×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Jackie Chan Reignites Action Film Week in China

Chris Tucker, Adrien Brody and Paul Haggis were on hand Saturday to give a huge high-tech finale to the fifth edition of the Jackie Chan Action Film Week. So too were Crystal Liu Yifei, star of Disney’s upcoming “Mulan,” and a bevy of top Chinese talent.

Moving the event from the fringes of the Shanghai festival in June, to a new date and spectacular outdoor venues provided by provincial town of Datong, some 200 miles East of Beijing in Shanxi Province, may have revitalized the Action Film Week. The event ran for three years in Shanghai, before relocating last year to Datong. Upbeat organizers now talk of franchising the event to other countries.

After opening on July 21 and a week of fan interaction, the festival put on a closing ceremony that was a razzamatazz of stunts, choreography and pyrotechnics. The scale suggested ambitions of matching an Olympic Games or World Cup ceremony.

Held in a full-sized sports arena, with perhaps 20,000 spectators, the show opened with a troop of astronauts arriving from the skies, and Chan himself making an aerial entry in a fire-spitting space car. Another performer topped even that, entering and leaving in a single seater passenger drone.

There were musical interludes from Taiwan’s Emil Chan Wakin, mainland Chinese songstress Jane Zhang. Superstar, Wang Lee Hom interrupted a nationwide tour to perform a hip hop number. And the whole thing was wrapped up for telecast by state television giant CCTV.

That is all a far cry from the two or three downbeat years that followed the mini festival’s well-intended, but somewhat directionless, start in 2015.

Datong not only financed the event, and loaned its sports complex, but also provided its historically significant caves as an appropriately larger than life backdrop. In its Yungang grottoes, giant Buddha heads carved into the limestone and spectacularly lit up in the early evening overlooked a series of seminars with topics including: the nature of action films; cross-border action film co-operation; and the influence of changing technology on stunt workers.

For these, Chan pulled together top-flight directors Tsui Hark, Wu Jing (“Wolf Warriors”), Martin Campbell (Jackie Chan-starring “The Foreigner”), and Sergei Bodrov (“Mongol”) and Praychy Pinkaew (“Ong-Bak”). Studio heads and officials included China Film Group’s La Peikang, Shanghai Film Group’s Ren Zhonglun, Huayi’s James Wang and Bona Film’s Yu Dong. Top stuntmen included Buddy Joe Hooker, Mark Sieger, He Jun and Hong Kong’s Chin Ka-lok.

Earlier in the week, some 150 films unspooled in Datong multiplexes, with a selection playing in competition section. Honors were shared, with India’s “Junglee,” China’s “The Big Shot,” and Hong Kong’s “Project Gutenberg” each claiming two prizes. Veteran action choreographer Yuen Woo-ping (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” “The Matrix”) received a lifetime achievement award.

The recipients could scarcely have had a bigger stage to collect their statuettes. Also present at the prize-giving closing event were Japanese actor Yasuaki Kurata, directors Stanley Tong, Tsui Siuming, Frant Guo (“The Wandering Earth”), Chinese actor Chen Daoming, Hong Kong’s Kara Wai, and visiting foreign actresses Jeeja Yanin, Aleksandra Revenko and Loan Chabanon (“The Transporter Refuelled”).

Prizes Awarded at the 2019 Jackie Chan Action Film Week
Best action film: “The Big Shot” (China)
Director: He Quan for “Shadows and Echoes” (China)
Special jury prize: for best action family film “Junglee” (India)
Special jury prize: for best ensemble cast “T34” (Russia)
Editing: “T-34” (Russia)
Stunt design: “Junglee” (India)
Cinematography: Jason Kwan for “Project Gutenberg” (Hong Kong)
Art design: Eric Lam for “Project Gutenberg” (Hong Kong)
Script: Wu Zhe for “Shadows and Echoes” (China)
Actress: Fatima Sana Shaikh in “Thugs of Hindostan” (India)

Actor: Wang Qianyuan in “The Big Shot” (China)

Lifetime achievement: Yuen Woo ping (Hong Kong).

 

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • "Jade Dynasty" in front at the

    China Box Office: 'Jade Dynasty' in Front Ahead of Mixed Competition

    With “Jade Dynasty” out front, Chinese action and Asian animation films led the way at the China box office over the past weekend, while the few American titles in play have failed to attract many moviegoers. Chinese action fantasy “Jade Dynasty” led the weekend box office in its debut with $38.1 million, figures from consultancy [...]

  • The Painted Bird

    Venice Competition Film 'The Painted Bird' Is Czech Entry in Oscar Race

    Václav Marhoul’s “The Painted Bird,” which world premiered at the Venice Film Festival in the main competition and also played at the Toronto Film Festival in Special Presentations, has been selected as the Czech Republic’s entry for the 92nd Academy Awards in the international feature film category. The pic follows the journey of an unnamed [...]

  • Pakistan Picks Freshman Effort 'Laal Kabootar'

    Pakistan Picks Freshman Effort 'Laal Kabootar' as Its Oscar Entry

    Pakistan’s Academy Selection Committee has chosen “Laal Kabootar” as its candidate for the Oscars’ international feature film category. Directed by first-time helmer Kamal Khan, the gangland thriller set in Karachi’s underbelly follows the events that transpire when a woman in search of her husband’s killer is thrown together with a cab driver and petty criminal [...]

  • Atlantis

    Toronto Film Review: 'Atlantis'

    “It took you 10 years to cleanse this region of Soviet propaganda and myths,” says one character to another in “Atlantis,” going on to suggest that the devastation now left behind may never be “cleansed” at all. A strikingly bleak vision of a near future in which Ukraine has won its war with Russia but [...]

  • Beyonce Knowles'The Lion King' film premiere,

    ABC Announces Behind-the-Scenes Special for Beyoncé's 'Lion King' LP

    ABC has announced a new behind-the-scenes look into the making of Beyoncé’s “The Lion King: The Gift” LP, which is set to air September 16 on ABC at 10 p.m. EST. Titled “Beyoncé Presents: Making the Gift,” the new hour-long special will allow viewers to “experience the process” behind the “Lion King” companion album, according [...]

  • Jason Lei Howden, Samara Weaving and

    Daniel Radcliffe On Acting With Weapons Nailed To Your Hands

    How did “Guns Akimbo” director and writer Jason Lei Howden convince Daniel Radcliffe to play a character with guns nailed to his hands? Easy, he sent him the script. Radcliffe joined Howden and “Ready or Not’s” breakout star Samara Weaving in the Variety’s Toronto Film Festival studio, presented by AT&T to talk the limits of [...]

  • Box Office: It Chapter Two Maintains

    Box Office: 'It: Chapter Two' Continues International Reign With $47 Million

    Pennywise’s reign of terror hasn’t wavered: Warner Bros.’ “It Chapter Two” maintained first place on box office charts, led by another strong showing overseas. The sequel, based on Stephen King’s horror novel, generated another $47 million at the international box office for a foreign tally of $169 million. After two weeks of release, “It Chapter [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content