Feature-length doc heads up the extras on Shout Factory’s Jackie Chan Collection Vol. 1
It’s a wild time to be a fan of Hong Kong and martial arts cinema. Between Arrow Video, 88 Films, Shout Factory, and other distributors, the floodgates to libraries of classic films suddenly seem to be flung open again as if to match the height of DVD era. Films are arriving on Blu-ray, both individually and in collections — sometimes for the first time on American home video.
Shout Factory’s Jackie Chan Collection Vol. 1, which we’ve previously discussed and unboxed on the site, collects seven of the star’s older films from before the height of his fame as a star and performer, as well as a number of extras.
Most interesting to me is the new feature length documentary that’s exclusive to this set, entitled The Golden Boy: Harvesting a Major New Martial Arts Maverick.
This documentary is included on the Battle Creek Brawl disc of the set, which seems thematically fitting to its theme. The documentary chronicles Lee’s early career leading up to his stardom and moving into the international spotlight. Andre Morgan, an executive producer on that film, is among the many interviewees.
Toward the later 70s, Chan’s clout was rapidly rising with a string of hits, and many considered him the most likely “next Bruce Lee” to fill the void left by the international superstar.
Chan had worked with Lee and appears briefly in Enter the Dragon, Lee’s smash hit American production directed by Robert Clouse. So a few years later when Chan set out to similarly make a name for himself in the west, Clouse was brought on for Battle Creek Brawl. This was to be Chan’s first attempt at tapping into Hollywood as a leading man, starring opposite adult film star and Playboy model Kristine DeBell, whose disarming girl-next-door demeanor made for a charming pairing.
The documentary features DeBell as well as other figures from the era — director “Charlie” Chen Chi-Hwa and actor Lin Kuang-Yung, both of whom have worked on several films with Chan.
Also tapped are a number of modern critics and historians who discuss Chan’s early history and influence from a modern perspective.
Unfortunately Jackie himself isn’t among the many voices that fill out this documentary, and that’s probably the most palpable shortcoming, but nonetheless it’s a nice look at the actor’s early career.
Jackie’s super fans may not learn much new from this documentary, but it’s a great assemblage of experts and certainly an insightful look at his evolution.
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From Jackie Chan Collection Volume 1: https://amzn.to/3MrNNmC