Jackie Chan was born into an poor family in Hong Kong, his parents nearly had to sell him to the doctor because they couldn't afford the doctor's delivery fee. The good doctor let them go for free, and eventually his parents found work in Australia. He was sent back to Hong Kong when he was 6 to the Chinese Opera Research Institute, a school of traditional Chinese entertainment. He received very strict training in the martial arts, singing, acting and acrobatics. He met his friends Bruce Lee and Sammo Hung here, together they formed The Seven Dragons brotherhood.

After graduating from training, he found work in the growing Hong Kong martial arts movie industry. The death of Bruce Lee opened opportunities for Jackie Chan, unfortunately, his unorthodox style did not sit well with audiences. His comical appearance and lack of "macho" did not sell hardcore martial arts films. So he invented his own genre, the comedy kung fu movie. He was given the film name Cheng Long, which can be translated as both "mature dragon" (he was older than Bruce Lee) or "To be the Dragon", referring to the untimely death of Bruce Lee, who was also called "The Dragon".

His amazing stunts won a dedicated fanbase in Asia, especially in Hong Kong and Japan. The SuperCop and Drunken Master series were some of the most popular movies in Asia during that period. By the end of the 80's he was the most famous action star in Asia, but his movies did not do well in America. The 1994 film Rumble in the Bronx opened the American market, because unlike most of Chan's movies, this one was about America. Other Hollywood box office hits include Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon.

Jackie Chan, in the process of doing his insane stunts, have broken almost every bone in his body. He was nearly killed three times while filming. However, his stunts make his movies great. His kung fu is totally genuine. Although his films are all action movies, he abhors violence, hence his role as a "reluctant hero". In addition to great martial arts, he has several records on sale in Asia.

Jackie once did a movie where he had to kick a 2 inch ball, in the air, through a 3 inch hole 30 feet away. It took him over 1600 takes. The man is an absolute legend.

JC's personal involvment and willingness to dedicate himself totally to his films, coupled with a frankly suicidal attitude towards stunts, have made him a hero of Hong Kong cinema.

Unfortunately, since his move to the States, he's been unable to do as much in his productions as he has been used to - the protective guilds in Hollywood prevent him from doing his own sound editing, setting up his own camera angles, writing his own scripts etc (only union members get to do these jobs - bah!)

I can only hope he'll come to his senses and leave the buddy cop movies, lame comedies et al to the Americans, and get back to Hong Kong for some decent drunken antics.

Although Jackie Chan has performed uncountable death-defying stunts, I believe his narrowest (or at least most notable) escape occurred on September 11, 2001. At 7:00 am on this infamous date Jackie was scheduled to film scenes for the MGM action-comedy Nosebleed on top of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. One can only imagine what sort of feat Jackie might have been attempting at 8:45 when United Airlines flight 175 crashed into that same tower. So what would Jackie Chan do?

"As I had to be at the top of one of the towers I would probably have died."
-- Jackie Chan, Oriental Daily News

Jackie Chan's life is usually saved through careful planning, kung fu skills and (when all else fails) on-set medical personnel. In this case it was a late scriptwriter who unwittingly caused the shoot to be cancelled at the last minute.

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