As both a film lover and Jackie Chan fan, when I discovered the great man has a museum dedicated to his career in Shanghai it immediately went to the top of my list of must see attractions. Located an hour out of central Shanghai and easily accessible by the metro, the aptly named Jackie Chan Film Museum is a must for anyone with a passion for the marital arts legend’s career.
Opening almost a decade ago, the museum is situated in a nondescript building in the suburb of Hongqiao. Entry is 150rmb ($30AUD), which is a little high for a typical museum in China, but it’s well worth your hard-earned dollars.
After a short welcome video from Chan (I was the only one present), you’re free to explore the museum and take in the extraordinary career of the stuntman turned Hollywood star. The museum is divided into four sections tracing Chan’s early days through his film career to his present day philanthropic work.
Journeying through the multiple rooms and spaces is a film fan’s wet dream, with movie props from projects such as First Strike, Project A and Mr. Nice Guy dominating the museum. There are interactive activities, videos and personal stories from Chan charting the actor’s life. You can even have your photo taken with several shoddily crafted Jackie Chan mannequins wearing costumes from his movies.
Like his classic kung fu and action flicks, subtlety isn’t the museums strength. There’s a car hanging from the ceiling upon entrance, the motorbike from Police Story bursting through an adjacent wall and a giant shark with its jaws open embedded in another section of wall. It almost feels like you’re part of Chan film.
The museum also features movie posters of every film Chan has starred in and tributes from other successful actors, musicians, sporting stars and personalities congratulating Chan on his career. Chan’s original hand imprints from outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre are enclosed in a glass case next to a replica of his Hollywood Star, along with Jackie Chan action figures, a fake head and a statue of Chan decked out in his outfit from Dragon Blade. There’s even an area devoted to Chan’s musical endeavours where you can listen to selected works from his 12 studio albums.
As you near the end of the museum, the focus becomes more concerned on Chan’s ongoing charity work than his latest film releases. A proud UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Chan has invested his own money in a number of different foundations across China aimed at helping young children and the elderly. Besides film, charity work seems to be Chan’s main passion in life. It’s refreshing to see the lack of ego surrounding Chan and his willingness to help others.
The Jackie Chan Film Museum is both a bizarre and enriching experience. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re a fan of Chan’s work, it’s a great way to spend a few hours learning about the martial arts expert’s truly amazing life.