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Jackie Chan and Classic Hollywood Comedy Movies

Updated on February 10, 2014
NateB11 profile image

I am interested in all things Entertainment, including style, movies, celebrities and TV, action, comedies and sci-fi and even video games.

Jackie Chan visiting the USS Kitty Hawk.
Jackie Chan visiting the USS Kitty Hawk. | Source

So, what are the similarities between Jackie's cinematic spectacles and those old school Hollywood comedian-actor-stuntmen legends?

The difference between a Jackie Chan movie and your standard Bruce Lee martial arts movie is the comedy. While Bruce Lee was about the screams and terrifying operatic faces, Jackie Chan was about reluctantly punching someone, grimacing and shaking the pain off his fist. Bruce Lee was the loner, like an Old West gunfighter, and a terror to his enemy. Jackie Chan, you're not sure he's always going to win, he's the nice guy. We figure nice guys finish last.

But he always gets his second wind and, when he does, it's amazing.

Bruce Lee was the Spaghetti Western of martial arts movies. Jackie Chan is the classic silent movie comedies from Hollywood's old era of legendary comics like Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. Those guys did their own stunts too. Jackie Chan brought back that ethos.

So, what are the similarities between Jackie's cinematic spectacles and those old school Hollywood comedian-actor-stuntmen legends?

Let's find out.

Jackie Chan and Jerry Lewis: Vases

It might not get any more legendary than Jerry Lewis. A skillful and disciplined comic genius, Lewis was a master of physical comedy.

Lewis said he broke a lot of vases practicing a now-classic scene from The Patsy. If you're familiar with Jackie Chan, Lewis' scene will make you think of a scene from Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan's Rush Hour movie.

Let's look at Jerry Lewis in The Patsy first.

Jerry Lewis in The Patsy: Vase Scene

Publicity shot for Jerry Lewis' NBC television show.
Publicity shot for Jerry Lewis' NBC television show. | Source

Here we see Jackie Chan trying to save some priceless vases from accidental destruction as well as from the hands of the criminals that would like to steal them.

Jackie Chan in Rush Hour: Vase Scene

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Jackie Chan and Harold Lloyd: The Clock Scene

Harold Lloyd was daring to say the least. Jackie Chan is well-known for his dangerous and death-defying stunts as well. Harold Lloyd is still famous for the iconic scene in Safety Last! in which the actor seemed to have no regard for his own safety, scaling a tall building using just hands and feet, and putting himself in dangerous situations throughout the scene, with the scene reaching a suspenseful peak with him precariously dangling from a clock near the top of the building. But it doesn't end there, and the scene, honestly, gives me the willies. I'm just wondering how he accomplished this amazing feat and put this brilliant scene together.

Harold Lloyd in Safety Last!: The Clock Scene

Harold Lloyd in Safety Last! in this iconic shot of him hanging from a clock high up on a skyscraper.
Harold Lloyd in Safety Last! in this iconic shot of him hanging from a clock high up on a skyscraper. | Source

Jackie Chan takes it a step further and, though the building is not as tall as Lloyd's downtown Los Angeles skyscraper, Chan takes a fall from the top.

Jackie Chan in Project A: Clock Tower Scene

Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times.
Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times. | Source

Charlie Chaplin and Jackie Chan: Gears of the Machine

Charlie Chaplin was political, humanitarian and made major statements with his movies. In Modern Times he makes the statement that the worker, spirit-broken and controlled, becomes a cog in the industrial machine. He illustrated this well in the movie.

Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times

Jackie Chan celebrated the silent film masters in his movie Project A. He paid homage to Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd and Chaplin: Included was a tribute to Chaplin's famous scene in the gears of the industrial machine.

Jackie Chan brings a message to the people with his films, that nice guys do alright in the end, and that violence and fighting really aren't cool. He's never gratuitous and, rather, shows incredible skill and bravery in an intelligent fashion, putting together intricate fight scenes and performing well-thought-out stunts.

He has become a comedy and stunt work legend himself; a well-disciplined and skilled acrobat and martial artist, stunt man and actor. Since childhood, Chan has put his blood, sweat and tears into his craft, and it shows. He doesn't mind the danger and the work, just like those old legends of the silent film era and others that belong in the comedy Hall of Fame.

He's brought back that ethic of doing your own work and working it out in detail to deliver to the people something worth watching from someone who cares enough to put the time and energy into well-crafted entertainment.

For this reason, Jackie will be known now in Hollywood history as a comedy genius like Lloyd, Chaplin and Keaton.


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    • NateB11 profile image

      Nathan Bernardo 3 years ago from California, United States of America

      You're right about that SandCastles, he's really amazing.

    • profile image

      SandCastles 3 years ago

      Jackie Chan does some impressive stunts and no doubles!