Watch: Learn Nine Principles of Action Comedy from Jackie Chan

December 29, 2014

Jackie Chan

While American audiences mostly know Jackie Chan from his stint in movies like Rush Hour, Shanghai Noon and their sequels, the martial artist is a master of action comedy with huge hits overseas in the Asian marketplace. He's an action icon as revered as Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone in the United States. And while audiences in the United States have limited experience with Chan, they can still learn a lot from his work. Tony Zhou (who has analyzed the work of Edgar Wright and also Martin Scorsese previously) takes a closer look at Chan's mastery of meshing action and comedy for exciting entertainment. Watch it!

Here's Nine Principles of Action Comedy by way of Jackie Chan (via Every Frame a Painting):

For those who want it broken down simply, here's what Tony Zhou tweeted:

When you look at this collection of footage, it's easy to see why Chan an expert in this arena. In addition to doing his own stunts, he knows how to frame scenes so that the action is the star. How he shoots these scenes is just as important as the action within them. The wide angles, extended takes and unbelievable choreography that actually utilizes the environment all come together to make for great action. This is an area where American action films are failing, as fight sequences are overpowered by pecial effects, chopped up with too much editing. It's much better when you can actually see what's happening on the screen.

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ragethorn on Dec 29, 2014


This type of ultra-precise choreographed filmmaking is a dying art....even in Asia, sadly. Jackie Chan is not only a master of action and stunts, he's also a comedic genius.

TheOct8pus on Dec 29, 2014


There are some great movies in Asia, like The Raid, The Raid 2 and Panom Yeerum or Tony Jaa movies. None with Chan Charism, but good and great movies.

ANOTHERDUMUSER on Dec 30, 2014


The Raid, and Tony Jaa movies are the bomb! But unfortunately, more and more filmmakers are resorting to the quick cut fight scenes and CGI. I'm glad there are a few out there still making these impressive movies.

TheOct8pus on Dec 30, 2014


Actually, i think that Western Filmmakers was always like this. As the video shows they care only for the cash and not by the art.

ANOTHERDUMUSER on Dec 30, 2014


Happy to say I knew him before his American crossover, pure legend.

mooreworthy on Dec 29, 2014


He was such a beast in the early days. Are there any out there today, that could be called his equal. I think not.

DAVIDPD on Dec 29, 2014


Not funny as Chan, but have you saw The Raid? i highly recommend!!

ANOTHERDUMUSER on Dec 30, 2014


I think workplace health and safety/ohs had something to do with that.

TK on Dec 30, 2014


Wide angles, no quick shaky camera cuts...that's how it's done.

superultraboy on Dec 29, 2014

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