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There are a select few names in the entertainment industry who have no haters whatsoever, with these names comprising of the likes of Tom Hanks, Paul Rudd, and The Rock – but no-one comes close to the legend that is Jackie Chan.
With a legacy that became unquestioned two decades back, Jackie is easily immortal in the eyes of his fans, and we have his movies to thank for entertaining us so splendidly. Of his enormous filmography, these 10 entertained us the most by far. You won’t find anything bad in any of these movies, but we’ve ranked them in accordance to how you should schedule your Jackie Chan film binge-watch.
Updated by Saim Cheeda on May 8th 2020: Due to the ever-increasing use of streaming services like Netflix, stars of yesterday are seeing a resurgence in popularity. This has allowed Jackie Chan to return into focus, as younger audiences discover his famous films. Fortunately, the actor is set to appear in some more big-budget films in the upcoming years after a long hiatus away from mainstream movies.
There’s no better way to hype up the Jackie Chan popularity train than watching his best efforts once more, and since binge-watching his films is addictive, it’s worth checking out a few more titles added in this list while you’re at it.
15 The Medallion (2003)
A police officer comes across a boy with a mysterious medallion, and after saving his life, he’s imbued with powers through the artifact. However, he also finds out a whole lot of other people are also behind the same thing, prompting a supernaturally charged battle.
It’s far more reliant on special effects than any other Jackie Chan movie, but The Medallion still benefits from having the lead actor’s charming persona. It also helps that he has a great rapport with his costars, who band together to bring a good mix of sci-fi and comedy.
14 The Myth (2005)
An archeologist cannot shake away the many dreams he has of himself back in the past protecting a princess, only to realize these are flashbacks to his previous life. Now with this knowledge, he tries to track down his former love in the present day.
If you’re looking for jokes and a breezy time, then The Myth isn’t for you. However, this film might have Jackie in his most committed performance yet, as he relished the opportunity to be in a serious-themed story. The movie does present several heartbreaking moments, along with an overarching mystery that keeps the interest high until the end.
13 The Karate Kid (2010)
A bullied preteen boy feels out of place in his new home in China until he meets a sympathetic maintenance man who agrees to coach him into becoming a martial arts master. With a competition upping the stakes, the boy adapts quickly to this challenge.
Jackie’s more often than not placed in the role of a man out of place with his surroundings, so it’s a great subversion to see him play a focused master this once. He’s not the funny Jackie everyone knows in this movie, although his serious portrayal does make his martial arts moves even more impressive.
12 The Foreigner (2017)
When his daughter is killed, a seemingly common man turns out to be the stuff of nightmares as he goes to every length he can to take revenge. With the government bamboozled by this man’s skills, it appears as if vigilante justice will soon be served.
He’s been seen in action movies more times than one could count, yet it was still a new turn for Jackie to be the star of such an explosive film. Dropping the nice guy act, this film sees him adopt the role of a gritty, no-nonsense father who is out for blood, proving him to be a total badass.
11 Rob-B-Hood (2006)
A child kidnapping is botched when the leader of a trio is apprehended, forcing the other two to take care of the child. Eventually bonding with the baby, the duo decides to defy the triads and protect their unforeseen affection.
In a rather against-type performance, Jackie appears as an anti-hero in Rob-B-Hood. Sure, he’s funny as always, but the likability factor takes a little while to kick in. This does leave room for character development, though, and watching the characters stumble around trying to take care of a baby is absolutely hilarious.
10 Rumble In The Bronx (1995)
A Hong Kong cop arrives in New York, unaware that his presence sparks a larger ploy that leads to an action packed free-for-all. Rumble in the Bronx is credited as the movie that brought Jackie Chan the fame he now enjoys worldwide, and it’s a film you need to see to understand where his film formula was birthed.
Along with the creative action sequences on display, the film also has Jackie play the part of the well-meaning and unintentionally funny protagonist that we’ve all come to expect from him. You can view Rumble in the Bronx as the prequel to Jackie Chan’s worldwide success.
9 Who Am I? (1998)
You just know that Jackie will always be Jackie now that we have Who Am I? as the perfect example of this. Featuring Jackie as a character with his real name, the movie has him surface in the African jungles, where we see the emergence of “Who Am I?”
It’s a surprisingly moving picture that depicts the protagonist going through amnesia, and the resultant search for his true identity that ensues. The development from his identity as “Who Am I?” back to Jackie Chan is the main appeal for this film, and Jackie’s comedy as a clueless man in Africa is one thing you won’t stop laughing at.
8 CZ12 (2012)
Arriving at a time where Jackie hadn’t been seen in a long time in the action-comedy genre, he made up for his time away by delivering the heartwarming adventure flick called CZ12. It’s a Chinese production, but the spirit of it is the same that worldwide audiences want from Jackie.
The story takes the protagonist and his large group of friends around the world on a whirlwind adventure, and there’s a true sense of camaraderie among the characters, which means that you just love watching the chemistry unfold between them. Although the action is marvelous due to the film implementing its adventure elements, there’s a lot of heart to be found here.
7 Drunken Master (1978)
If you consider Chinese films to be the forerunners to the action-comedy genre, then you have this movie to thank for truly starting it all. Drunken Master was a celebration of technical martial arts, and there’s a lot to be learned here.
It was the second of two similar films released featuring Jackie around the same time, but this one made a bigger impact due to the “Drunken” style of fighting that Jackie popularized. It’s a funny and breezy kind of film you want to watch when there’s no need for complex storylines, and just the skill and charm of the protagonist is enough.
6 The Forbidden Kingdom (2008)
A young American boy is transported to Ancient China because of his possession of a magical staff, whose retrieval by evil entities sparks an epic quest. In Forbidden Kingdom, we have Jackie play the role of a martial arts mentor figure, although there’s a twist here in that the character is constantly drunk.
The main draw, though, is the opportunity to witness Jet Li and Jackie Chan duke it out. The fighting scenes between these two are incredible, and you’ll be left in awe at the finesse these legends display with their abilities. Add to that, there’s a lot of fun and fantasy elements to the film that make it a must-watch.
5 Around The World In 80 Days (2004)
This film got a bad reputation back in the day because of the swerve it took from the source material, but Around the World in 80 Days is a lovely film to watch now that we know not to take it seriously.
It’s got all the Jackie Chan elements of comedy, charm, and of course martial arts, but adds to that by having a classic premise attached to it. The film also boasts a huge guest star cast, which makes it hilarious to watch in all the scenes featured as Jackie comes across famous figures in the past all kooky enough to love.
4 Shanghai Knights (2003)
Jackie is always on his A-game when paired with a comedic actor who complements the action aspect he brings, and Owen Wilson was a wonderful contrast for him to play off of. Shanghai Knights sees the main protagonists head off the Victorian England, where they deal with various shenanigans that come their way as they stop an attempt to assassinate the Queen.
The comedy here is a bit more adult-oriented than what Jackie Chan fans are used to, but that only gives you a new light to see Jackie in as the laughs are just as great as they always are. The film makes full use of its gimmick setting, and it’s impossible not to appreciate the effort made in incorporating this into the film-viewing experience.
3 Snake In The Eagle’s Shadow (1978)
On occasion, you just want to forget anything that has to do with stories and plots, and just indulge in hard-hitting martial arts. Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow is the perfect film for this mood. The film’s plot isn’t that important, but that only makes the fighting so much more interesting.
It’s more of a subtle insight into the art of Kung Fu, with the movie featuring a very young Jackie as a boy who taps into his true skills to learn the technique of fighting. The film is great for repeated viewings, as you just want to sit back and analyze Jackie’s martial arts wizardry.
2 The Tuxedo (2002)
Speaking of repeated viewings, here’s a movie that will never get old. The premise sees a driver accidentally coming into possession of a super suit, which drives him into becoming a reluctant spy.
The Tuxedo is easily among Jackie’s most hilarious movies, with the comedy never stopping to catch a break. Paired with a very charming Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jackie is in top form to enchant us with his physical comedy, coupled with a very appealing gimmick that entertains both young and older fans.
1 Rush Hour Film Series (1998-07)
You knew this would be the top as soon as you saw the title, because Rush Hour is as good as it gets when it comes to action-comedy. The immortal pairing of Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker is responsible for delivering laughs across generations, and there will be endless cries for Rush Hour 4 until it finally gets made.
In this series, Jackie surprisingly delivers his most range, as we see him trash talk, show off his comedic wit, engage in hard-hitting action, and even act out in emotional sequences. The Rush Hour series is synonymous with Jackie’s career, and we’ll be watching it again and again with no end in sight.
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