Movie Stakeout's Jackie Chanuary

in #film3 months ago

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Movieland detectives Dick Japowski, Joey Arizona, and Sam Sleet took a deep dive into the kunf-fu kicking world of Jackie Chan, and here at the precinct we handled a lot of cases…

Kick those January blues with Dick Japowski and Jackie Chanuary!
Half a Loaf of Kung-Fu (1980)
Jackie Chan plays a drifter who claims the bounty on a bandit and uses the money to learn Kung Fu styles and then has to put them to good use along the way. No outrageous stunts at this point but this is more of a comedic movie. There is a great Popeye moment when Jackie is up against a gang of town thugs and stops to eat some spinach while the Popeye music plays before knocking them out. Plus some great foley work to make up for the lack of plot!
First watch. 3 out of 5 fists

The Arizona Case Files: Jackie Chanuary
Skiptrace (2016)
A Hong Kong cop obsessed with bringing his partner's killer to justice has his biggest lead when a American conman witnesses another murder. The problem is the conman is also in trouble with a Russian gang. After the conman is hauled to Russia the cop has to first save him, then get him back to China by any means necessary.
Essentially it's a Jackie Chan remake of Planes, Trains and Automobiles sponsored by the Mongolian Tourist Board.
Top Chop: Chan fights the gang members in a factory making Russian Dolls. While holding a giant doll his opponent kicks it, shattering the first layer, and repeats until only the smallest doll is left.
First watch: 2 out of 5 fists.

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Kick those winter blues with Dick Japowski and Jackie Chanuary!
Bleeding Steel (2017)
Jackie plays a father trying to protect his reincarnated daughter from biomechanical space aliens. Based on a true story.
This one came in as an anonymous request from a Mr. M.R who I discovered hadn't actually seen it so I can't hold him responsible! The first 45 minutes is pretty unwatchable and then Jackie takes over to land this beast with a narrow save!
Top Chop: Jackie fights a pvc clad, space knife wielding dominatrix on top of the Sydney opera House.
First watch: 2 out of 5 fists

Kick those January blues with Dick Japowski and Jackie Chanuary!
Around the World in 80 days (2004)
Steve Coogan and Jackie Chan team up for a retelling of the Jules Verne classic where a gentlemen's bet sees the mismatched duo try to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days.
There was a period when Jackie Chan was the person to be paired with for action comedy gold and this is no exception. Super fun family fare with cameos galore.
Top Chop: The creative fight in the art gallery.
First watch: 3.5 out of 5 fists

The Arizona Case Files: Jackie Chanuary
Dragon Blade (2015)
An elite group are tasked with protecting the Silk Road, an ancient trade route used by multiple nations, but an ambitious Roman general looks to conquer it all.
This could have been better. Apparently it was based on a true story, which kept you locked in, but there parts of it I genuinely had no idea what that story was. The editing was often unnecessarily choppy, and they kept using this really annoying frame-by-frame slowmo. John Cusack also looked like he didn't want to be there, but that's how he looks in most movies.
Top Chop: Jackie using his brain fist. Instructing the men to former a spiked snowplough from spears and Roman shields to mow through the opposition.
First watch: 2.5 fists out of 5

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Cinematic Sleuth Sam Sleet, P.I. Celebrates Jackie Chanuary!
The Big Brawl, a.k.a. Battle Creek Brawl (1980)
Young Jerry Kwan defends his father's business from mob shakedown and winds up forced to compete in a winner-takes-all street fighting competition. Jackie's first American starring vehicle lacks the big, death-defying stunts he would later become known for, but the fights make creative use of props and environment, the titular brawl sees Jerry taking on pro-wrestler types twice his size, and the whole affair is set to a typically bopping Lalo Schifrin score. Delightful anachronism: while set in 1930s Chicago, this movie features a roller skate relay race complete with polyester track suits straight out of the '70s.
First watch: 3 out of 5 feet to your face!

Kick those January blues with Jackie Chanuary and Dick kick-ow-ski
The Fearless Hyena a.k.a. Revenge of the Dragon a.k.a. Superfighter 3 a.k.a. The Shadowman (1979)
A young man going by the name Jack"y" Chan wrote, directed and starred in this case of Kung fu chaos, which was apparently part of the inspiration for the Dragonball manga?
Here he goofs off, gambles to much and gets into fisticuffs with whoever is dumb enough to go up against him before knuckling down to avenge his grandfather. Featuring all your favourite fighting styles and more. More being a terribly dubbed English accent on poor Jacky!
First watch: 3 out of 5 fists

Cinematic Sleuth Sam Sleet, P.I. Celebrates Jackie Chanuary!
City Hunter (1993)
A private investigator, his adopted daughter/love interest (yeah, you read that right), and a cast of wacky characters get caught in the middle of a terrorist takeover aboard a cruise ship. Folks, this is a bizarre one. Based on a manga and anime series, this is a live-action cartoon that's an often uncomfortable mix of slapsticky and horny. The really icky central romance is set up in the opening scene, and I wasn't sure if my wife and I were gonna sit through the whole thing. By thirty minutes or so in, we were committed to witnessing the odd spectacle, and enough of the visual gags had me chuckling throughout to make it... well, not a total waste.
First watch: 1.5 out of 5 fists

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The Arizona Case Files: Jackie Chanuary
Master with Cracked Fingers (1979)
A young boy forbidden to fight by his adoptive father is trained by a local vagrant. Skip forward and the young boy is now a waiter named Jackie Chan who keeps getting in fights with local criminal elements.
While I was watching this it seemed fractured, parts of it didn't make sense. Why is the begger always sculking in the bushes every time Jackie gets into a fight? After a little research the reason is clear, this movie is a collage, made up largely from another movie, footage taken from around the time of Drunken Master and some extra material filmed to link it together, including a finalé featuring a JC body double in a blindfold to help hide his face.
First watch: 1 fist to the face

Kick those January blues with Jackie Chanuary and Dick kick-ow-ski!
Jackie Chan: My stunts (1999)
Jackie takes us behind the curtain and talks us through all of the tricks of his trade in hurting people in the kindest way possible! This is a fun look at the work Jackie puts into all of his films and covers hand to hand, car stunts and weapon work.
First watch: 3 out of 5 fists

Cinematic Sleuth Sam Sleet, P.I. Celebrates Jackie Chanuary!
Drunken Master (1978)
The master's son at a martial arts school is a skilled but arrogant troublemaker. When his father sentences young Fei-Hung to train under his notoriously harsh uncle, he learns some discipline along with the secret kung fu of the Drunken Master. The sound quality and broad acting style may take some getting used to, but this one's a lot of fun. It's basically a long string of fight scenes connected by a solid narrative through line, each one a showcase for the creativity and astounding athleticism that makes Jackie Chan a star.
First (or maybe second?) watch: 3.5 out of 5 wine gourds

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The Arizona Case Files: Jackie Chanuary
Fist of Fury (1972)
It's a bit of a cheat, Chan is in it, but only as a stuntman/background artists. But while I was searching Prime for JC movies this came up, and I'd never seen it. In fact the only Bruce Lee movie I'd seen before now was Enter the Dragon, despite the numerous times I've watched Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story.
In Japanese occupied Shanghai a young fighter named Chen struggles with the death of his master, and now a Japanese fighting school are muscling their way in. So Chen goes to pick a fight...and things quickly spiral out of control.
Couldn't actually pick Chan out at all, but IMDb say he's in it, and that's good enough for me. The mind is where a true master wins the battle.
Top Chop: Bruce with nunchucks fighting an opponent wielding a samurai sword.
First watch: 4 out of 5 fists.

Cinematic Sleuth Sam Sleet, P.I. celebrates Jackie Chanuary!
The Legend of Drunken Master a.k.a. Drunken Master II (1994)
A young man defends his community from imperialist thieves using the controversial martial art of drunken boxing. This sorta-sequel boasts unbelievable fight choreography with some great costumes and sets to boot. Coming fresh off the original 1978 Drunken Master, it confused me that the main character, Wong Fei-Hung, bears the same name and similar character arc, but the time period and surrounding characters are completely different. It's more like an alternate take on the story than a sequel. Also, Fei-Hung is meant to be a very young man, but it's noticeable that Jackie is a mere eight years younger than the actor playing his father and nine years older (!) than the actress playing his scene-stealing step mother. Despite those curiosities and the lack of an original language track on the Miramax blu-ray (boo!), this movie is martial arts gold!
Top Chop: the climactic battle in an iron smelting factory is fantastic, but I think my highlight is the scene with Fei-Hung and Wen-chi in a restaurant versus dozens of axe-wielding goons.
First watch: 4 out of 5 backfists

The Arizona Case Files: Jackie Chanuary
First Strike a.k.a Police Story 4 (1996)
A Hong Kong cop gets roped into tracking an arm's dealer across the world. When he gets to Australia he finds he's helping the wrong people, who then frame him for murder.
I remember renting this on video back in the day, pretty sure it was the first Jackie Chan movie I'd ever seen, and I wasn't impressed. The overdubbing threw me, watching it on a small TV you weren't always sure if it was dubbed or not...and Chan dubs his own character which made it extra confusing. I also wasn't a fan of the comedy, I was only interested in serious action movies. Now however I can appreciate the humour, and even quite enjoy it.
The thing that won me over last time though was the action, which is spectacular, and made me checkout many a Chan movie over the years.
Top Chop: The Ladder fight. If anyone ever asks why you like these kinds of movies, show them that seen and they'll get it pretty quickly.
Rewatch: 3.5 fists out of 5

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Kick those winter blues with Jackie Chanuary and Dick kick-ow-ski!
Shanghai Knights (2003)
The Chinese imperial seal is stolen, and a plot to kill the British royal family is afoot. Sounds like a job for the world's unlikeliest double act Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson! I don't know why I never watched this as Shanghai noon came out of nowhere and became a sleeper hit which I loved. I don't know if it's because it has been a while since I've seen Owen Wilson but watching the chemistry between this pair really charmed me into wanting to rewatch some early Owen. Chan is on top form rolling with the punches and the historical comedy and you even get a young Aaron Taylor-Johnson playing Charlie Chaplin!
A super fun sequel, but please can we have another to round out the trilogy?!
Top Chop: The fight in the room of antiquities, where everyone is doing their best not to break anything!
First watch. 3.5 out of 5 fists

The Arizona Case Files: Jackie Chanuary
The Twins Effect (2003)
Essentially a vehicle for pop duo The Twins. Twin 1 lives with her brother, a vampire hunter, and Twin 2 is his new assistant/protege/love interest. Twin 1 falls for a vampire prince, who is being pursued by Jamiroquai, who wants to eat all the CGI magic to become a better musician/Prince of Darkness.
Jackie Chan only appears as a 'guest star', but he does get a decent piece of screen time. First we see him as the groom of a wedding crashed by Twin 1 & the prince, and later as an ambulance driver who helps them outrun their pursuers. Instead of fights we get Chan using his skills to get laughs, wrestling drinks from his already intoxicated new bride, and trying to avoid the vamps. Kung-Fu for Twilight fans.
Top Chop: There's a fight between The Twins over a stuffed animal which got a few chuckles.
First watch: 3 fists out of 5

The Arizona Case Files: Jackie Chanuary
The Spy Next Door (2010)
Family friendly Jackie flick that plays out like a cross between True Lies and Uncle Buck.
Top Chop: Chan frantically looking for his young charge in a mall, Tarzan-swinging on the fixtures, and then sliding down the escalator.
First watch: 3 Doughnuts

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Kick those winter blues with Jackie Chanuary and Dick kick-ow-ski!
Wheels on Meals (1984)
Two cousins, Thomas and David run a food van in Barcelona. Their friend Moby is a wannabe bumbling detective. One day a beautiful pick pocket comes into their lives and kidnappings, three stoogery and kick ass fight scenes ensue!
Directed by Sammo Hung, this was a major hit for all involved and fun fact one. Spawned the Kung-fu Master arcade game! The action scenes are amazing and the comedy between the central trio is charming and funny.
Top Chop: Chan's end fight at the castle. So good the pair were pitted against each other again in a future film and this one is widely considered as the top of the chops in Hong Kong cinema.
First watch: 4 out of 5 fists

Cinematic Sleuth Sam Sleet, P.I. Celebrates Jackie Chanuary!
Supercop a.k.a. Police Story 3 (1992)
Hong Kong inspector Kevin Chan teams up with Interpol agent Jessica Yang on a dangerous assignment to infiltrate a drug cartel. Lots of fun to be had in this very 90s flick that balances martial arts with American-style action bombast. Michelle Yeoh is great in a co-leading role, displaying some amazing fighting and stunt chops I didn't know she had. Unintentional comedy gold: In the first twenty minutes, the characters say "Supercop" about a dozen times like that's a common term everybody knows, and Jackie wears two separate Canadian tuxedos!
Top Chop: the whole finale involving a dirtbike, helicopter, and a moving train will leave you wondering how many people were severely injured during filming.
First watch: 3.5 out of 5 grenade explosions

Have you witnessed any of the movies we’ve investigated? What’s the verdict? and what’s your favourite Jackie Chan movie? Let us know in the comments below