Jackie Chan: The Last Kick

Jackie’s lat­est star­rer, Chi­nese Zo­diac (bot­tom), brought to Filipino fans by Star Cin­ema, marks his fi­nal bow as an ac­tion star. ‘It’s my New Year treat to my fans around the world,’ he says as he wel­comes the Year of Water Snake that starts on Feb. 1

The Philippine Star - - ENTERTAINMENT - with Ricky Lo

“I am stand­ing in the sky on the roof of a glass-and-steel of­fice tower in Rot­ter­dam, Hol­land. There are 21 floors of air be­tween me and the con­crete pave­ment be­low. I am about to do what I do best. I am about to jump.”

That’s Jackie Chan quoted (movie not men­tioned) in the in­side front cover of his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy I Am Jackie Chan (pub­lished in 1998). Of course, as his fans around the world know, Jackie has jumped and done all other death-de­fy­ing stunts in all of his movies, one of them, in Ar­mour of God (1986), al­most sent him to King­dom Come.

In his book, Jackie (who suf­fered from brain hem­or­rhage) re­called, “This movie al­most killed me! In a se­quence shot in Yu­goslavia, I fell from a tree while at­tempt­ing a rou­tine stunt and landed on some rocks which punc­tured my skull. I was rushed to the hospi­tal, they did some surgery, and now I have a plas­tic plug in my head.”

Twelve years af­ter that ac­ci­dent, in 1998, when I first in­ter­viewed Jackie in New York for Rush Hour, his first solo Hol­ly­wood star­rer (af­ter Bat­tle Creek Brawl, his Hol­ly­wood de­but in 1980, fol­lowed by a few more in­clud­ing the two Can­non­ball Run flicks in quick suc­ces­sion), I asked Jackie if the hole on his head was still there. He took my hand and guided it to the back of his head and sure enough, it was there… like the ten­der spot on the head of a newly-born baby. For a while, I was afraid that my fin­ger would sink into it.

Since then, I have in­ter­viewed Jackie five more times (once in Hong Kong) and al­ways, he was phys­i­cally ex­pres­sive, com­pen­sat­ing for loss of words by demon­strat­ing what he meant, even if he had to stand on top of a ta­ble to do a fly­ing kick. Funny guy, him! Al­ways down-to-earth, ac­ces­si­ble, never show­ing even the slight­est sign of air-head­ed­ness

That’s what Jackie Chan says in the chap­ter ti­tled My Aches and Pains of his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy (pic­tured, in which he de­scribes in de­tail that near-fa­tal ac­ci­dent dur­ing the Ar­mour of God shoot in Yu­goslavia):

“I was still re­cov­er­ing from the jet lag of fly­ing 24 hours to get there. The stunt was sim­ple — just jump­ing down from a cas­tle wall to a tree be­low. The first time I tried it, the stunt went per­fectly, but I wasn’t sat­is­fied with the take. I tried it again, and the sec­ond time, I some­how missed the branch I was try­ing to grab. Whish! I fell past the tree and onto the ground be­low. Ac­tu­ally, there was a cam­era­man down there try­ing to cap­ture a low an­gle, and if he hadn’t scram­bled out of the way, I would have prob­a­bly landed on him. We would both have been hurt, but not badly. In­stead, I hit the rocky ground head first. A piece of my skull cracked and shot up unto my brain, and blood poured from my ears. The pro­duc­tion team quickly got on the phones to try to find the near­est hospi­tal that could do emer­gency brain surgery, and eight hours later, I was go­ing un­der the knife. The op­er­a­tion was suc­cess­ful, and I re­cov­ered quickly — even though there’s a per­ma­nent hole in my head now, with a plas­tic plug there to keep my brains in.”

In the same chap­ter, Jackie enu­mer­ated some of his other (less) se­ri­ous in­juries, to wit:

Other than the brain hem­or­rhage I suf­fered on Ar­mour of God, I’ve hit my head and in­jured it many times. I was ac­tu­ally knocked com­pletely un­con­scious while work­ing as a stunt­man on Hand of Death.

The Ar­mour of God fall also left me hard-of-hear­ing in one ear.

On Drunken Master, my brow ridge was in­jured, and I nearly lost an eye.

You’d think that Some­one Up There had it in for me and my nose! It’s bad enough that it’s so big to be­gin with, but I’ve ac­tu­ally bro­ken it at least three times — on The Young Master, Project A, and, most re­cently, Mr. Nice Guy.

While mak­ing Su­per­cop, I dis­lo­cated a cheek­bone. I didn’t even know you could do that.

Hwang Jang Lee is a tremen­dous kicker…as I found out when he kicked out one of my teeth (ac­ci­den­tally) while we were mak­ing Snake in Ea­gle’s Shadow.

I in­jured my chin on Dragon Lord. It was painful even talk­ing for a while. Which made it hard to di­rect, not to men­tion act.

Dur­ing The Young Master, I was al­most suf­fo­cated when I in­jured my throat.

I’ve hurt my neck a lot, but my worst neck in­juries hap­pened dur­ing the clock-tower fall in Project A, and af­ter I messed up a flip dur­ing Mr. Nice.

Dur­ing The Pro­tec­tor, I hurt my hand and fin­ger bones — adding in­jury to in­sult.

While I was shoot­ing a fight scene in Snake in Ea­gle’s Shadow, my arm was ac­ci­den­tally slashed by a sword that should have had a blunted edge. Blood went ev­ery­where, and I fell down scream­ing…and the cam­era kept on rolling! That’s real pain you see in

I dis­lo­cated my shoul­der while mak­ing City Hunter.

the movie!

On Ar­mour of God II: Op­er­a­tion Con­dor, I dis­lo­cated my ster­num af­ter I fell from a hang­ing chain. That’s an­other bone I didn’t know you could dis­lo­cate, but some­how I man­aged to do it.

I’ve had a lot of back in­juries do­ing my movies, but the pole-slide scene in Po­lice Story al­most par­a­lyzed me when I nearly broke the sev­enth and eighth ver­te­brae in my spine.

Also dur­ing the pole-slide stunt, I dis­lo­cated my pelvis. I guess you’re won­der­ing just how many weird bones a per­son can dis­lo­cate. Some­times, it seems like I’ve changed them all.

I crushed my legs while shoot­ing Crime Story, af­ter get­ting caught be­tween two cars.

I’ve hurt my knees so of­ten that I won­der whether there’s even any car­ti­lage left in them. (If you think I run a lit­tle funny, that’s a part of the rea­son why.) It makes any stunt in which I have to jump harder, but I do my best any­way. Would you ex­pect any­thing less? One of my worst in­juries oc­curred dur­ing City Hunter, while I was shoot­ing a skate­board chase.

I broke my an­kle while jump­ing onto a hov­er­craft in Rum­ble in the Bronx. Af­ter the bone was set and a cast was put on, I was told to stay off my feet un­til it healed. But I had a movie to fin­ish! I went back to the set and put a sock on my bro­ken foot, painted to look like a sneaker.

The young

Jackie: A Horse ac­cord­ing to the Chi­nese cal­en­dar (born April 7,



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