‘Ride On’: Jackie Chan’s Battle with Change

Change is something constant in life; the ability to adapt speaks volumes of a man. This is a topic, which ‘Ride On’ boldly addresses. ‘Ride On’ is a 2023 Chinese movie starring Jackie Chan; it shows the life of a struggling stuntman and his unwillingness to adapt to the change in the movie industry and his life. At face value, the movie seems like a light-hearted drama honing in on nostalgia, but deeper within there is a secret message.

Jackie Chan is a beloved Hong Kong Actor whom many have come to associate with his action films. He is known for his ability to perform his stunts doing many of them without aids. He currently holds the Guinness World Record for Most Stunts by a Living Actor. The advancement of technology has drastically reduced the need for real stunts. Most stunts are done with the aid of wires or completely animated using Computer Generated Imaging. All these bring to question whether Ride On is an Ode to Jackie Chan.

Jackie Chan’s character, Master Luo, was faced with multiple challenges in the movie; lack of finances because of his time off work due to injuries on set, legal troubles concerning his horse, changes in the movie industry and family troubles. In Luo’s prime he had been honoured with the title Kungfu Stuntman, a title only given to the best of the best in the field. Though this brought him fame, it drove him to keep doing crazier stunts, one of which put him in the hospital for a long time. At the peak of the movie, we see how the ideas of the past almost lead him to endanger his life and that of his horse, before eventually retreating.

All these can be related to Jackie Chan’s life. He has suffered multiple injuries on set delaying the production of films. He had legal troubles with his house when Yujia real estate failed to properly transfer the rights to him during their battle with Tenhong Real Estate. He has drastically reduced his movie appearances stating he is being typecast and not finding the right script. He constantly complains about his son not growing up with the Chinese culture. These then bring up the real question, where is Jackie Chan’s place in the current movie industry? How does he adapt to a world that sees real stunts as economically unwise and medically unsafe? Is this truly the end of an era?

‘Ride On’ might or might not be an ode to Jackie Chan. However, it is a tribute to all stuntmen and stuntwomen who have brought the movie industry to where it is today.

Oluwawapelumi Akin-Ajani

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