The arrival of a new Jackie Chan trailer hasn’t really been something worth noting for a while now as the past decade of his career has been heavy with (mostly) inferior Hollywood productions. His hometown productions fared better with films like New Police Story, Little Big Soldier and Shaolin offering up some solid action alongside stronger than usual stories.

But now we’ve gotten a one-two punch of Chan-related news, and both parts are equally interesting… ven if only the second half is actually welcome.

Chan has announced that he’s retiring from action films. Or at least, he won’t be taking lead roles in big action movies anymore.

I’ve been fighting and doing action films all my life, you’ve got to find a point to stop. With this movie I’m the director, I’m the writer, I’m the producer. So okay, I think it’s a good time to announce that it’s my last big action movie. I would still do action movies but not a big one like this.”

Chinese Zodiac follows the adventures of a renowned thief/treasure hunter who’s searching for a set of ancient Chinese sculptures crafted in the likeness of the zodiac animals. The trailer fails to mention it, but Chan has previously disclosed that this is in fact the long-awaited third film in his absolutely kick-ass Armour of God series (aka Operation Condor series here in the US).

Check out the trailer for what appears to be Chan’s final all-out action movie.

Looks like fun, and I for one am glad he’s going out with one of his own Hong Kong productions instead of a Hollywood movie with Chan playing a small-town dog catcher who’s mistaken for Carlos the Jackal and then has a series of wacky misadventures while trying to clear his name.

Chan is 58 years old, but even though the movie obviously features wire work and more editing the action and fights here look to be plenty entertaining. No one should begrudge the guy wanting to get out of the game, and the argument could easily be made that he’s retiring from big action films several years too late, but any fan of his brilliant early career should be thrilled at the return of Asian Hawk. The Armour of God films (along with his Project A movies, his Police Story film series, several stand-alone movies and even his brief appearances in the Lucky Stars films) long ago established him as a legend in the martial arts film world with action/fight scenes that leave viewers with jaws hanging.

He’s quoted as saying he wants to focus on serious acting so he can be more like a Robert De Niro type, and while that earned some laughs you only have to look at films like Little Fockers, Righteous Kill and 15 Minutes to know that Chan should actually aim higher. But seriously, Chan has delivered some strong performances before (see Shinjuku Incident for a good example), and it will be interesting to see him focus all of his abundant energy in that direction.

Chinese Zodiac hits international theaters on December 12th, but there’s no word yet on a US distribution deal. Which is precisely why I have an all-region Blu-ray player…


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