Jackie Chan – How to Do Action Comedy


–Hello? This is Jackie speaking. Hi my name is Tony and
this is Every Frame a Painting. Some filmmakers can do action.
Others can do comedy. But for 40 years, the master of
combining them has been Jackie Chan. These days, there’s a lot of movies
that combine funny scenes with fight scenes.
But even when the movie’s good the comedy and action seem to be
two directors and two different styles. And that’s why Jackie’s so interesting. In his style, action IS comedy. And his work shows that the same
filmmaking principles apply whether you’re trying to be funny
or kick ass. So let’s dive in. If you’d like to
see the names of the films as I’m talking,
press the CC button below. Ready? Let’s go. So how does Jackie create
action that is also funny? First off, he gives himself
a disadvantage. No matter what film, Jackie always
starts beneath his opponents. He has no shoes. He’s handcuffed. He has a bomb in his mouth. From this point, he has to
fight his way back to the top. Each action creates
a logical reaction. And by following the logic… we get a joke. In movies, this comedic style
goes back to the silent clowns like Chaplin, Lloyd, and Keaton. But I think Jackie has distilled it
down to one line of dialogue:–Please! I said I don’t want trouble! Because he’s the underdog,
Jackie has to get creative which brings us to point number two:
he uses anything around him. This is the most famous
aspect of his style. take something familiar,
do something unfamiliar. I’ve seen him fight with chairs dresses chopsticks keyboards Legos refrigerators and of course: Not only does this make
each fight organic and grounded it also gives us jokes that
couldn’t happen anywhere else. Number 3: Jackie likes clarity. He doesn’t do dark scenes where
everything is color corrected blue. If his opponent wears black,
he wears white. And if his opponent’s in white,
then he’s stylin’ His framing’s so clear that in each shot
he’s setting up the next bit of action. Here, even though we’re
watching the stuntman, two-thirds of frame is the staircase.
A few seconds later, we see why He keeps things clear by rarely
using handheld or dolly moves.–Like American movies, there’s a lotta
movement. When the camera angle moves–that means the actors,
they don’t know how to fight. In slow-motion you can see how the
camera operator swings around to make the hits seem more violent. But since Jackie CAN fight…–I never move my camera.
Always steady. Wide-angle.–Let him see I jumping down,
I do the flip, I do the fall When you shoot this way, everything
looks more impressive because action and reaction are
in the same frame. Notice how you can always see Jackie,
the car and the wall at the same time. But a similar stunt from Rush Hour 3 never includes all the elements in the
same shot, and it doesn’t work. The same principle applies to comedy. This shot, directed by Sammo Hung,
shows us the punch, the bad guy’s face
and Jackie’s face all in one. Now check out the same gag
in Shanghai Noon. Here, action and reaction
are separate shots. It kinda works, but not nearly as well. Why don’t more directors do this? Because of number 5:
they don’t have enough time. Jackie is perfectionist willing to do as
many takes as necessary to get it right And in Hong Kong,
he’s supported by the studio which gives him
months to shoot a fight.–And the most difficult thing is
when I throw the fan and it comes back.More than 120 takes. Those kind of
scenes, you say “Oh, Jackie’s good.”It’s not good. You can do it. Except
do you have the patience or not? When I rewatch his work,
these little things are the ones
I’m most impressed by. He doesn’t need to do them,
and they eat into his budget. But he still does them
because he wants to. And it’s that “going above and beyond”
that I respect and admire.–But in America,
they don’t allow you to do that.You know, because money. And his American work is
missing something else:–And there’s a rhythm also,
to the way that the shots are performedand also the way they’re edited, and
Jackie said something very interestingthat the audience don’t know the
rhythm’s there until it’s NOT there. Jackie’s fight scenes have
a distinct musical rhythm, a timing he works out
on set with the performers.–Ready, action.
Stay where you are!Stay where you are,
don’t chase me.See? Everybody looks good. Even experienced martial artists
have trouble with it. In his earliest films, you see him
learning the timing from Yuan Heping and it’s very much like Chinese opera. But by the mid-1980s,
working with his own stunt team He had something totally unique. In America, many directors and
editors don’t understand this timing. And they ruin it by
cutting on every single hit. By in Hong Kong, directors
hold their shots long enough for the audience to feel the rhythm.–The most important part
is the editing.Most directors,
they don’t know how to edit.Even the stunt coordinators,
they don’t know how to edit. Hong Kong directors like Jackie
and Sammo cut a particular way. In the first shot, you hit
your opponent in the wide. In the second shot,
you get a nice close-up. But when you cut the shots together,
you DON’T match continuity. At the end of shot 1, the elbow is here. At the beginning of shot 2,
it’s all the way back here. These 3 frames are for the audience’s
eyes to register the new shot. And they make all the difference.–I start from here, then here,
But two shots, combinedThat’s power. In other words, show it TWICE
and the audience’s mind will make it one hit that’s stronger. By contrast, modern American editing
doesn’t show the hit at all. At the end of shot 1, the leg is here. At the beginning of shot 2, it’s in
the same place, going backwards. But because they cut at
the exact frame of the hit it doesn’t feel like a hit. A lot of people think this is
because of the PG-13 rating but even R-rated films do this now It looks like a bunch of
people flailing around instead of a bunch of
people getting hurt. Ouch. Which brings us to number 8: pain. Unlike a lot of action stars,
who try to look invincible Jackie gets hurt. A lot. Half the fun of his work is that
not only are the stunts impressive There’s always room for a joke. Pain humanizes him. Because
no matter how skilled he is He still gets smacked in the face. In fact, Jackie’s face may
actually be his greatest asset Many times the look he gives
is all it takes to sell a joke. Like when he does an entire fight
holding a chicken. Or dressed as Chun-li And last, Jackie’s style always ends
with a real payoff for the audience. By fighting his way from the bottom, he
earns the right to a spectacular finish. He doesnt win cause hes a better fighter
He wins because he doesn’t give up This relentlessness makes his finales
really impressive and really funny And it’s in direct contrast to
a lot of his American work where bad guys are defeated
because someone shoots them COME ON. But most of all, I think
Jackie’s style proves something: action and comedy aren’t that different. In both genres, we want
to see our best performers And I think a lot of modern
action directors are failing completely. These actors are skilled artists,
some of the best in the world. Why are the directors so unskilled? Why am I paying money
to NOT see the action?–Whatever you do, do the best you can
because the film lives forever.“No, because that day it was raining
and the actor don’t have time.”I said, would you go to every theater
to tell the audience? No.The audience sits in the theater:
good movie, bad movie that’s all Exactly. This work will last. And on that note,
I leave you with the greatest death scene
in film history.

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100 thoughts on “Jackie Chan – How to Do Action Comedy

  1. lmao rofl you fucking useless femi nazi snowflake millenial mangina , you say action and show us beyond terrible chick fight ..THUMBS DOWN

  2. One thing could be a very lesson to hollywood, the camera is always steady and allowed it to show whole part of the actor. When they use so called shaky camera technique there you'll found it unsatisfying because you'll see a "broken cut" of an action scenes, so you won't see the whole fighting story but there would be missing links from one part to another from the fighting scenes…

  3. during the "pain" you should have also mentioned that ALL of his stunts are performed by himself, and aside from a select few stunts in american movies, they are all real, no movie magic, one shot, no strings or cables, and a lot of the times, no safety net. He literally puts his life on the line to make a single shot as realistic as possible.

    If any of you enjoy Jackie Chan's movies, but only seen his English films, find his Chinese films, get some subtitles, they are WAY better which was described in this video.

  4. I don't think there will be another video essayist like Every Frame a Painting! What a masterclass in film editing!

  5. American told me to watch Daredevil series because it’s full of action. As an martial artist and a Jackie Chan movie fan, I got insulted.

  6. Im waiting for the Jackie Chan – How to throw your son under the bus to retain your standing in the communist party episode.

  7. I grew up with Jackies movies, mainly the chinese ones too and always when i saw an american action movie were people fight it annoyed the shit out of me that they cant just SHOW the fucking fight!! Now i know a little more why, thank you!

    I think it got even worse btw, nowadays even the biggest american action movies cant do it, directors have dark af scenes with shaky cams, and everytime i see it i just know its lazyness… i just CANT STAND it, im sorry Hollywood, you suck :/

  8. John Wick the only action film mainstream wise that honors the steady camera angles. such beautiful action scenes in those movies especially the recent one, john wick 3

  9. I see so much combat in modern films that i just can't follow or focus on, it gives me a bloody headache.
    Maybe im just getting old.

  10. He should have played Goku in the live action movie of Dragon Ball
    But noooo… Just use this random dude with a hair gel
    Jakie personality fits goku soo well
    Why no one gets that

  11. Jackie watched how Buster Keaton (his idol) shot his gags and learned from what he saw. No one in the last fifty years has been as inventive, or photographed action comedy scenes better than this dude. He excited us and made us laugh at the same time.. He deserves the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy, at least. Thank you, Mr. Chan

  12. One thing you forgot though is, that a lot of Jackies Early work was low budget. Police story etc are low budget movies. So a lot of the punches actually connect, not full force OFC but still connect and they didn't have the whole fall down on a cushioned air madrass thingy. They har a lot of cardboard boxes to soften the fall.

  13. Vin Diesel, The Rock, Jason Statham: We have a contract clause that prevent us from losing a fight.

    Jackie Chan: Hold my beer bitches

  14. I have been always a fan of Jackie Chan my whole life until recently i was so disappointed by his reaction to Hong Kong…

  15. Be funnier if the last death scene show the guy's balls instantly appear on the sides of his mouth with blood dripping out.

  16. Hong Kong action film industry has died after the retirement of Jackie Chan and Jet Li. Now it is full of fake action crap. Golden Harvest also died long ago.

  17. The next great real Jackie Chan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEjGQB9BKWA . Unfortunately everything she does after this is Hollywood.
    Everything great gets owned by idiots.

  18. После того как посмотрел это видео, понял, что хочу пересмотреть все видео с Джеки из детства. ( After i have watched the video i want to watch over all my childhood' films with Jacky )

  19. Tbh I Loved every single movie Jakie released that were made in Asia. There were always unique and fun to watch. Don't get me wrong, american movies were also great but they were missing something.

  20. I am a Software Engineer and I have learned a lot about my job by watching this short video. The work will live on. Do the best you can. Hats off to Jackie Chan.

  21. The way you did the comments made me subscribe 🙂 Very well done! Jackie Chan is/always has been awesome. Actually I can honestly say that his movies have been true life savers for me. There was a time when I was really depressed, then a friend told me to come over to watch a Jackie Chan movie. I'd never heard of that guy but watched it anyway (Project A) It had me laughing so much my entire body ached 🙂 The next week First Strike was on, and I loved it! Thank you Jackie Chan for being who you are. Xi xi

  22. I grew up watching his films.. i dolized the guy.. it pains me to think he is now old… and will lose him one day… there is only one Jackie… only one.

  23. Speaking of cuts in action scenes, take a look at Taken, it’s filled with so many cuts in its fight scenes it became unwatchable for me.

  24. Those American movies were an embarrassment. They took one of the most talent people in the world and force him to share screen time with some of the LEAST talented.

  25. it's the same with John Wick…. it's Jackie style that's why people like it so much better than other fighting Hollywood movies… the opposite is Bourne…

  26. Charlie Chaplin: I used to be funny at the old days, but who would do it?
    RDJ: I played you once. It was fun.
    Jackie Chan: Hold my industrial oil.

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