Part Jackie Chan promo, part China studio tour, “Looking for Jackie” is a cameo-packed swing through the mainland’s industry via the slapdash plot of a teen martial-arts student trying to track down the superstar in Beijing. With Chan himself fronting at beginning and end with some of his old buddies, and a host of local names in the middle of the sandwich, the pic looks set for plenty of hype on its July 7 release in China. Offshore, this amiable family pic is vid fodder beyond a few select Asian markets.
Zhang Yishan (Zhang Yishan), a 15-year-old Beijinger studying at a wushu school in Indonesia, must return home to visit his grandparents, which he uses as an excuse to find his idol and enroll as his disciple. After a wasted trip to a remote Daoist monastery, he’s kidnapped back in Beijing by two crooks (Yan Bingyan, Wu Jun) who oversee a group of young pickpockets.
Rescued by a hard-ass distaff cop (Jiang Hongbao, excellent), Zhang misses Chan again at a charity event and then tries to track him down at a couple of film studios. When all seems lost, his grandma (Zhu Xijuan) has a smart idea.
Chan’s role is largely to pop up at crucial moments and dispense homilies about education and moral integrity. Most of the fun is had by the droves of guest stars, especially actress Yu Nan (“Tuya’s Marriage”) as a movie director, helmer Zhang Yibai (“Spring Subway”) as her gruff a.d., and a host of Yuens from the Hong Kong martial-arts scene (including “Kung Fu Hustle”s” Yuen Chau as a Daoist abbess).
Helmers Jiang Ping (“Touched by Love”) and Fang Gangliang (“The Story of Xiaoyan”) have worked on family movies before, and direct with a light touch that makes the pic a painless ride even for auds who won’t spot the cameos. Zhang himself, looking like a young Xia Yu, has a gee-whiz charm as the pre-high schooler, though actress Yan, so good in “Teeth of Love,” is wasted in a soppy role as a lovelorn kidnapper. Frequent action sequences are staged with a Hong Kong-like brio, and running time is admirably short.