Jackie Chan is perhaps the biggest Asian mega-star many Americans have never heard of. If American audiences do recognize his name, it is most often for comedic, martial arts/buddy films such as Shanghai Noon and Rush Hour. Western audiences more familiar with Chan’s film work also will recognize him from classic martial arts films such as Drunken Master I and II or Police Story 3: Supercop. Chan trained from age 10 to perform Peking Opera, and his films portray a type of hero drawn from the conventions of that highly ritualized tradition: comedic, morally centered, and despite the amazing martial arts feats at the core of his performances, non-violent.
This presentation will examine the characteristics of the heroic tradition in Peking Opera, as performed by Jackie Chan in film, in order to provide the audience with a new lens through which to view the western heroic tradition, as represented in classic western texts such as Homer’s Iliad and Milton’s Paradise Lost.
“Between the Lines” is a lecture series presented by the faculty members of the English, Humanities and Language Studies Department at ICC. The goal of the series is to offer literary presentations that will interest students and people in the community, as well as promote reading literacy and scholarly study.