Aside from the obvious Action or Martial Arts, Jackie Chan's movies are filled with very angular fight scenes (i.e. Punch, Hesitation, Retraction, Counter, etc...). There is a deliberateness to it, and I understand that it needs to be well choreographed but it just doesn't flow the way an actual fight might. There's always that moment of hesitation after a punch where the arm is left sticking straight out, etc...

Along with this, many times there is some humor injected into the fight scene. Examples might be after repeated punches to the nose he makes a funny face, or he might flail his arms as if to say, "No more punches to my face!", and his adversary would hit him in the stomach.

I've seen enough Saturday Matinee movies as a kid to know that not all Martial Arts movies are like this. Bruce Lee movies, for example, featured very straight-forward Martial Arts scenes that were taken seriously.

So what I'm wondering is, is there a specific name for this Martial Arts/Comedy style that Jackie Chan employs, or is it just considered Martial Arts/Comedy?

  • 3
    Well, he was definitely influenced by slapstick comedies and I think he has stated himself that he was much more influenced by Buster Keaton than, say, Bruce Lee. So I guess there would be a good starting point to search for his roots.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Dec 29, 2014 at 18:58
  • Buster Keaton. Interesting. I should probably do more research into his background. I didn't know that, but it kinda makes sense when I think about it. Dec 29, 2014 at 19:19
  • 4
    As well as the Buster Keaton influence, Jackie's choreography is heavily influenced by Chinese Opera: a very theatrical form of martial arts that is traditionally performed for live audiences, which Jackie has trained in before he went to the movies. In Chinese Opera the emphasis in on visually striking feats of martial arts, so you see a lot of poses in between strikes. Dec 30, 2014 at 19:32
  • TV Tropes suggests Improv Fu - tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ImprovFu
    – Tom77
    Jan 21, 2015 at 8:04
  • It's just chinese movie making, there are a lot of other martial art/fighting movies in china that has the same style. He tries to inject some humour to an old fashion martial art combat
    – Huangism
    Jan 21, 2015 at 14:08

2 Answers 2


The film style of Jackie Chan movies is "Hong Kong Action Cinema". While Jackie's style is unique, others of the same time era feature the same techniques of Peking Opera influenced acrobatics, Kung Fu, and slapstick. My understanding is that this style of film was specific to Hong Kong and distinct from Mainland Chinese films of the time.


I have always known this genre as Chop-Socky.

Apparently the term was coined by Variety magazine without carrying any connotations of poor quality or bad dubbing. It just meant a film from the far east with a lot of choreographed kung-fu.

However, when I was young the term was often used in a derogatory way.

  • Hmm, that term seems to apply to any kind of martial arts, though.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Jan 21, 2015 at 1:15

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