Famous Hong Kong actors: Jackie Chan
Though Bruce Lee may be the most revered Hong Kong martial artist of all time, Jackie Chan is quite probably the best loved. His incredible stunt performance, sense of humour, likable personality and gift for slapstick have made him a star across the planet, with over 150 films to his name since the 1960s.
Chan began his career early, as a child actor in such Hong Kong classics as the Love Eterne in 1963. As he entered his teens he also began training in martial arts, where he would eventually earn a black belt. After rising through the ranks in Hong Kong cinema, Chan got his first break in Kung Fu as a stuntman on Bruce Lee's Fist of Fury. Though he was cast as a leading man in two adult comedies soon after, their failure discouraged Chan's ambitions and he briefly immigrated to Australia where he worked in construction.
He was soon called back to Hong Kong, however, by producers who had seen his daring stunt work. His second run at a movie career was much more successful. His first big hit came in 1978 with Snake in the Eagle's Shadow, which, along with his next flick Drunken Master, introduced the world to the comedy/ action genre. This was a step to the left of Bruce Lee's po-faced, philosophical martial arts. Chan's films were just as packed with impressive physicality as Lee's, but that physicality was now married to a sense of the absurd and ridiculous.
Chan next went to America to try to crack the international market, but his roles in Cannonball Run and The Protector did not have the break-out effect he had hoped for. Back in Hong Kong, Chan's star continued to rise, as his role in the Police Story movies and Armour of God made him Asia's biggest star. In the 1990s Chan made his second attempt at an American breakthrough and, this time, he emerged triumphant. After 1996's successful Rumble in the Bronx, he co-starred with Chris Tucker in Rush Hour in 1998, a comedy/ crime film that would take $130 million in the US alone and spawn a massively successful franchise.
Since then Chan has taken his unique blend of comedy and crazy stunts to an even greater level of renown, with the Transporter movies. Now 59, he remains one of the most recognised film stars on the planet.