Earlier this month, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that Jackie Chan will be receiving an honorary Oscar for his ‘extraordinary achievements’ in film.
And for all the middle-of-the-road nonsense and white-centred gibberish the Academy often spouts, this time they’re right on the money. Jackie Chan is a goddamn superhero, and his contributions to cinema have been colossal. His life’s work is a testament to discipline; hard, often life-endangering work; and the pure joy of motion and dedication to entertainment.
I grew up on Jackie Chan. Piles of VHS tapes with his movies’ names on them occupied my bedroom, all almost worn out from rewinding the best scenes. And what scenes they are. Chan’s work is some of the best in the history of the business. The choreography and execution are unparalleled. On top of all the old-school formal brilliance it’s the sense of fun that he brings to proceedings that makes his stuff so remarkable to watch: the improvised weaponry, the use of the environment. It’s almost existential in its re-allocation of meaning to banal physical objects.
In short, thank you, Jackie, for a lifetime of joyful genius. We bow down to your one unbroken bone, and celebrate with some of your best scenes:
First Strike ladder fight
Who Am I? building slide
Mr. Nice Guy chase scene
New Police Story bus scene (the original Police Story bus scene, legendary though it is, couldn’t be found anywhere online)
The Legend of the Drunken Master drunken fighting
The Accidental Spy towel scene
Miracles bar fight
Chinese Zodiac couch scene — where Jackie is almost 60 years old!
Meals on Wheels Jackie Vs Benny ‘The Jet’ Urquidez
Police Story mall fight and the jump that almost killed him
And, as a bonus, the wonderful Tony Zhou of Every Frame a Painting with an analysis of the formal perfection that Chan and his team bring in order to achieve such spectacle: