“I was looking to make a change”: Jackie Chan Invented Brand New Martial Arts Form After Being Frustrated With Becoming Next Bruce Lee

Jackie Chan Invented Brand New Martial Arts Form After Being Frustrated With Becoming Next Bruce Lee
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Jackie Chan is considered one of the best international action stars that the world has ever seen, but in the early 70s when he was only starting to make a name for himself, his fame and success were quite uncertain.

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Jackie Chan Drunken Master
Jackie Chan in Drunken Master

The legendary Bruce Lee forever changed the realm of the Hong Kong movie industry, and his passing caused a massive dent and a huge void that was difficult to fill. Chan, who has worked with Lee in some of his previous films, was one of the major aspirants.

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Jackie Chan Reveals The Secret To His Drunk Moves In Drunken Master

In an interview with South China Morning Post, Rush Hour actor Jackie Chan revealed how he established his own name in the industry through his unique style. After working on several movies with filmmaker Lo Wei, Chan got tired of just becoming a shadow of Bruce Lee. His collaboration with Yeun Woo-ping shaped his now trademark known as action-comedy.

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Chan used the same style when he appeared in the 1978 film Drunken Master. This would see the actor become a renowned figure in Asia, though the behind-the-scenes of the making of this project was not all glitz and glamour.

As a man of dedication, Chan did not only choreograph his moves in the film but also went to extreme lengths to fully embody his character. He said in the interview:

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When everyone was sleeping after shooting, I would go home and try things out in front of the mirror. I kept thinking, how can I fight properly and look like I am drunk?

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Jackie Chan 2 Drunken Master
Jackie Chan in Drunken Master

The action star admitted the process was quite difficult, though not impossible to perform. After spending hours on end trying to act wasted, Chan found a secret method to channel his inner drunkenness on camera:

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I held my breath when I was punching – that made me feel very dizzy like I was drunk. That was tough to do, and I did it every day for three months. One day, I held my breath for too long and fell over. I had to do it for more than one take, remember – the fighting scenes need 20 takes or 30 takes.”

Because of this ingenious but dangerous technique, Drunken Master became a smash hit, spawning a sequel that would ultimately propel Chan to becoming a certified action star and a whole different figure from the late Bruce Lee.

RELATED: “I stole from Hollywood movies”: Jackie Chan Admitted to Blatantly Copying From Legendary Actor Who Was the Reason Behind Superman’s Alter Ego in DC Comics

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Jackie Chan Felt Frustrated Living In The Shadow Of Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee

In the same interview, Jackie Chan admitted that Lo Wei used to hinder his creative instincts and tried to turn him into another Bruce Lee. At that time, the Vanguard star was a fresh face who just entered the industry and had to do as he was told. He became frustrated with this treatment:

I had a different style to Bruce, my own style, so that wasn’t working, and I was looking to make a change.”

This realization was the start of Chan’s illustrious and prolific career in movies. Working with up-and-coming director Yuen Woo-ping was a relief for him as the filmmaker just went with the flow and took Chan’s suggestion to make a comedy.

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What sets Jackie Chan apart from other action stars is his willingness to embarrass himself to entertain people. He was able to show the audience that martial arts movies can be funny as well. Upon discovering his niche in the industry, Chan was able to build his own empire and was no longer living in someone else’s shadow.

Drunken Master is available to watch on Vudu.

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Source: South China Morning Post

RELATED: “I cannot continue like this, so I gave up”: Jackie Chan Wanted to Quit Hollywood As No One Cared About Him Putting His Life on the Line For Breathtaking Action Sequences

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Written by Ariane Cruz

Ariane Cruz, Senior Writer. She has been contributing articles for FandomWire since 2021, mostly covering stories about geek pop culture. With a degree in Communication Arts, she has an in-depth knowledge of print and broadcast journalism. Her other works can also be seen on Screen Rant and CBR.