After opening on the 20th of July in China, Jackie Chan’s latest blockbuster quickly became the highest grossing movie in his career, grossing $14.7 million on its opening. This is saying something, as Chan’s career spans 50 years in which he has made over 150 films.
The movie, Skiptrace, is a Chinese tourist guide (it features the urban Macau and Hong Kong, the Gobi Desert, the Mongolian grasslands, the Yellow River and mountain ranges, in addition to international locales) and action comedy rolled into one.
Chan was inspired by films like Midnight Run (Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin) and had apparently wanted to do something like this for at least 20 years. Also behind the film was The Karate Kid, a film starring himself and Jaden Smith, which had some amazing camera work.
It shows Jackie Chan (as Hong Kong detective Bennie Chan) travel the length and breadth of the terrain with Johnny Knoxville, who plays an American gambler, Connor Watts.
The premise of the movie is pretty simple, having Chan’s goddaughter getting on the wrong side of Victor Wong, a notorious criminal whom Chan had been trying to get hold of for over a decade. Watts is indirectly involved in all this and has a lot of information that can be used against Wong.
While employing done-to-death clichés about the west meeting the east which remind us of the movies made in the 1980s and the 1990s, it nevertheless can hold on to the evergreen appeal of the buddy comedy. And this is a major factor contributing to its success.
Fan Bingbing, of X-Men: Days of the Future Past fame and one of the most famous Chinese actresses at present, stars as Samantha in the film. And this is not the only reason that Bingbing is one of the trending topics.
In spite of its phenomenal success, Skiptrace failed to retain the top spot over its first weekend as another Bingbing movie, League of Gods, toppled it. Nevertheless, these two movies put all the other blockbusters, like Legend of Tarzan, and the Japanese animation Doraemon, Nobita and the Birth of Japan far behind.
In other news, Jackie Chan thrilled his Australian fans with his first public speech in the country, titled ‘Jackie Chan in Conversation’ at the Sydney Opera House. This is significant since he spent a considerable portion of his childhood in Australia.
The actor is currently in Australia for the shooting of Bleeding Steel, which is his first sci-fi film, and which is also his first film to be shot in the country after Mr. Nice Guy (1996), which was shot in Melbourne. This is also to be the costliest Chinese film to be shot there.
In this movie Chan, as special agent Li, will be fighting to protect a young woman who is a key witness, but then things take a bad turn.
In his speech, Chan said that it was very difficult for him to adjust to Canberra after the crowded Hong Kong, all the more so because he did not know a word of English. He had come to the country when he was just thirteen.
He said that his father used to leave him with money for food daily at the shopping mall before going off to work. Not knowing the language, it was extremely difficult for him to communicate, and he had to use hand and facial gestures to convey the little he could.
This more often than not left him starving by the time his father came to pick him up. And that ultimately made him determined to learn the language, which he could do once his father enrolled him in a government school.