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I Am Jackie Chan: My Life in Action Mass Market Paperback – June 28, 1999


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1st edition (June 28, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345429133
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345429131
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #905,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

One of Asia's most popular film stars, Chan has helped reinvent the Hong Kong action genre by blending hyperkinetic stunts with a self-deprecating humor and a freewheeling flamboyance reminiscent of Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. His autobiography, unfortunately, contains few of these elements. In minute detail, he chronicles his punishing childhood in the Chinese Opera Research Institute and his rise to superstardom. From age seven to 17, under the severe discipline?some might even call it child abuse?of his Opera Master, Chan was trained for theater and film work. After the death of Bruce Lee (Chan was a stuntman in Lee's Fists of Fury and Enter the Dragon), his studio, Golden Harvest, attempted to turn him into a Lee clone. But Chan's film persona finally gelled when he began to emulate his silent-movie heroes and to punctuate his films with what he calls "the superstunt"?high-risk feats of derring-do that he performs himself. Chan takes himself to task for neglecting his family (indeed, his wife and 14-year-old son are only briefly mentioned), and offers a candid look at the gangs, called Triads, that retain a powerful grip on the Hong Kong film industry. But despite such glimpses behind the actor's Teflon veneer, and his punchy anecdotes, this surprisingly tame, sometimes plodding memoir fails to deliver the heady thrills one has come to expect of a Jackie Chan production. FYI: I Am Jackie Chan is published to coincide with the release of his first American film in 13 years, Rush Hour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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I have read this book more than 10 times and it never gets old.
Tracy J. Rivadeneyra
Real life success story, from nobody to Asia's most loved guy to a superstar even in US!
Sung, Ju Hwan
The book is written in a style that is engaging and very often hilarious.
Wajeeh Saadi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jean-Francois Virey on October 16, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
For many Americans, Jackie Chan made his screen debut in the late 1990s with such hits as *Rumble in the Bronx* or *Rush Hour*. But a privileged few have been enjoying his movies for more than two decades, from the cheap, non-stop-kung-fu flicks he first starred in to his more recent and more expensive cop movies and period pieces.
*I Am Jackie Chan* is the story of the making of these movies and of the man who made them possible: a first-hand, first-person account of Jackie Chan's eventful life, from his training at a Peking Opera school, where we discover the overweight bully who was to become "big brother" Samo Hung, to his second and hugely successful attempt to conquer the American public.
The book unravels the rather bumpy ride to stardom of this atypical martial artist who always preferred being beaten up by the bad guys to the other way around, who repeatedly risked his life to perform the most incredible stunts ever filmed (Jackie stop! We don't want to lose you!) and whose happy-go-lucky persona finally eclipsed that of Bruce Lee himself.
I really loved this success-story, set in a world whose death warrant was signed in 1997 when the Communists took control of Hong Kong. Jackie has seen it all, from the Shaw Brothers to Golden Harvest; from the greatest of all Hong Kong directors, King Hu, to that smug, overbearing, cigar-smoking individual with a penchant for "bathroom humor and clumsy slapstick"- Lo Wei; from the evil Triads to the elitist clique of the movie stuntmen, who lived in the present because their future didn't even have a wire to hang on to.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Thomas on August 10, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sung, Ju Hwan on January 16, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am a Jackie Chan-crazy Korean fan from my childhood. I have grown up with his movies, & he has always been my hero. Every New Year's Day was the day to meet my best friend in a theater. I even started sutdying martial arts seeing his movies.
Frankly, I didn't like the fact that he wants making movies in US. JC is JC because he makes Jackie Chan movies in 'ASIA', American moviemakers don't know what he costs, what he needs for his movie. We fell for him when he hurts for his movie, & we loved him &his movies. Ironically, JC is loved because he always put himself into 'real' danger.(maybe I'm a little bit sadistic) Of course, he also gives us big laughs, After all, most of US action movies aren't funnier than JC's. Even 'Rush Hour'(US-touched-movie) isn't Jackie Chan Movie, I think. (not as exiting as his HK movie) JC must be JC. He has to make his own movie.
But after reading this book I understand him now. He's 45 years old now, & can't last forever. But he would be able to last much more as an action hero in US with US hi-techs. I want to see him in theater as JACKIE CHAN(the carzy, body-falling, bone-breaking, 'just' him) much longer. Now I read this book, I can see much more about him, share the things with him. You see, 'Everything changes'.
This book is really a fun, warm, worth-reading book. How JC became the biggest star in Asia(even now in Staes), how he went through his childhood, rough days, loves, & his BROTHERS. He didn't describe him as a perfect guy, he also tells us his miserable things, & it makes him much more beatifull. Real life success story, from nobody to Asia's most loved guy to a superstar even in US! I recommend this book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I am a huge Jackie Chan fan. I love all of his movies and thought that this book would be great to read. I was shocked at all that Jackie had been through in his life. Just reading this book made me feel for him, and since I have read this I am trying to see every movie that he has made. This book tells his life story and all of the stuff about his movies that you could not read anywhere else. It has a list of all of the movies that he has made, his top ten stunts, his top ten fights, and the injuries that he has received. I recomend this to anyone who likes Jackie Chan, or to anyone looking for a good book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C.E. Crowder on July 13, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Jackie Chan's book predominantly tells the story of his childhood growing up in Hong Kong, but this does nothing to take away from the end result of having read it; a greater respect for this stuntman, actor, etc. who has changed the face of Asian cinema.
For those who wonder what he could have to say besides listing his injuries, consider these examples: his impressions of working with Bruce Lee; run-ins with the Asian mafia; his insights into differences between Hong Kong and Hollywood film making; and the startling relationship he has with the star of 'Martial Law' that provides a surprise ending.
Far from a 'the making of my movies' book, Jackie Chan offers a person-to-person narrative that sounds like a long, friendly chat with your neighbour.
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