Features and Columns · Movies

Jackie Chan and the Fine Art of Taking a Hit

Most action stars are worried about taking a hit and appearing weak. But most action stars aren’t Jackie Chan.
Police Story Jackie Chan action
Golden Harvest
By  · Published on February 1st, 2021

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay about how, and why, Jackie Chan takes so many hits in action sequences.

It is unfair, for a multitude of reasons, to compare Jackie Chan to other action stars. But I’m going to do it anyway.

Or, rather, I’m going to harp on a critical ingredient of makes Jackie Chan so special. Namely: his willingness to take a beating. I say “willingness” because, these days, Hollywood action stars seem terribly afraid of looking anything but invincible. Just look at the Fast and Furious franchise. They’ve literally signed contracts stipulating that they can’t lose fights.

I don’t mean to imply that all modern action suffers this way. I’m on record arguing that one of the reasons the Mission: Impossible films work is because Tom Cruise is happy to scramble, stumble, and get punched in the throat. But I do think generally in the genre, egos tend to get in the way of what serves the action, and by extension, the story.

Not only is Jackie Chan happy to be on the receiving end of a devastating punch, he repeatedly demonstrates that taking a hit well is an art form unto itself. Good hits tell a story, one that requires mindful editing and committed performances to pull off. And as the video essay below explains, Jackie Chan understands that pain serves a purpose: that a struggle doesn’t make you weak; it makes you relatable.

Watch “How Jackie Chan Takes a Hit“:

Who made this?

This video was created by Accented Cinema, a Canadian-based YouTube video essay series with a focus on foreign cinema. You can subscribe to Accented Cinema for bi-weekly uploads here. You can follow them on Twitter here.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).