I have developed a deep appreciation and love for Jackie Chan’s work. Z-boy and I have been exploring Kung Fu movies since he’s gotten into Karate. I had suspected that Jackie Chan movies would appeal to Z the most due to their comedy (which is pretty much the only thing I did know about his work). The first movie we tried to watch was Super Cop (1992), but Z didn’t like it because of all the guns and explosions. So I switched to the other Jackie Chan movie that was available on Netflix that I’d actually heard of – Legend of the Drunken Master (1994). I was surprised by how good it was – I had this idea in my head that Jackie Chan would be too goofy and stupid to enjoy – how wrong I was! We both absolutely loved it, we loved the goofy slapstick and the amazing artistry of the fight scenes. Z gets really into movies, to the point where he’s kicking and punching and jumping around with the action on screen. Legend of the Drunken Master had him doing all that as well as doubling over in fits of hysterics. Big win!
Later, we watched the original Drunken Master (1978). While the fight scenes were not as impressive as the later version, it was still a great deal of fun and we enjoyed it. It also served as a “teachable moment” – Chan’s character, the young Wong Fei-Hung, is a wastrel in need of discipline and direction, and as such, is portrayed as very whiny and petulant. I have no idea how annoyingly whiny he is in Chinese, but the English voice dubbing actor whined and whinged almost constantly through many scenes. So I asked Z if his whining was really annoying, and he said “oh yeah, he’s a spoiled brat, isn’t he?” Yes he is! Did you know that that’s what you sound like sometimes? Do you really want to sound like a whiny spoiled brat like the young Fei-Hung? “No…”
I think Z can really connect with a lot of Jackie Chan’s characters, and the man himself seems like a decent sort of bloke for the most part. So I’m happy to have more Jackie Chan around for my son, as a source of inspiration for his training, as well as for life in general. Thus, Jackie Chan is our Spirit Guide.
(And lucky me, while Z is gone visiting his grandparents, I get to preview his films!!!! It is simply too much fun, and I’m so excited to watch them with him! Watch this space for suggestions and reviews of martial arts films you can watch with kids!)