The long-respected martial arts guru and Hollywood star Jackie Chan is remembering two stuntmen who died over the weekend. Both Yang Sheng and James Allan passed away within two days of each other. The two were long-standing members of Chan’s team, working with him on projects dating back to the 1980s.
“Within the space of a few days, the JC Stunt team lost 2 family members. It’s hard to find words to describe how I feel,” Chan said in a blog post. Sheng was just 58. Allan was a young 48.
Back in 1984, Sheng joined the Jackie Chan Stunt Team and worked with him in the 1985 film “Police Story.” Chan fondly recalled Sheng’s ability to perform dangerous stunts, saying “it felt like only yesterday” the two worked together.
While Sheng’s cause of death wasn’t released, the Stuntman Working Committee of the Chinese Film Association confirmed the man died at the Tianjin Center Hospital, PopCulture reported.
In addition to Sheng, Allan, the first non-Asian stuntman to join Chan’s team in 1997, also died. Allan’s career included a number of hit films including “Kick Ass’ and “Sinister 2”. He notably worked with Chan in the 1999 film “Gorgeous.” His cause of death was not reported.
Jackie Chan’s Impressive Career
A native of Hong Kong, Chan has worked long to highlight the contributions made by Chinese stuntmen.
After studying theater at the China Drama Academy, Chan broke into the Hollywood scene in the 1990s. Prior to this he’d already made a splash in the Chinese film world. His notorious film “Rush Hour” opposite funny man Chris Tucker was released in 1998. This role propelled Chan to become a household name as well as a global star.
Following his breakout film, Chan went on to star in the “Rush Hour” sequel as well as “Shanghai Noon,” “Around the World in 80 Days” and the 2010 reboot of ‘The Karate Kid,” in addition to dozens of other hits. In 2008, the film star lent his voice to the popular “Kung Fu Panda.”
As the actor got older, he limited the number of stunts in his movies in order to still be able to work, while protecting his health. His latest role is in the 2021 film “Project X-Traction.”
Chan continues to use his platform to lend support for stuntmen in the industry saying the specialized performers should be able to “perform their skills and present their work on an international stage, and also obtain more assurances and respect for even the most basic stuntmen in the industry. I think I’ve reached a point in my life where if I know I have the ability to do something, I should do something, and it’s [certainly] something I will do,” the actor said.