Mimicry as Failure: Jackie Chan in Hollywood

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This article examines the life and career of Jackie Chan, and his position as a transnational cinematic superstar. Part of Chan's success lies in his ability to morph, sometimes in subtle ways, to keep pace with audiences’ changing demands and their shifting demographics, while maintaining his highly appealing star persona that he has cultivated through the years. This formula has not only enabled Chan to remain one of Asia’s top action superstars, but has also allowed him to build a substantial fan base in the United States, since the success of Rush Hour (1998). The following article will examine Chan's place in the capitalist machinery of the Hong Kong film industry, arguing that Chan's films invoke issues of cultural, national, and racial identities that resonate with his viewers’ concerns, exemplifying what globalization theorists have characterized as the capitalist deployment of the local in the global.

Keywords: Hollywood; Hong Kong film industry; Jackie Chan; globalization; social and cultural politics

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ac.15.2.84_1

Publication date: September 1, 2004

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  • Asian Cinema is a seminal journal, which has been published since 1995 by the Asian Cinema Studies Society under the stewardship of Professor John Lent. From 2012 Asian Cinema will be published by Intellect as part of our Film Studies journal portfolio. The journal currently publishes a variety of scholarly material - including research articles, interviews, book and film reviews and bibliographies - on all forms and aspects of Asian cinema. The journal's broad aim is to advance understanding and knowledge of the rich traditions of the various Asian cinemas, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the field of Film Studies in general.
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