After years of delays, the Jackie Chan Film Gallery has finally opened to the public next to Changfeng Park. Time Out takes a look around.
Remember how before he became a grinning billboard face for hire and wumao
Chinese government apologist Jackie Chan was actually a kung fu movie star? That’s the focus of the Jackie Chan Film Gallery, which has been personally overseen by the Hong Kong-born actor and finally opened its doors in Putuo district last month after lengthy delays (there was a ‘soft opening’ ceremony as early as December 2012).
A ticket booth made to look like a truck cab crashing through the wall of the entranceway raises expectations that the museum will be an action-packed adventure-fest, even if the 128RMB price tag dampens this enthusiasm somewhat. The fun factor isn’t exactly heightened by a video welcome message from Chan, the opening of which he delivers in so many languages that even the subtitles give up trying to tell you which tongues he’s talking in. It ends with him explaining that inside you’ll get to see a range of props from his films such as the steering wheel lock from The Accidental Spy.
Inside, true to Chan’s word, the space features a number of props and recreated film scenes – slightly shoddy models of Chan are seen smashing through walls on a police motorbike or hanging from an upturned rally car beside glass cases housing Chan-related paraphernalia such as clapper boards and costumes. While the first floor focuses on the star’s early life, the second is mostly given over to celebrating his charity work. The words ‘peace’ and ‘love’ abound.
Throughout, guests have to be accompanied by a guide (generally Mandarin only, though an English service can apparently be arranged if you call ahead) and the only interactive elements feel dated and lackluster or are out of order, despite the museum being brand new. Perhaps we were foolish for thinking this would be anything other than a self-indulgent yawn-fest, but ultimately, there is little here to make the casual visitor think that the museum was worth the wait – only die hard Jackie Chan fans need stump up the exorbitant entry fee.
By Jake Newby