Since his first role in 1962 at the age of 8, Jackie Chan has appeared in more than 70 movies. For more than 20 years, he has been the biggest star in Asia, but in the West he remained a secret, his movies passed around on tape and his fame growing by word of mouth alone. In the '90s, with the success of crossover movies like Rush Hour and the support of a new generation of filmmakers who grew up watching Jackie Chan videotapes, his star finally rose in the West. But where did he come from, and how did he achieve so much?
His autobiography, I Am Jackie Chan, answers those questions in an engaging, almost novelistic style. When his father moves to Australia to take up a new job, the young Jackie is placed in Hong Kong's China Drama Academy under the tutelage of Master Yu Jim-yuen. For the next 10 years he is trained in martial arts, dance, acrobatics, singing, and comedy, while suffering extraordinary hardships, including regular beatings and near-starvation. Yet he can look back on this period of his life with considerable affection, not least because it taught him the skills, and provided him with the network of friends, that would sustain his film career for decades. Chan has always earned the respect of his fans by committing himself wholeheartedly to creating the most death-defying stunts possible. His achievements seem even more remarkable when set against the struggles described in this book. In the Drama School, as a young stuntman, in his first troubled attempts to make movies in America--Chan's personality shines through, and I Am Jackie Chan can only enhance his reputation as one of the most likable and admirable movie stars in the world. The book also includes Jackie's comments on all of his movies, lists of his favorite stunts and fights, and an astonishing catalog of all his major injuries. Can you imagine what it must feel like to dislocate your cheekbone? --Simon Leake
Spotlight customer reviews:
Customer Rating: Summary: " So you play Kung FU" Comment: I Am Jackie Chan My Life in Action 1998 5/5
Written by :Jackie Chan & Jeff Yang
Easily one of the best books I have ever read. This books contains 398 pages of pure joy. Seriously I read this book In one sitting . I was already a fan of Jackie Chan now I have so much respect for him. The copy I own includes a extra chapter, I would say it's worth buying again to read that extra chapter. Jackie Chan had a very interesting upbringing filled with beating and let downs. I mean he was abandoned by his parents who essentially sold him to the Peking Opera. Where they had the power to punish him up till death.
In here Jackie talks about the makings his earlier films. I really enjoyed this book as much as I enjoy his movies. Jeff Yang has said in interviews that there is works to release a second volume. Lets hope for that!
Customer Rating: Summary: Good book for a Jackie's fan Comment: my wife's english is not good. but she found that it is very easy to understand this book as Jackie's movie. She has fun with it and use it to prove her english. Customer Rating: Summary: Engaging and entertaining Comment: A fascinating insight into the mind and career of the world's biggest movie star. With exhaustive (and exhausting!) descriptions of Jackie's brutal Peking opera training and early days as a stuntman and actor, almost everything you want to know about Jackie is here.
Not that there aren't omissions - his illegitimate son Jaycee, now trying to make a name for himself as an actor, is never mentioned. Jackie is also quick to take credit (he claims 'Half a Loaf of Kung Fu' and 'Snake in the Eagle's Shadow' were the first kung fu comedies, which they weren't) and slow to give it out (he describes his opera brothers' film 'The Prodigal Son,' arguably the best kung fu movie ever made, as "solid"). But Jackie's charisma and determination shine through on every page, and you can't help but admire the guy. A must read for Jackie fans and aficionados of Hong Kong cinema. Customer Rating: Summary: Is there a better man living? Comment: Dood tottally I'm not kidding, Jackie Chan is like a god amongst men, a god who makes flawed movies in his old age (flawed is polite considering the horrible movies he's currently putting out). Man Jackie Chan is so great it makes my balls sweat whenever I think about it, in this book he talks about how he and his crew broke into an amusement park to steal... not money but bread crumbs!!! Becuase Master wanted his students to work hard, this is not a book for weaklings, they will fret and feel weak as they learn of the heroic and disciplined exploits of my man JACKIE FING CHAN! Man in this book he talks about how some dudes wanted to fight, but he didn't cuase Master taught him only to fight for show and not fight for violence. Man the world would be a better place if we all had to read this book. Mandatory reading for High Schools this should be. Customer Rating: Summary: Jackie Chan Rocks My Socks Comment: Jackie Chan has had a very eventful life. When he was a child he lived in on an ambassadors mansion in Hong Kong. Soon he was sent to a Cantonese Opera school, which was a boarding school where he was trained, day and night for over 10 years of his young life, in the ways of Chinese Opera. Chinese Opera is not the same Opera you and I may think of it as, but instead is a very acrobatic physically demanding show. He then went into the stuntman business, which was a very difficult road for him. For many years he struggled with finding work but he soon became a much wanted stuntman. Eventually he went into small acting parts, which led to bigger acting parts. Soon enough he was a huge success in Hong Kong, and eventually got married to a famous Chinese actress. Jackie still travels a lot and his wife is a stay at home wife who raises his son.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading. It is full of constant action and keeps your attention. I Am Jackie Chan is an easy read and fast paced I was unable to put it down, except of course when class was over.