign of his reverence for the black belt holders of the animal kingdom, Chan has made it one of his life goals to protect some of the most critically endangered species on the planet.

One particularly species Chan has taken a shine to is sharks, and he’s a vocal opponent of hunting them for their fins. This came to a head early in Chan’s career, when he was served shark fin soup during a meeting with important Chinese dignitaries. Sticking to his guns, a disgusted Chan politely informed his hosts that he wouldn’t eat shark fin because he wasn’t a terrible person. Said dignitaries were so ashamed of looking like monsters in front of their hero that when he returned to the same restaurant a few years later, shark fin soup had been removed from the menu.

That’s not all. Chan has been an avid supporter of WildAid for decades, and has used his star power to shame people into not consuming products made from the flesh and bones of animals way cooler than they could ever hope to be.

4. He Was Forced to Appear in a Direct Sequel to a Bruce Lee Film


We’ve made quite a number of references to Bruce Lee, and far from being a result of our undying man-crush on him, this is because Chan’s and Lee’s careers are inexplicably linked. As we’ve discussed before, after Bruce Lee’s death the director of Fist of Fury spent years desperately trying to find a “new” Bruce Lee to repackage and sell to the West, who he assumed wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between Asian guys. This culminated in him hiring Jackie Chan to star in a movie called New Fist of Fury, a direct sequel that featured several of the same actors. Chan was also “asked” to emulate Bruce Lee’s fighting style, and they even shoehorned in a scene of him using Lee’s signature weapon, the nunchaku, to try and convince people that they weren’t watching someone ruin a national treasure. The film couldn’t have been more insulting to Lee’s memory if it featured shots of his corpse, and they actually made a movie where they did that.

3. He Once Asked Steven Spielberg How He Made Dinosaurs Appear on Screen


Jackie Chan is, by his own admission, not the smartest man. He received little to no formal academic education as a child, instead being raised to only understand music, martial arts and acrobatics. While useful when you’re being attacked by tone deaf ninjas, these skills aren’t overly helpful in the real world. As a result, Chan has a limited knowledge of computers and what they’re capable of.

As proof of this, upon meeting Stephen Spielberg one of the first questions Chan asked was how the director had made dinosaurs appear on screen. Just let that soak in for a moment. A man who had been involved in dozens of movies had absolutely no understanding of what CGI was.

It gets better. Spielberg reportedly answered Chan’s question by explaining that computers made it possible to put dinosaurs on screen, before asking Chan how he made it appear as though he was leaping between buildings in his own movies. To which Chan responded, “Easy. You roll and jump.” And that’s why no one makes fun of him for being bad with computers.

2. Crews Used to Make Him Say Dirty Words


We’d have to be real jerks to make fun of Jackie Chan’s linguistic ability, considering he’s capable of speaking in at least seven languages. That’s seven more than half the people on the Internet. But that doesn’t change the fact that for a lot of Chan’s early Hollywood movies he had little to no grasp of written English, which resulted in him being spoon fed lines written phonetically.

Because Jackie wasn’t fully aware of what the hell he was saying, crews would take advantage of this to make him say the wrong lines or crack crude jokes, like when you boot up Microsoft Sam and immediately make him swear. One example occurred during the filming of Rush Hour 3, in which Chan was made to say “I like the ones with the horses” in response to which kind of adult entertainment he enjoyed. That prompted Chan to ask “why would you teach me these words?” It was so we could write about them one day, Jackie. It’s destiny.

1. He Once Caused So Many of His Stuntmen to Get Injured That They All Quit


Jackie Chan does all his own stunts, and he has his own stunt team comprised of individuals he personally trained and selected. But what few people realize is that the reason Chan had to resort to hiring a handpicked team is because he once filmed a movie which injured so many stuntmen, they all quit and refused to work with him again.

During the filming of Police Story, the same movie in which Chan’s pelvis exploded, a bunch of other stuntmen received lesser but still serious injuries. Stuntmen were thrown face-first down escalators, judo-flipped onto solid marble floors and drop-kicked through glass windows. When filming wrapped up, so many stuntmen were nursing injuries they collectively agree that Chan was out of his mind and they’d never work with him again. Which somehow makes the stunts in his movies even more ridiculous, because now we know they’re being performed by people more insane than regular stuntmen.

Jackie Chan is a bit of a perfectionist.
Learn about how seriously he takes his work in 10 Movie Scenes That Took Forever to Film. Or learn more about New Fist of Fury with our list of sequels you had no idea existed.
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