Produced by Jackie Chan's company, this isn't exactly an authorised biography - more the prequel to such a film, concentrating largely on his parents' early struggles. Given the tumult of Chinese history in the early part of the last century, it doesn't want for drama. Dad was a general's orderly in the Sino-Japanese war and then a spy for the Nationalists. He was forced to abandon his first family in the People's Republic - half-brothers Jackie never knew he had and whom he prefers not to meet. The archive footage from the time is devastating, although the old man gives little away. Such were the privations of the period, Jackie's mother, too, abandoned the children from her first marriage, when one daughter was 18, and the other just 12. 'She gave me 50 cents,' the youngest remembers, heartbreakingly. Before she was a housemaid, Jackie's mum was a gambler and an opium smuggler, an image that's hard to square with the old woman in a wheelchair in contemporary sequences. Much of this personal history (even his real surname, Fay) comes as a shock to the preternaturally affable superstar. Jackie himself was sent to performance school from the age of eight and remained there for the next ten years, during which time his parents moved to Australia. A bit gloopy in places, this remains an extraordinary 20th century rags to riches story.
Cast and crew
Yam Fong Shum