The transcript below is from the video “Bruce Lee vs Jackie Chan” by WatchMojo.com.

Peter DeGiglio from WatchMojo.com:

“Welcome to WatchMojo. And in this installment of Versus, we’ll be pitting Bruce Lee against Jackie Chan.

[Scene from “Police Story” (1985), “The Big Boss” (1971) & “First Strike” (1996)]

For this showdown, we’ll be looking at two of the most legendary Chinese martial artists and action movie superstars. Don’t forget to let us know in the comments if you think we picked the right martial arts icon in this battle of the badasses.

Peter DeGiglio from WatchMojo.com:

ROUND 1: MARTIAL ARTS TRAINING

Although he was born in San Francisco, California, Bruce Lee was raised and spent a majority of his childhood in Hong Kong. Living in the city during a time of social unrest, he frequently got into fights with local gang members. To channel this energy in a safer way, he was trained by his father in Wu Style Tai Chi; then, at age sixteen, he studied the art of Wing Chun with the famous grandmaster Ip Man. Meanwhile, he also learned western boxing from his coach at St. Francis Xavier’s College. Lee went on to master several martial arts including kung fu, jiu-jitsu, and judo. Throughout his life, he strove to perfect himself by observing other fighters, such as taekwondo pioneer Jhoon Goo Rhee and Muhammad Ali. On the other hand, Jackie Chan was first introduced to martial arts at the Peking Opera School, where he was sent after failing his first year of primary school. It was there that he learned a variety of martial arts like Wushu, karate, taekwondo, and judo, as well as music and dance. Chan excelled in acrobatics and eventually joined an elite performance group composed of the school’s top students. He continued training after breaking into the film industry, eventually earning a black belt in hapkido. While we wouldn’t want to mess with either of these men, Jackie Chan was trained first and foremost as a performer; meanwhile, Bruce Lee prioritized fighting styles that were applicable to real-life situations, thus making him the fiercer fighter.

[Scene from “The Big Boss” (1971)]

This round goes to Bruce.

Winner: Bruce Lee

Peter DeGiglio from WatchMojo.com:

ROUND 2: ACTING CAREER

As the son of a Hong Kong opera singer, Bruce Lee grew up in the world of show business, appearing in twenty movies before the age of eighteen. After moving to the U.S., he made a big impression on American audiences with his performance as Kato in ‘The Green Hornet’, the show introduced Chinese martial arts to the States and propelled Lee to stardom.

[Scene from “The Green Hornet” (1966-67)]

He went on to star in ‘Fist of Fury’ and ‘The Way of the Dragon’, in which he fought co-star Chuck Norris.

[Scene from “The Way of the Dragon” (1972)]

Shortly after shooting ‘Enter the Dragon’, Lee died from an allergic reaction to painkillers – but not before sparking a worldwide infatuation with martial arts. At the time of Lee’s death, Jackie Chan was only nineteen years old. Like many Asian actors, he was groomed to become Lee’s successor; however, he chose to carve his own path. During the 70s, Chan established his trademark goofy but badass persona in action-packed Hong Kong blockbusters like ‘Drunken Master’.

[Scene from “Drunken Master” (1978)]

In 1995, he made his Hollywood breakthrough with ‘Rumble in the Bronx’, before co-starring with Chris Tucker in ‘Rush Hour’.

[Scene from “Rush Hour” (1998)]

Since then, the actor has experimented with more ‘serious’ roles in dramatic films, like the 2010 remake of ‘The Karate Kid’.

[Scene from “The Karate Kid” (2010)]

As of today, Chan has become one of the most recognizable celebrities in the world. It’s hard to be fair in this round since Bruce Lee died when he was only thirty-two. But with over 150 movies under his belt, we have to give this round to Jackie Chan.

Winner: Jackie Chan

Peter DeGiglio from WatchMojo.com:

ROUND 3: STUNT WORK

Throughout his career, Bruce Lee starred in action movies that pitted one fearless hero against many enemies.

[Scene from “Enter the Dragon” (1973)]

This gave him plenty of opportunities to show off his fighting expertise; and although he was known to use stunt doubles, he choreographed and executed the vast majority of his fight scenes. When William Dozier cast Lee in ‘The Green Hornet’, he expected the Chinese actor to adopt an American fighting style, but Lee wanted to stay true to the style in which he was trained. As a result, he was literally too fast for the cameras and had to slow down his movements.

[Scene from “The Green Hornet” (1966-67)]

While Jackie Chan may not have as much fighting experience, there’s no arguing with his track record when it comes to stunts.

[Scene from “Police Story” (1985)]

As a young actor, Chan was often a stuntman for action movies; he even worked on the sets of Bruce Lee’s ‘Fist of Fury’ and ‘Enter the Dragon’ at age seventeen.

[Scene from “Enter the Dragon” (1973)]

He went on to build his brand around his stunt work, performing his own stunts and some for other actors. In the process, Chan has broken many bones, including – but not limited to – his nose, both cheekbones, his sternum, and his hips. He sustained his worst injury on the set of ‘Armor of God’, where he fractured his skull after jumping from an overhang. We can’t deny the badassery of Bruce Lee’s fight scenes, but Jackie literally holds the Guinness World Record for ‘Most Stunts by A Living Actor’.

[Scene from “Project A” (1983)]

Winner: Jackie Chan

Peter DeGiglio from WatchMojo.com:

ROUND 4: OTHER INTERESTS & SKILLS

Aside from being a formidable fighter, Bruce Lee was also a man of culture. At the University of Washington, he studied drama, philosophy, and psychology. Lee was extremely well-read, having a library with thousands of books, most of them about philosophy and martial arts. His personal philosophy was deeply influenced by Buddhism and Taoism, which he wrote about extensively in a series of free-verse poems. Not to mention, the martial artist was also a dedicated cha-cha dancer. He won a dance tournament in Hong Kong when he was eighteen, and reportedly kept a notebook containing 108 sketches of cha-cha moves. Jackie Chan may be most famous for his movies, but he’s also had a successful musical career. In the 80s, he started producing records – thus putting his opera school training to good use. Besides singing the theme songs of his own movies, he’s also performed at public events like the closing ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. When questioned about his life, Chan has stated that he regrets not studying harder. The star who once failed primary school has received honorary degrees from the Hong Kong Baptist University and the University of Cambodia. He’s even the Dean of the Jackie Chan Film and Television Academy at the Wuhan Institute of Design and Sciences. There’s no doubt that both Lee and Chan are men of many talents. However, we’ll give the edge to Bruce. It’s no easy feat to become such an accomplished actor, martial artist, and intellectual.

Winner: Bruce Lee

Peter DeGiglio from WatchMojo.com:

ROUND 5: LEGACY

Despite his tragically short life, Bruce Lee has left an unparalleled mark on the world. By introducing Chinese martial arts to the U.S., he revolutionized the way Asian men were portrayed in American media. His films created a global ‘kung fu craze’, leading to countless movies starring martial artists like Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme.

[Scene from “Double Impact” (1991)]

Lee changed the world of combat sports by inventing the art of Jeet Kune Do.

[Scene from “Longstreet” (1971-72)]

He’s even been credited as the ‘father of mixed martial arts’ by UFC Founder Dana White. Plenty of contemporary movies have paid homage to this pop culture icon, from Tarantino’s ‘Kill Bill’ to the more recent ‘Ip Man’ series.

[Scene from “Ip Man 4: The Finale” (2019)]

As for Jackie Chan, you’d be hard-pressed to find a single person in this day and age who doesn’t know who he is.

[Scene from “Who Am I?” (1998)]

In a decade full of serious, Bruce Lee type action heroes, he paved the way for the action-comedy genre with his slapstick acrobatics.

[Scene from “First Strike” (1996)]

His cheerful on-screen persona inspired iconic characters from manga like ‘Dragon Ball’ and video games like ‘Tekken’. Chan has received countless awards for his accomplishments, as well as stars on both the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Hong Kong Avenue of Stars. Unlike Lee, Jackie Chan is still writing his legacy; but so far, his impact hasn’t been quite as revolutionary.

[Scene from “Shanghai Noon” (2000)]

Bruce Lee is a martial arts pioneer, a symbol of bridging the gap between the East and the West, and the undisputed winner of this round – and the competition.

Winner: Bruce Lee




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