Jackie Chan is a man of many talents.
He’s an actor.
He’s a stunt man.
He’s Mitsubishi’s bitch.
But the one thing that many of us over here in the ‘states seem to forget from time to time, (or simply be unaware of) is that he’s also a singer.
It’s true, like any good Asian celebrity, Jackie Chan is known to bust out a song or 2 every now and again, seemingly just for the hell of it.
That being said, while I’ve never listened to any of his albums, I have watched a shit ton of his movies, and therefore have heard a shit ton of the theme songs he sang for them.
While I’ll be the first to admit the man will never win any awards for his vocal talents, I gotta’ say; most of his songs are exceptionally well produced, with fun lyrics and wonderfully arranged instrumentation.
I’m not kidding, the man makes some pretty good songs.
Anyway, enough set up, let’s get to the Jackie Chan music!:
Let’s get one thing straight, Thunderbolt is not a good Jackie Chan movie.
The movie had a massive budget, and was clearly designed to appeal to an international (read: Japanese) audience; yet it’s overly complicated plot, poorly shot racing scenes, and mediocre fight scenes led to it being a huge letdown for me.
Despite all that though, Thunderbolt does have a pretty spankin’ theme song.
Played several times throughout the movie, the song has a very bold and heroic sound to it that really grabs hold of you.
In addition to this, the electronic sampling used in the tune cleverly evoke imagery of automotive or garage tools, effectively creating an association between the song and the racing world that the movie takes place in.
Thunderbolt: Great song, shitty movie.
#4. Who Am I?
“WAH’ CHADAH’ NAH’ JO-HOOOOOOO!!!!!”
I honestly can’t tell you how many times I’ve yelled that for no reason.
Such is the power of the theme song of 1998’s Who Am I?
Who Am I? was what I tend to consider one of Jackie Chan’s last really good physical performances.
Along with Gorgeous, (which was only an okay movie) Who Am I? represented Jackie Chan at his best, albeit while approaching the end of his physical prime.
In other words, it was these 2 movies that directly preceded his brief, yet image crushing career in Hollywood.
That being said, I really liked Who Am I?
The movie was fast-paced, had a colorful and exciting plot, and finally, after so many years of Jackie movies that ended with hovercraft chases and Nazi strongholds exploding, gave us a good final fight between Jackie a pair of dudes instead.
Seriously, why can’t more movies end like that?
Anyway, Who Am I? is an incredibly catchy song that I’ve tried many thousands of times to sing along to.
Being as I honestly don’t even know what language it’s sung in, (Cantonese and… I don’t know) my attempts have never gotten much further than:
“WAH’ CHADAH’ NAH’ JO-HOOOOOOO!!!!!”
Honestly though, that’s all I need to remember from this song to fuckin’ love the shit out of it.
#3. Kung Fu Fighting Man
The Young Master is one of my favorite movies of the early years of Jackie Chan’s career.
The film showcases Jackie’s juggling skills, and impeccable comedic timing, while at the same time features some especially physical fight scenes for the time, including an especially protracted final battle with Hap Ki Do master Hwang In-Shik.
In case you didn’t get that last part, I shall translate into kung fu movie layman’s terms:
At the end, Jackie fights a Korean guy. For a really long time.
Anyway, besides being an excellent film, Young Master also has the benefit of having a really awesome theme song, that also just happens to be the first song Jackie ever did for one of his movies.
Bearing a tune that’s decidedly disco, Kung Fu Fighting Man is sung entirely in English, adding to it’s appeal in the eyes of non-Cantonese speakers such as myself.
The lyrics are cheesy and borderline nonsensical, but in many ways I feel that adds to the appeal of the song.
It’s a silly kung fu song, for a silly kung fu movie about a silly Kung Fu Fighting Man.
What more could you ask for?
#2. I’ll Make A Man Out Of You
That’s right, there’s a Disney song on this list.
Honestly man, If you can’t appreciate Disney movies, then you are the living embodiment of sour puss-ery; ’cause Disney movies were (I don’t know about these days…) the shit.
Anyway, did you know that Jackie Chan performed the Mandarin version of I’ll Make A Man Out Of You?
Well, he did; and quite well at that.
While I’ve found some of Jackie’s Mandarin songs, and indeed his speaking; sometimes seem a little stilted, this song, along with the one he did for Drunken Master 2, are actually quite good.
Make no mistake, I’ll Make A Man Out Of You is a Disney product, so it obviously has some pretty strong lyrics, as well as the backing of a full orchestra.
It’s a powerful and inspiring tune, that curiously enough, sounds to me like it may have been written to accomodate the Mandarin lyrics moreso than the English ones.
Honestly, listen to it both ways and decide for yourself which language flows with the music best:
#1. High Up On High!
Honestly, how could I not put High Up On High at the top of this list?
It’s big, it’s loud, it’s the cheesiest fuckin’ piece of 80’s Chinese trash you’ve ever heard, but goddamnit; High Up On High is the shit.
Armour of God was a weird Jackie Chan movie.
The action quotient was all out of whack, the plot was all over the place, but the whole thing has a distinctive charm to it that just makes it work.
Truth be told, I liked the sequel, Operation Condor; a lot more, but even so; Armor of God was a good time, in no small part due to the inclusion of songs like High Up On High, and Alan Tam’s equally cheesy Midnight Rider.
That being said, High Up On High is another Jackie Chan song sung entirely in English.
Well, broken English anyway.
There is indeed a Cantonese version of the song, entitled Flight of the Dragon, however I personally prefer High Up On High for it’s bad/good appeal.
Like most of Jackie’s songs, the music is exceptionally well-crafted, with a high energy, over-the-top rock sound to it that is fuckin’ loud and stupid that you just can’t help but love it.
Anyway, that’s the Top 5 Jackie Chan Songs That Keep Me From Stabbing People.
Have a good night, and I’ll see yah’ tomorrow!