Jackie Chan's Top 100 Action Scenes: 20-11 - The Part-Time Critic

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Jackie Chan's Top 100 Action Scenes: 20-11


20. Amazonian Woman Brawl
Armor of God (1987)
Category: Fight - Multiple People

This is a very memorable fight that could have been even higher if it didn't feel so overly produced. It's surprising because this stems from the mid to late 80's, which normally produced more of Jackie's free-flowing and lengthy fights. That aside, it's fun to watch the contrast in this fight, and Jackie exploits the differences for all they are worth. While many of the women were probably stunt doubled, it's perhaps one of the most brutal fights with a woman that Jackie has ever produced. All in all, a great fight, but perhaps a little too gimmicky and produced to make the top ten.

19. Chased Through Kuala Lumpur
Police Story 3: Supercop (1992)
Category: Chase

Initially somewhere in the top 50, but after a re-watch it's hard not to be blown away from the epic nature of this chase sequence. It's epic, its gutsy, and it's technically proficient. I appreciate that Chan doesn't just let this scene become one thing, but goes from a great car chase, to an incredible helicopter ride and finishes it out with another jaw dropping set piece on top of a train. The intensity just doesn't stop.

18. The Wind Tunnel Fight
Operation Condor (1991)
Category: Fight - Multiple People

This fight allegedly took weeks to film and it's not hard to see why. While films like The Matrix or Inception have certainly tried to push boundaries with fights in a science fiction perspective, Chan pushes the boundaries of physicality. Incredible playful, creative, and physical, I can think of no real equals to this fight. Some downgrade it because it's not really a pure fight, but that really misses the point of this sequence. For Chan, it's how he is able to utilize a foreign environment and adapt a fight within it. By that standard, this fight is a success.

17. Axe Gang Attack
The Legend of the Drunken Master (1994)
Category: Weapon Fight - Multiple People

Again, how wonderful is it to see legends like Chan and Lau Kar-Lueng team up? Pop them both into one of the most well worn Kung Fu sequences (trashing a restaurant), and you get one of Jackie's best. Notice here the variety of camera work and perspective we get. This fight is at one time big and at other times tight and up close, but the camera captures both feelings perfectly. My favorite moments include Lau knocking people down a whole story and Chan going full on crazy with the bamboo as a weapon.

16. Singing in the Rain Marketplace Fight
Shanghai Knights (2003)
Category: Prop Fight

This is hands down the best sequence to come out of Chan's American efforts. Its the epitome of the light-hearted prop heavy work that marked his American efforts and it also plays like a greatest hits of Chan prop gags. If you've been following the lists closely and watching each video, you'd notice that many gags are re-used here and wonderfully incorporated to make a whole. What separates the sequence is the wonderfully inspired 'Singing in the Rain' moment. It's hard to pull off self-conscious sequences without coming off arrogant or prideful, but Chan is able to make reference of many of his inspirations (the rest of the film does so as well), while showcasing how he has put his own spin in it. Glad this sequence makes it into my top 20.

15. Rat Glue Factory
The Myth (2005)
Category: Chase

It's a sequence like this that proves Jackie is every bit the physical comedy equivalent of a Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. While not much of a 'fight', this sequence is a joy to watch and like most of his great sequences, milks the premise for all it is worth.

14. Police and Gangster Chase: Running, Fighting, Biking, and Falling off a Clock Tower
Project A (1983)
Category: Chase

Unfortunately, it's broken up into several scenes, but Project A features this mammoth chase sequence that includes some of Chan's most iconic work. Great inventive uses of a bicycle, great back and forth fighting, and one of the most incredible stunts ever put to film (an homage to Harold Lloyd in Safety Last). While, it can feel a little haphazard because it's so broken up, there is a pleasure to just watching these sequences unfold and continue on and on.

13. Fridges, Pinball Machines and Ski's Oh My!
Rumble in the Bronx (1996)
Category: Prop Fight

Three nonstop minutes of fighting that would dominate Chan's mid to late nineties output and probably provide his most consistently pleasing sequences. Would you ever think that fridges could be used as weapons as well as refuges?

12. Playground Fight
Police Story II (1988)
Category: Weapon Fight

If the last sequence was packed, then this one is overstuffed. Without a second to breathe, this might be the most quickly paced fight Jackie has ever put out. It starts out more stunt heavy and settles down into a brutal piece of weapon work. While it doesn't make the top ten because I don't think it's as distinctive a fight as it could be, this is one of those fights where pound for pound, it can compete with anything.

11. Opening Melee: Destroying Towns and Catching Buses
Police Story (1985)
Category: Action and Chase

Just missing out on the top 10, this sequence is the opener from Chan's standard setting Police Story. It's been said that disappointed that Hollywood didn't really understand what Chan wanted to do, he came back to Hong Kong to make a film that would put to celluloid the vision of action he wanted. That this epic scene opens the film shows just how ridiculously gutsy Chan was. Creating and destroying an entire shante town and following it up with some of the most risky parkour and bus stunts on film isn't just risky, it's legendary. This sequence has been remade by Michael Bay in Bad Boys II as well as by the Thai stunt teams in Born to Fight.

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