JACKIE CHAN: KUNG FU MASTER (orig. title Xun zhao Cheng Long, a/k/a LOOKING FOR JACKIE, 2009) is a kid's film, a bizarre remake of Chuck Norris' SIDEKICKS. There are so many things wrong with this that I have to start with a warning list, DAMN THE SPOILERS:
1. This is not like a theatrical release. It looks like a television film special and I suspect that is what it was. It is confusing to say the least.
2. Speaking of confusion, what a cheap shot to release this film under the title JACKIE CHAN: KUNG FU MASTER when it was originally translated to the title LOOKING FOR JACKIE ... which is more in keeping with this movie.
3. As other reviewers have indicated, this is NOT a Jackie Chan film. He plays a vital cameo - as himself - and that bit looks like a revolting self-promotion on his part. Then again, he is Chinese and that says it all.
4. Somehow claiming this film is in Mandarin is supposed to lure Westerners? The film is in Cantonese for the most part, though of course Mandarin will come and go - it takes place in Beijing.
5. I am totally sick as hell of these attempts to sanitize China and make it look like a paradise on earth. When is the world going to wake up?!
With that off my chest, here's the good:
1. Young Zhang Yi-shan, playing a boy of the same name, is a charming, hilarious and skilled actor. If you've ever felt uncomfortable with the cute little teen-looking Asians, wait til you see the scene with this boy in his pink underwear. Fall-down FUNNY.
2. The story does have a point, several good points in fact, and it might behoove us to pay them some mind.
3. The film can be understood by any audience with the patience to see it is about the dangers of getting star-struck. It was a lesson I certainly needed!
In brief, Zhang Yi Shan is a 16-year-old Indonesian-raised boy infatuated with Jackie Chan, determined to become one of Jackie's disciples" (student). He runs off to Beijing to meet Jackie, and will let nothing stop him. What he learns on this journey is good for all of us to learn.