The Myth (2005)

The Myth [神話] (2005)
AKA Jackie Chan’s The Myth

Starring Jackie Chan, Kim Hee-Sun, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Yu Rong-Guang, Sun Zhou, Maggie Lau Sze-Wai, Mallika Sherawat, Ken Lo, Patrick Tam Yiu-Man, Shao Bing, Ken Wong Hop-Hey, Jin Song, Yuen Tak, Hayama Hiro, Chan Sek, Park Hyun-Jin, Yao Wei-Xing, Choi Min-Soo, Ram Gopal Bajaj, Sudanshu Pandde

Directed by Stanley Tong

Expectations: Low, but hopeful.


One day in 2005 or 2006, I happened upon a Chinese DVD (without English subs) of The Myth in my library. Based on the cover art, I assumed that The Myth was a straight historical drama. Intrigued, I took it home to see if it had any fights. I scanned through the film quickly, didn’t see any, and then wrote the movie off until now. Imagine my surprise when I actually sat down to watch the film and I discovered that there is a wealth of action contained within it! And it’s really fun, entertaining, Jackie-style Jackie Chan action! Whoa!

The Myth begins during the Qin Dynasty, as General Meng Yi (Jackie Chan) receives a Korean princess, Ok-Soo (Kim Hee-Sun), who is to marry the ailing Qin emperor. During the handover, a Korean warrior attempts to kidnap Ok-Soo, but Meng Yi ain’t havin’ none of that. They clash in epic fashion, but Meng and OK-Soo become separated from the troops when they fall into a river fall below. As they hit the water, we are whisked to the future, as the respected archaeologist Jack Chan (Jackie Chan) awakes from a dream. This isn’t his first dream of the princess and a Qin Dynasty version of himself, and this troubles him greatly. As luck would have it, his next assignment — helping his friend William (Tony Leung Ka-Fai) uncover the secret of a levitating mystic in India — will shed a lot of light on these dreams. Who woulda thought it? It’s like a movie or something!

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New Police Story (2004)

New Police Story [新警察故事] (2004)

Starring Jackie Chan, Nicholas Tse, Charlie Yeung, Charlene Choi Cheuk-Yin, Daniel Wu, Dave Wong Kit, Andy On, Terence Yin Chi-Wai, Hayama Hiro, Coco Chiang Yi, Ken Lo, Yu Rong-Guang

Directed by Benny Chan

Expectations: Low.


Titling this film New Police Story evokes memories of Jackie’s successful series of films than ran through the ’80s and ’90s, but the “new” indicates that it’s a reboot or otherwise unrelated. It’s true, Jackie doesn’t play the loose Chan Ka-Kui character, and this film’s character is almost a polar opposite to Ka-Kui’s reckless, Supercop spirit. Jackie plays Senior Inspector Chan Kwok-Wing, a straight-laced man who gets the job done through discipline, strong leadership and efficiency. With a lead character like this, the film takes on a seriousness that none of the Police Story films carry, but anyone who has seen Crime Story will recognize the tone. So a more apt title might be New Crime Story, which is ironic since Crime Story was released in Japan under the title New Police Story. Confused yet? Anyway, what matters is that New Police Story is more Crime Story than Police Story, something that’s not readily apparent thanks to the title. I guess Hollywood isn’t the only film market to title based on name recognition.

A group of young thugs rob a bank in wild fashion, specifically asking for the police to be called when they finish gathering the money. Instead of swiftly making a getaway, they stick around to confront the policemen, seeing the situation as a game, complete with points for kills & property damage. After causing massive casualties, the robbers escape, and now Senior Inspector Chan Kwok-Wing, the force’s most successful investigator, is tasked with finding their hideout and bringing them to justice. He’s so confident in his abilities and those of his men that he brags about catching them within three hours, but when the assault on their hideout is launched, literally everything that could go wrong does. Chan is the staunch veteran going up against the youthful new breed of criminal; New Police Story could also be called No Hong Kong for Old Men. 🙂

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Shanghai Noon (2000)

Shanghai Noon (2000)
AKA Shanghai Kid, Shaolin Cowboy

Starring Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Lucy Liu, Brandon Merrill, Roger Yuan, Xander Berkeley, Yu Rong-Guang, Jason Connery, Walton Goggins, Adrien Dorval, Rafael Báez, Stacy Grant, Kate Luyben

Directed by Tom Dey

Expectations: Moderate.


From where I’m sitting, the years have not been kind to Shanghai Noon. I initially saw it upon its original home video release, and I remember liking well enough to carry a positive memory around with me in the intervening years. Seeing it in relative close proximity to some truly great Jackie films, though, Shanghai Noon feels neutered and missing so much of the “it factor” that makes Jackie unique. The action is minimal and not satisfying at all, though to be fair Shanghai Noon is trying its best to be a comedy more than anything else. This becomes a problem when you’re not laughing along with the movie, because there’s literally nothing else to carry the film (other than every western genre cliche you can imagine).

Jackie plays Chon Wang, an Imperial Guard who is friendly with Princess Pei Pei (Lucy Liu) and feels responsible when she is kidnapped and taken to America. So along with a trio of uptight guards, Jackie makes his way to the land of cowboys and golden dreams to begin his search. Initially he finds it a bit hard, running into a bumbling gang of train thieves led by Roy O’Bannon (Owen Wilson). But to be honest, the plot of Shanghai Noon isn’t of much concern; it’s more about the comedy of the two lead characters coming together and dealing with situation after situation of bad luck.

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Little Big Soldier (2010)

Little Big Soldier [大兵小將] (2010)
AKA Big Soldier, Little General, Junior Soldiers, The Big Soldier

Starring Jackie Chan, Wang Lee-Hom, Steve Yoo Seung-Jun, Lin Peng, Do Yuk-Ming, Ken Lo, Yu Rong-Guang, Jin Song, Xu Dong-Mei, Wu Yue, Wang Bao-Qiang, Niu Ben

Directed by Ding Sheng

Expectations: Low. Late-period Jackie Chan isn’t usually all that great.


Little Big Soldier has been a film close to Jackie Chan’s heart for roughly twenty years. It languished in development hell since the late 80s for some reason, probably the fact that at its core it’s not really a martial arts film. This is more of Jackie in a dramatic role than a straight action picture, although there is a lot of room for his distinct blend of action and comedy to burst forth. Who knows what might have been if this had been made when it was conceived (or what classic film we might not have), but I’m here to report that Little Big Soldier is pretty good. It’s not going to set your world on fire, nor will it become a modern-day classic Jackie film (like I’m hoping his latest Chinese Zodiac will be). It is simply a fun little road movie with flashes of excellent action and choreography.

The film opens on the aftermath of a huge battle between Liang and Wei forces. Jackie is the lone remaining Liang soldier, and while scouring the battlefield he finds that the Wei general has been wounded, but is still very much alive. The reward for the capture and return of a live enemy general is five acres of land and freedom from conscription, so Jackie ropes him up and the grand adventure home begins.

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The Karate Kid (2010)

The Karate Kid (2010)
AKA The Kung Fu Dream [in Chinese markets]

Starring Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan, Taraji P. Henson, Wang Zhenwei, Yu Rong-Guang, Han Wen Wen, Xu Ming, Wang Ji, Luke Carberry

Directed by Harald Zwart

Expectations: Low.


I hadn’t planned to watch this, but the opportunity presented itself without any effort on my part and I took the bullet so you guys wouldn’t have to if you didn’t want to. The story here follows the same basic beats as the original: Mother and boy move a great distance to a new place where bullies thrive and said boy resorts to learning martial arts from the maintenance man, who has a way of teaching through everyday tasks. Thankfully this version of the film doesn’t try to emulate the same tasks, instead inventing a “Put on the jacket, Take off the jacket” thing that actually works pretty well despite my best intentions to hate it. When Jackie Chan finally decides to unleash the martial power of this seemingly minor act, the resulting scene is pretty enjoyable and is probably the best in the film.

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