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Jackie Chan explains a stunt in Police Story

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  • Jackie Chan explains a stunt in Police Story

    I first met Jackie on "Cannonball Run". He had a very minor role and I don't believe he could speak any English at that time. However, he is such a natural born clown he had everybody laughing the little bit of time he was on the set. At that time I had never seen a Jackie Chan movie. Later I became a big fan of his after watching "Drunken Master" on laser disc.

    Years later I met him again on "Rush Hour". By then he could hold a conversation with you as long as you spoke slowly. I had to ask him about the outtakes at the end of his films. Watching them is like watching kids do stunts on skateboards you know that someone got hurt. I have always thought that the girl in "Police Story" that went from a cliff to a moving train on a motorcycle was the most courageous stunt ever performed in a movie. Especially when you watch the outtakes and see how many times the stunt failed.

    For those of you that don't know, Jackie's parents were so poor that when he was born they gave him to the Doctor that delivered him. The Doctor then gave Jackie to the school that trains all the Chinese circus acrobats and gymnists. Growing up there was a harsh disciplined existence. Absolute obedience was part of the life there. If they told you to sit for hours without moving, that was what you did. Jackie quickly became the best student in the school. Because he had "a funny face" he was groomed for the circus and then for comedic roles in Chinese movies. His career was not a choice.

    Jackie has no martial arts skills. He is a great dancer and acrobat that imitates martial art masters. In fact, because so many people think that he is an expert he has to travel with a body guard otherwise there is a endless number of fools that want to challenge him.

    Trust me, his body guard is not someone to mess with. I assume at this point his body guard has changed because the guy I met would be to old now. The one I met grew up as an orphan on the docks of Hong Kong. One scary existence for a child. His life is a movie in itself. He was taken in by a Martial Arts Instructor and became highly skilled in the real deal, not some Kung Fu school like we have in the states. When I say the real deal, you don't live in that part of Hong Kong without fighting for your very existence on a daily basis. I once asked him what he would do if someone tried to attack Jackie. His answer, "I would reach between their ribs and pull their heart out." No doubt. I often watched him endlessly strike a large piece of wood with his fist. Finally I had to ask him what the point was. "If someone hit you in the face with a tennis ball would it hurt?", he asked. "Not really." I answered. "How about if they hit you in the face with a hammer?", he inquired. "That would do the trick." I answered back. Pointing to his fist he said,"Hammer." Then he punched me in the arm. No more of a punch than you would jokingly do to a friend. The only difference was it immediately took me to my knees in pain with involuntary tears in my eyes. I am certainly no hardened fighter but, I am no pussy either. It felt like someone struck my deltoid muscle with a ball peen hammer and it left a bruise for weeks.

    Jackie is one of the kindest, most considerate people that I have ever met. And, he loves to tell a story. He told us that when he watched Terminator and saw Arnold ride a motorcycle off a freeway bridge to land it on a car he wanted to duplicate it. That was where the idea came from to ride a motorcycle off a cliff onto a moving train. Adam Greenberg was the cameraman on Terminator and also on the movie we were working on as Jackie told his story. Adam said, "But Jackie, Arnold never rode that motorcycle off of a bridge. Nor did any stunt man. It was done in a series of cuts in front of a green screen." Jackie said that he knew that, now. But, at the time when they saw a stunt in an American film they thought they were real. If American stuntmen could do it then they figured that they should be able to do it also. It is a wonder that the stunt girl that landed her motorcycle on the train isn't dead.
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