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I Am Jackie Chan: My Life in Action
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I Am Jackie Chan: My Life in Action

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  943 ratings  ·  94 reviews
As one of the biggest stars to burst into U.S. theaters, Jackie Chan has wowed audiences with death-defying stunts. But who really is this lightning-fast Charlie Chaplin of martial arts moviemaking? Now, in I Am Jackie Chan, he tells the fascinating, harrowing, ultimately triumphant story of his life: How the rebellious son of refugees in tumultuous 1950s Hong Kong became ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages
Published June 28th 1999 by Ballantine Books (first published 1998)
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This is vastly superior to the typical celebrity biography. The last third of the book, about Jackie Chan's rise to success, is interesting. The best part of this book, however, covers his years of struggle. And, wow, did he struggle.

Jackie Chan was the son of poor, refugee parents in Hong Kong, who fostered him to a Chinese Opera school, a place like a Dickensian orphanage, but with flying spin kicks. His teacher was manipulative and abusive. Chan was beaten a lot, hungry most of the time, and
Philberta Leung
I picked up this Jackie Chan autobiography randomly at my mom's house when I realized I had nothing fun to read while I was doing laundry. To my surprise, I was immediately sucked in, and didn't stop reading until I was done with the entire book a day later. Now, kung fu / martial arts movies are not even remotely close to being my favorite movie genre, but I have to admit, once I finished this book, I was ALMOST itching to rend a Jackie Chan movie. I have now added Drunken Master to my netflix ...more
When Jackie Chan was 8 his parents sold him to the chinese opera where they beat the shit out of him and he learned to do backflips. And he met Sammo Hung who ate all his food. Then later he made kung fu films while fighting triads and also he fought al his producers and established his own character as a goofy unlikely hero guy. awesome.
Can't believe how much I enjoyed this, when I have only ever seen one Jackie Chan movie in my life. Maybe two. With a talented coauthor, Chan tells the story of his childhood in a school for Chinese opera (beatings and 19-hour-days were common), breaking into the movie business as a stuntman, going broke, getting called back into the movies to act for a director who tried to turn him into Bruce Lee, finally getting the freedom to make his own movies, which became blockbusters, and trying to show ...more
What a good memoir. I really enjoyed reading about the Hong Kong movie industry which is very different from Hollywood apparently. I liked seeing a side of Jackie Chan that I wouldn't expect to see. I enjoyed his humility along with his confidence, the fact that he can admit his failures while still celebrating his successes is refreshing to see in a "superstar". Mr. Chan has certainly come a long way in his life and he's done so with grace and style, even with a few bumps in the road. This memo ...more
Jackie Chan's autobiography is written with an easy conversational style, one that allows an occasional comment to drop that reveals a twinkle in the author's eye.

This is a surprising story of a young boy raised in an incredibly strict environment of the Peking Opera Dramatic Academy; of a youth trying to survive as a stuntman in the glutted Hong Kong film market; of a young man trying to develop his own cinema persona in an industry committed to molding him into the style of the most recent cel
Something is seriously wrong with you if you don't love Jackie Chan. There is a combination of cuteness, humility, sensitivity, intelligence, and of course incredible talent. But what I didn't expect was a bit of sass! He tells it like it is/was, and makes no apology for expressing some angst every now and then. This guy also deserves to have a huge ego, which is okay with me - but a few pages here and there you can sense a little bit of it because he feels he is entitled to feel great about pro ...more
The book "i am Jackie Chan: My life in action" was an alright book! It starts off with Jackie being born into a Chinese family and all the sexist horoscopes it comes with it. Jackie was an only child and got to travel around the world due to his fathers job. When he was going into his teen years he participated in many activities like swimming,singing in the Choir and karate. Soon Jackie got into filming and movie making and met a bunch of famous new people. Some of the friends he had growing up ...more
I was surprised to learn Jackie Chan was sold to the Chinese Opera when he was a child because his parents couldn't afford to support him...and he was an unruly child. That part is believable I suppose. I thought the whole training era, from 7-17, was fascinating...and brutal. Makes me wonder if he really is the last true kung fu performer like that, that can do his own stunts, since that kind of training has to be outlawed by now. Was that training really the key to his skill? Or will others co ...more
Carlyn Brody
My family and I love to watch Jackie Chan films. I bought I am Jackie Chan: My life in action as a Christmas present for my brother. Jackie Chan’s autobiography was first published in 1996 and my brother and I wanted the book but we were kids and couldn’t afford it. As I grew up I couldn’t find the book anywhere and it’s only now as an adult, that I purchased the book off Amazon. I have the updated edition of the biography which contains new infor
This book is a memoir/autobiography about Jackie Chan's Life, he did a good job showing his life problems / challenges and how he had to face and conquer them. He was very detailed and showed how he got to where he is today. He goes from poor to rich because he worked hard to achieve. On page 366 - 398 he shares his personal reviews for his movies, starting with his first one (Big and Little Wong Tin-Bar - 1962)to the most current one the book lists (Shanghai Noon - 2000)i found this to be very ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anugrah Nagaich
Well, if you love his hilarious yet amazing action moves & are a fan of his trademark kung-fu movies, then this is surely a must read for you so that you can clearly understand what does it takes to be a martial artist & how much bodily sacrifices (read- fatal injuries) you'll have to bear on your way while filming some of the most amazing action sequences of the world.
This biography describes vividly the pains (seriously, if you think you can also become a martial artist, this will make
I was surprised how much I enjoyed reading the amazing story of Jackie Chan! I much preferred the first half of the book, where he takes us through life in Hong Kong in the 1950's & 60's and the grueling training he and his "sisters & brothers" had to go through to become the amazing athletes and performers they now are. As he writes, there will never be another generation that had to go through the severe physical punishment and abuse those kids had to go through. When he gets famous an ...more
Five Stars: full of action and humour. Any 8th grader's dream come true!

When I was in 8th grade, I complained to my father that I didn't know what I was going to do in life. He recommended that I read biographies, as he did earlier in his life, when he had similarly been lost. What he did not tell me, and what I didn't find out until much later is that he had done the biography exercise in his last year of college.

I went to the library (which was no burden, as it was easily my favorit
Matthew Paton
I've never read an autobiography before; I guess I've never been that interested in a 'personality' to really find out more about them. However I'm very glad to have decided to read this one.Jackie's life has been pretty amazing, from growing up in Hong Kong and attending the Chinese Opera School and his many attempts to break into both the Hong Kong and American film industries.The majority of the book focuses on Jackie's early life, his parents leaving him at the Opera School, his gruelling tr ...more
This book was the January selection for one of my book clubs. It was interesting to learn about Jackie's life and how the performing arts and movie industries differ between countries, but I had never seen any of his movies before, and this book did not inspire me to start. Especially not after U.S. and international sources have now quoted Jackie as saying the U.S. is "the most corrupt country in the world."

I will say this, though: After having read in this book about Asian singing star Teresa
Brett Bydairk
A very readable autobiography of a (sort of) humble action hero. Roughly the first third of the book covers his childhood training at the China Drama Academy,where he learned all the arts necessary for a life in Chinese Opera: tumbling, acting, singing, dancing, and kung fu. Finishing school as Chinese Opera was dying, the next third is about his struggles to start and maintain a movie career. The last third concerns his Asian stardom, and his (unwilling and unsuccessful, at first) attempts to b ...more

I found the parts about his childhood training to be the most interesting. I can't even imagine that much work and that much dedication and that many beatings at such a young age. It sounded like a complete nightmare to me, and that he can appreciate what he learned and have fond memories of that time in spite of the major suckiness is pretty awesome.

Very quick read! Interesting! Entertaining! Although I totally wanted there to be something about his singing, but apart from a remark

Too many pages dedicated to his childhood rather than the glory filmaking years of the 80s.

Does come across as a bit arrogant and isn't the most honest regarding his stunts.

The whole part dedicated to the Project A clock tower fall is a bit too much story telling. He fails to mention that his stuntman and fellow actor Mars does the drop and in the film you never actually see Jackie fall the whole way down.

Also at one point he says he doesn't use a stuntman which is totally false as he
Beau Johnston
A terrific insight into who Jackie Chan is and how he became the man known and loved around the world.
Rachel Wagner
You might be surprised to find this on my list. My copy was actually autographed by Chan in San Francisco when it came out. It is a step up from the typical movie star biop. He grew up practically as an orphan under the care of a strict instructor at a Chinese Opera boarding school. He tells one story about wanting a bowl of rice so badly that he grabbed one off of a waiters tray and ate it in desperation. He did this knowing the severe punishments that were coming once they got back to school. ...more
Wow! Jackie Chan really is the same charminly innocent but reliable man in his life as he is in his movies!

Not only is it a fascinating read of an inside view of the world of movie stunts, it's also a look into the life of a kid growing up in the eastern society that I know so little about.

The way the book is set up is very easily read. The short chapters vaguely making up a life story reminds me of how someone would literally tell their life story. It feels like Jackie Chan is telling you per
Rich Castro
You may be pleasantly surprised by this book. At first glance you say to yourself, "Who would write a book about Jackie Chan?", well...Jackie Chan would!! It is a funny book that is fun to read. It also gives some interesting insights on how Jackie Chan was raised in the China Drama Academy, alongside Sammo Hung. He even talks about how he stunt-doubled for a Bruce Lee movie. Pretty cool book. If you have the time or your interest has been piqued, check this book out. I am sure you will not regr ...more
Sep 08, 2007 Mel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any of his fans
Shelves: memoir
I don't read a lot of auto biographies, but this one was really fascinating! He has lived such an extreme life. From being extremely poor, extremely alone, and extremely mistreated to being extremely athletic, extremely talented and finally extremely famous.

He seems to have stayed such a nice guy through all of it.

This book also sheds light on his friendship with Sammo Huang. And the popularity of Martial Arts movies, and how difficult it was for Asian actors to break into the American movie bu
Sasha Samion
I really enjoyed this autobiography. Reading all about his childhood and training at the Opera was so interesting. I really enjoyed the way it was written because it really kept me riveted and made me want to continue reading the rest of his life story. It's weird because it ends before the sequels to Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon where he is just starting to become a star in Hollywood. I love how cool his life is. You are awesome Jackie Chan!
I read this on a flight to and from California to visit my brother. At the time I was moderately obsessed with kung fu movies. It was an enjoyable read and I learned quite a bit about Jackie Chan and the Hong Kong film industry. However, the narration is obviously biased and I question its accuracy (I suppose this is true of all autobiographies). Chan has had an interesting life. If you're a fan of his to any degree, this is worth checking out.
Jevron McCrory
This is quite simply one of the best books I've ever read!

I'm a HUGE Jackie Chan fan (Armour Of God and Police Story being particular favourites) so this was a real pleasure! Jackie's heart and humour is all over this work. It was laugh out loud funny as well as touching and awe inspiring. What a life this legend has had! No one deserves success more than him. I'm reading it again straight after!

Absolutely ADORE this book!
Isaac Maki
This was a great book. I have been a fan of Jackie Chan for almost my entire life, since the first time I watched one of his movies. But reading this book really changed how I saw him as an actor and a martial artist, seeing the way he grew up really gave me a new perspective about the things I love doing. He really went through more than I want to imagine, but he kept doing the thing he loved most, this book was really inspiring.
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