The seemingly indestructible Jackie Chan has had a long and intermittent association with Western cinema. Hollywood studios appear to prefer him teamed up with a foil, be it Chris Tucker in RUSH HOUR or Owen Wilson in SHANGHAI NOON. When Chan does get his own crack of the whip in English language projects it’s for underwhelming fare like THE SPY NEXT DOOR. Chan famously made three RUSH HOUR films before admitting he didn’t really get the joke, which hasn’t stopped him considering a return to the franchise.
The last big movie of this sort he was part of was THE KARATE KID reboot and even that saw him share the screen with the expanding Will Smith family dynasty. But his latest role, announced at Cannes, will see him out on his own and dishing out his brand of expertly-choreographed mayhem to a bunch of no good terrorists in a thriller from Peter Segal, who directed De Niro/Stallone comedy GRUDGE MATCH.
CIVILIAN will see Chan playing a salesman (presumably of the kind that takes to combative acrobatics like an excitable mallard to the ocean) attending an arms convention, which is rudely interrupted by the very types their wares are designed to protect against. This sounds like a snappy concept that should give the man with more broken bones than an episode of Time Team ample opportunity to do what he does best, though the tag of “thriller” suggests there could be less of a comedy count. Not a great fit for Chan in my opinion, who is an excellent actor and physical comedian, but isn’t Liam Neeson.
The movie is set to start shooting early next year in Johannesburg and will be produced by Thunder Road.