You know, it wasn’t always like this between Jackie and me. We had a great relationship: Drunken Master, Project A, Supercop, Police Story. Things started to get rocky with the Hollywood movies, and while you can say lots about Rush Hour (I have!), it had its moments and is part of larger Afro-Asian thing. No, Jackie and I officially broke up over that crap better known as Shanghai Knights (although, to be honest, part of that probably has something to do with that fool Owen Wilson). The Forbidden Kingdom did nothing to help our estrangement.
So, you may be asking, why, on the cusp of The Karate Kid, am I reconciling with Jackie? Don’t get me wrong, I fully expect that The Karate Kid will be bad (and if it’s not, I’ll be the first to admit it). But I was recently reminded why I like Jackie Chan in the first place.
I was recently watching Around the World in 80 Days, and in the midst of the highjinks, had to remind myself that Passportout was not Asian in the book. Next thing I know, Sammo Hung is on the screen playing Wong Fei Hung! Anytime you can slide Wong Fei Hung in a movie, I’m game, and I’d like to think Jackie had something to do with it. More importantly, I admit that I miss Jackie Chan’s action work, which I can watch when the racial stereotypes aren’t blocking the view. Yes, 80 Days doesn’t offer deep social commentary, and isn’t even the best action work Jackie Chan has done. But it’s not trying to be. 80 Days is Saturday afternoon B-movie with a crazy expensive budget. And for every 80 Days, there is a Rob-B Hood. And when I look at it that way, Jackie Chan ceases to offend me, or at least, not as much.
So instead of holding my breath for The Karate Kid, I’m getting my DVD player ready for Shinjuku Incident, and hoping that Jackie and I can stay together, whether times are good or bad, happy or sad.