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Have you ever seen "Rush Hour" or "Shanghai Noon"? Were you excited when you see all the
stunts and kung fu fighting in those films? All these film starred a famous international
artist and singer, Jackie Chan, who was originated from my hometown, Hong Kong. It is
interesting to know about his childhood, and how he became who he is today.
Jackie Chan's Childhood was not very pleasant because his family was very poor. Jackie
Chan's real name was Kwong-Sang Chan, and he was born in Hong Kong on April 7, 1954. His
Chinese name Kwong-Sang means "born in Hong Kong." Jackie was delivered after twelve
months of pregnancy. That was three months more than usual delivery. Therefore, his mother had to have a surgery to bring him out. At his birth, Jackie weighed more than twelve pounds. Jackie had a nickname called "Ah Pao" which means a cannonball.
Jackie was not a kid who loved school. He attended the Nah-Hwa primary school in Hong Kong, but he disliked school and left after finishing first grade. At age of seven, his father took position as chief in the American Embassy in Australia. His father determined that the boy should learn some skills and sent him to the Peking Opera School. In Peking Opera School, Jackie learned dancing, singing, acrobatics, acting and martial arts. Also, Jackie met Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao who became successful actors today. During the school days, Jackie and his friends had to train everyday from morning till night. Jackie had mentioned it was the hardest period of his life. They needed to study and work 19 hours a day.
Jackie and his friends would be punished and beaten up if they did not fulfill their
practice or failed to achieve the standards. After days of practice, they would perform in a troupe called "The Seven Fortunes". Among them, Sammo Hung was the big brother of the group. They often performed in public performances at the Laiyuen Amusement Park and other venues. This was the childhood of Jackie Chan.
The early years of Jackie Chan in the film industry was not successful at all. As time
changed, the Peking Opera School declined. Their master started to loan "The Seven Fortunes" out as stuntmen to film company. Jackie worked as a stuntmen or the Shaw Brothers Film Company. He performed many dangerous stunts for the company and soon got noticed.
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In the 1976, Jackie filmed the new "Fist of Fury", hoping to imitate Bruce Lee.
Unfortunately, the style did not suit him. Besides "Fist of Fury", Jackie also starred in " Shaolin Wooden Men", "Killer Meteor" and "The Magnificent Bodyguard." It was not a great success as the box office showed no improvement and the new model of Bruce Lee did not work. Afterward, Jackie tried to break into the Hollywood when he starred in "Battle Creek Brawl" with Kristine de Bell and Jose Ferrer. However, it ended up with disappointing results. Shortly, he played a small role in "Cannonball Run" along with a huge cast of American celebrities. It was a big hit in US but the Americans did not notice him much.
In 1978, Jackie was loaned to Sensonal Films which was owned by Ng See Yuen. Jackie acted in a kung fu comedy "Half A Loaf Of Kung Fu" and "Snakes in the Eagle's Shadow." Jackie established his own acting style and starred in "The Drunken Master" which is a great success and made him popular. Later, Jackie joined Golden Harvest company and Willie Chan became his agent. There, Jackie directed his own "The Young Master" in 1980. After that, many other successful films followed. The popular ones was the Police Story series which earned him the Best Actor award in the Hong Kong Film Award. He also cooperated with his " brother", Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao and Yuen Wah in many movies including "Project A", "My Lucky Star", "Dragons Forever", "Heart Of The Dragon" and "Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star." All of them achieved great success and Jackie was among the superstar in Hong Kong film industry.
Following the success in the 80s, Jackie continued his film making career and starred in
many movies in the 90s. He directed most of his movies which include The "Thunderbolt",
" Armour Of God", "Who Am I", "Island Of Fire", "Twin Dragons" and etc. In the mid 90s,
Jackie again tried to break into Hollywood with his films, Rumble In "The Bronx" (1995) and " Mr. Nice" Guy (1997). It was a great success as the Americans are aware of him and more people starts to know him. It came 1998, Jackie starred in "Rush Hour" and this time it was a huge success following high box office gross. In 2000, Jackie was in another US movie " Shanghai Noon" starring with Owen Wilson and Lucy Liu. It was another step for Jackie to aim higher in the Hollywood. After the success, many other film projects are awaiting Chan to be filmed such as "Around The World In 80 Days" (2003) and "Titanium Rain" (2003). This was how Jackie Chan became the most popular and successful international artist from Hong Kong.
In conclusion, Jackie Chan was a hardworking individual. He was able to capture any
opportunity that came up in his life. Although he always get hurt from his stunts, he never stopped trying. All these years, Jackie won a lot of awards, varied from the Most Favorite Actor Award in Japan to International Lifetime Achievement Award. His was not only an artist, but a person who gets in touch with people and spice up others life.
Chan, Jackie. "About Jackie." 1 (2003). 17 Sep. 2003
Chan, Wing Cheung. "The Jackie Chan Connection." 1 (2003). 17 Sep. 2003