CHAN'S CHINESE NEW YEAR KUNG POW!
Linus Tee | 28 January 2010
New Year brings a lot of familiar traditions- among
them steamboat, angpows, bak kwa and the usual endless
rounds of house visits. But there was one particular
tradition that began in the early 90s and lasted up
till 2001 which we would remember fondly- a trip to
the nearby cinema to catch…yes you guessed it,
the latest Jackie Chan (JC) action flick.
all began back in those times when cineplexes and multiplexes
were non-existent, and things were much simpler. Chinese
movies were distributed by either the once Eng Wah cinema
chain or Cathay Organization- and JC movies happened
to be distributed by the former. In other words, if
one wanted to catch a JC movie, you’d had to travel
to the nearest Eng Wah cinema to catch it.
best as we can remember, that CNY tradition began the
year “Armour of God II: Operation Condor”
was released back in February 1991. Filmed on location
in Marid, Spain and Morocco, the sequel to the original
“Armour of God” saw JC reprising his role
in the original and taking on a group of treasure hunters
seeking Nazi gold. The US$15 million movie (a huge sum
at that time) was a hit with audiences in Asia.
following year, JC fever struck again with “Twin
Dragons”. Directed by Ringo Lam and Tsui Hark,
“Twin Dragons” was notable for JC’s
twin roles- a classical music conductor and a mechanic.
Although the movie contained more slapstick comedy than
heart-stopping action, it proved to be a huge hit with
audiences and reaffirmed the JC brand.
between his CNY releases, the hardworking action star
would squeeze in another movie timed for the usual summer
blockbuster season. That year, Jackie Chan revived his
Police Story franchise with the help of director Stanley
Tong and co-star Michelle Yeoh (who made a career comeback
after her much-publicized divorce) in “Police
Story III: Supercops”.
strike two, JC continued his CNY break in 1993 with
the adaptation of the popular Japanese manga, “City
Hunter”. Helmed by the notorious Wong Jing, there
were rumours swirling around regarding Jackie’s
disputes with Wong. There was also talk that JC took
over directing duties in the end. Despite the bad press,
“City Hunter” was again a huge hit, and
remains most memorable for the Street Fighter sequence
in an arcade onboard a cruise ship.
Year of the Dog (1994) saw JC returning to the martial-arts
arena with “Drunken Master II”, the much
anticipated sequel to the Yuen Woo-Ping 1978 classic.
Directed by Shaw Brothers veteran, Lau Kar-Leung, there
was again talk of JC clashing with his director, with
reports of Lau leaving the set after clashing with Jackie
over the style of fighting to be featured in the movie.
Even to the untrained eye, it was obvious that there
were jarring differences between the fighting styles
employed by Jackie’s character in the 102 minutes
movie compared to the more consistent original. Lau
went on to direct an unrelated “Drunken Master
III” that went belly-under at the box-office.
For his next two consecutive Chinese New Year features,
JC teamed up with Stanley Tong for “Rumble In
The Bronx” and “Police Story IV: First Strike”.
Bronx was a huge success for JC and helped propel the
man into the mainstream American box office the year
after. “Police Story IV”- featuring some
amazing daredevil stuntwork in the snowy mountains of
Ukraine and an explosive finale shot in Australia- was
also a major box-office success in 1996 and remains
JC’s biggest hit in his native Hong Kong.
Chan's Chinese New Year Kung Pow! continues on page
of God II: Operation Condor (1991)
Master 2 (1994)
In The Bronx (1995)
scene from Rumble In The Bronx
Story IV: First Strike (1996)
scene from Police
Story IV: First Strike