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Hong Kong’s celebrated actor, martial artist and stuntman Jackie Chan is notorious for being a one-man show. Throughout the dozens of dangerous stunt scenes the actor has had to film, Chan has performed almost all without the aid of a stunt double (though it has caused him a serious brain injury on the set of 1986’s Armour of God and, on other films, broken fingers, toes, ribs, hips and more).
To commemorate the actor’s 61st birthday, THR takes a look at seven of Chan’s greatest film stunts.
1. Police Story
1985’s Police Story, the first installment of the popular Hong Kong franchise, saw Chan perform a number of stunts in a mall — crashing through store displays and fighting enemies on top of moving escalators. At the end of the film’s central fight scene, Chan slides down four stories from a metal pole covered in decorative lights and shatters a large pane of glass as he lands. He suffered second-degree burns and a back injury and dislocated his pelvis while filming this particular stunt.
2. Project A
For a scene in 1983’s action comedy Project A, Chan hung from the hands of a clock tower and fell through two storefront canopies before hitting the ground. While filming the movie, the actor broke his nose for the second time (he had previously broken it on the set of 1980’s Young Master).
3. Who Am I?
In the 1998 action film co-written and co-directed by Chan himself, the actor slides down a 21-story skyscraper without the help of a safety harness. Chan even manages to get up on his feet and run a few steps down the side of the building. An ankle injury resulted in Chan’s filming of Who Am I?
4. Armour of God
Chan suffered the worst injury of his career while filming a scene from the Hong Kong comedy Armour of God in 1986. As he jumped from a wall to a tree branch below, Chan missed the branch and fell head-first onto the ground, causing his skull to crack. The actor was rushed into emergency brain surgery following the stunt.
5. New Police Story
Chan’s most action-packed stunt scene in 2004’s New Police Story is performed on top of a moving bus. He narrowly escapes being crushed by massive billboard signs as he swiftly maneuvers across the roof of the vehicle while standing on his two feet.
6. The Legend of Drunken Master
In the sequel to 1978’s Drunken Master, Chan crab walks across a bed of burning hot coal during a fight sequence that takes place in a steel factory. He suffered an injury to his eyebrow bone while filming the movie, almost causing him to go blind.
7. Police Story 3: Supercop
The third installment of the Police Story franchise, released in 1992, sees Chan jump from the roof of a building to a rope ladder hanging from a hovering helicopter. The actor swings across the city at high speeds and just barely escapes run-ins with high-rise buildings. Chan dislocated his cheekbone while filming Police Story 3: Supercop.
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