Book Reviews Reviews

Who is Jackie Chan?

Written by ceditor

There are two kinds of superheroes — those who beat the bad guys on screen and those who defy the odds to achieve success in real life. Hollywood action star Jackie Chan belongs to the second category and the book Who is Jackie Chan? explains to readers how he did the unthinkable and became one of the most loved actors in the world, despite being born poor.

You may have seen him in The Karate Kid or in the Rush Hour franchise, but you don’t know the struggle Jackie had to go through in his youth. Like the two aforementioned films, Jackie used to be a sort of The Karate Kid in his youth who faced the struggles his character did in the first Rush Hour. According to this book, he found out at a very early age that he wasn’t good in studies, and that’s where his parents came in, who sent him to a China Drama Academy where Jackie learned everything about discipline, respect and, above all, martial arts, which would help him make a successful career in films.

If you didn’t know that Jackie Chan once performed in a film starring the legendary action star Bruce Lee, had to endure countless injuries to stamp his authority in Hong Kong cinemas, or has a parallel career as a successful singer, then you need to read this book. It mentions that Jackie Chan’s original name was Chan Kong-sang and how he became Jackie, it discusses how he struggled to make his mark as a comic action star in Hong Kong and later in Hollywood, how he overcame his inability to speak English and why is he opposed the use of computer graphics in his films.

The narration in this book is so simple that you will not need a glossary, a thesaurus or a dictionary to understand the text. The breaks in the narration explain certain things, like the history of China, the Hong Kong cinema, Jackie’s favourite actors, as well as the many stunts that made him a household name around the world. It also talks about many of his films — both in Hong Kong and Hollywood — and what made them popular worldwide.

The book might not have any pictures of Jackie Chan, but the wonderfully done illustrations do the trick here, going through which seems like you are watching an animation instead of illustrations. Fans of the great actor would also understand through this book that had he not struggled, he might never have made it big. He had belief in himself, as did his parents, and that’s what counted the most. If Jackie Chan could do it without understanding English, without knowing anyone in the alien country, and without having a proper American name, so can you!

Omair Alavi – Voice of America

About the author