It's been a while since we've seen Jackie Chan on the big screen serving up some of his one-of-a-kind martial arts-infused realness. His latest movie, Dragon Blade, was released in China earlier this year in February, but those of us who live stateside are just now experiencing the historical epic featuring Chan as Huo An, the leader of the Silk Road Protection Squad. As their name suggests, the group protects China's Silk Road, and is willing to take any measure to keep it safe. The squad sounds like one of the most badass crews in history, but was the Silk Road Protection Squad a real thing? Well, it wasn't exactly real, but it wasn't totally fake, either.
The movie has been billed as a story loosely based on true events. Dragon Blade takes place during the Han Dynasty China during 48 BC when a missing legion of Roman soldiers ended up along China's Silk Road. In an interview with Parade, Chan said that his character is the adopted son of Huo Qubing (played by William Feng in the movie), who was the founder and commanding officer of the Silk Road Protection Squad of the Western Regions in China. The character is based on an actual historical figure. So yes, Qubing was a distinguished military general in China's history. As for Chan's Huo An, there isn't evidence that he is real, but as mentioned, the movie is just inspired by true events, not a direct retelling of them.
In the movie, Adrien Brody plays the Roman leader Tiberius, who wants to stake a claim on the legendary trade route called the Silk Road. Huo An partners with defected Roman soldiers led by General Lucius (John Cusack) to defend the region. What happens next is throwdown of epic proportions. But before you go out and watch Chan save the Silk Road as a historical action hero, here is a primer of some of his greatest action scenes that are a must-see for both first-time and veteran Chan fans.
Crime Story (1993)
In this police action-drama, Chan showed off some serious fighting skills that would give Jason Bourne a run for his money.
Armour of God (1986)
Fighting a bunch of monks never looked so cool, but this movie is probably best known for a stunt that almost killed Chan.
Rumble in the Bronx (1995)
A necessity in the Jackie Chan catalog.
The Legend of Drunken Master (1994)
How can you not mention the Drunken franchise when talking about Jackie Chan? This is one of those rare cases when the sequel is just as good, if not better, than its predecessor. That said, diehard fans have been dying for a Drunken Master III.
Rush Hour (1998)
The action comedy was a long overdue introduction of Chan to the American mainstream. Since then, he has become one of Hollywood's biggest action superstars.
These movies barely scratch the surface of Chan's legendary status. Consider it an appetizer for the cinematic awesomeness he has given in the past three decades.
Image: Lionsgate Premiere