Jackie Chan: A New Dragon for a New Generation
Jackie Chan is a dragon of the Hong Kong cinema. Certain life experiences mould his star image as narrative, such as his childhood operatic training, his cheeky brand of kung fu comedy, and the high-risk onscreen stunts that he performs himself. But star images are made, not born. This essay looks at Jackie Chan's rise to stardom through two key texts: the film Drunken Master (Zuiquan, 1978) and his English language autobiography, I am Jackie Chan (1998). Both narrate a rite-of-passage story that defines Chan on and off the screen in terms of a painful transition from kung fu kid to dragon through his operatic training and translated into martial arts lessons onscreen. This training is crucial to his brand of comic genius. Chan acknowledges these aspects of his image when he sees his operatic training - ten years of hell - as the foundation of his stardom. He writes that his blood father is 'the father of Chan Kong-sang' but his opera school Master is 'the father of Jackie Chan'.
Journal of Chinese Cinemas