By Jackie Chan
This is a sequel to Jackie’s autobiography “I Am Jackie Chan” (1999) after he made “Who Am I?” and the US hit “Rush Hour” which grossed $244 million.
I enjoyed the first bio wherein US journalist Jeff Yang detailed Jackie’s school struggles, mischief, and the rigid decade of training under his Master at the Academy. It’s shocking how rigorously Jackie learned martial arts, acrobatics, singing, and performing. That’s why he’s so talented.
This memoir is an update to the 2015 edition. It begins with Jackie’s honorary Academy Award for lifetime achievement (2016). He also has two Guinness World Records for Most Stunts by a Living Actor and Most Credits (15) in a Single Movie.
Jackie, now 65, is an international actor and producer, with various global businesses and charitable works. He is worth $395 million.
Originally billed as the next Bruce Lee, Jackie disliked trying to be a tough lethal lead. He failed trying to fill the void left by the famous Lee.
When he was given the chance, Jackie played the opposite persona—a regular good guy who gets into unfortunate situations. He uses his martial arts and regular objects to defend himself and save others with fun and flair.
It has been 40 years since Jackie established his signature Kung fu comedy in Drunken Master. He worked hard and made three attempts to break into Hollywood.
“After fifteen years of hard training, I was an overnight success.”
Unlike most action stars, he didn’t use guns nor lethal force. He looked honestly scared and hurt, which made him so likable.
“We don’t ask why, we just do or die.” That’s his stunt team’s motto.
They built a reputation for death-defying stunts without safety nets and numerous near-fatal injuries. Jackie’s reckless stunts have broken nearly every bone in his body—as detailed in pages 124-126.
“Even if I break an arm or a leg, I won’t regret having done the jump. That’s who I am. I take full responsibility for every one of my films, and I take everything I do seriously. It wasn’t easy for me to get from where I started, doing odd jobs on set or playing a corpse as a teenager, to having my own empire with people actually listening to what I say. So I hate it when people aren’t serious about their work.”
This memoir is an easy read; like sitting down to tea with Jackie as he reminisces on his past—with shame for his immaturity and pride in his work.
Fans will relish Jackie’s revelations: how he got his name after several tries; how he dealt with multiple failures; how he strove to differentiate himself as an action star; and how he set the precedent for martial arts in moviemaking.
There are more surprises in the end—when he reveals his parents’ origins (which he only later found out) and his scary scrapes with the mafia and fans.
Named Chan Kong-Sang, a teacher said “That name won’t do. We’ll call you Steven.” are just some of the fun stuff Jackie shares.
In 35 chapters and 50 pictures, Jackie recounts little-known facts that contrast his good guy image: he ignored his studies that now he can hardly read or write; he used to be a bully; he broke his first love’s heart; he had a fling; he was an absent father; and he was a compulsive gambler, collector, and spender.
“I often refer to myself as an oaf, but for many years now, I’ve learned as much as I can, and I keep trying to correct my mistakes and better myself. I hope young people will make the most of their potential and hit the books, or they might regret slacking off, like I do.”
Jackie continues to use his success to feature rising stars, help disaster victims worldwide, support worthy causes, and preserve Chinese culture.
“Money isn’t important, but doing and leaving something good behind in the world is.”
By Ivy Lopez