Pauli's Corner (#1): Jay Chou may accomplish what "A-lister" Rain can't - release a good Hollywood movie

If you haven't heard yet, a South Korean news site recently claimed that its country's homegrown celebrity Rain is getting accepted into Hollywood as an A-list star. Not only that, but that people in Hollywood are supposedly considering him to be on the same level as Jackie Chan. If you're even slightly familiar with Rain's work, then the notion that he can be compared to Jackie Chan is pretty far-fetched. Let's compare both celebrities claim to cinematic fame:

Film Career Start
Jackie Chan: After his impressive martial arts work as a stuntman in a pair of notable Bruce Lee movies, which included Jackie getting face-to-fist with Bruce himself, a film producer spotted Jackie's potential as a movie star.
Rain: Shot to fame after acting in idol dramas such as Full House, which along with his massive fame from his music career, launched him in a starring movie role.
Winner? Jackie Chan. The Hong Kong star broke through the movie industry while still a relative unknown, not relying on some huge existing fame like Rain.

Film Acting History
Jackie Chan: Too many movies to count. Too many years to count.
Rain: 1 movie in South Korea, 2 movies in Hollywood. Movie acting debut 4 years ago.
Winner? Jackie Chan. The Hong Kong star actually has a film acting résumé.

Box Office Results
Jackie Chan: Too many to list.
Rain: Moderate success in South Korea, but didn't last one month in theaters. None in Hollywood.
Winner? Jackie Chan. One has to actually have a box office success to be considered.

I could go on, but at this point it's obviously clear that there's a huge divide between authentic A-lister Jackie Chan and bogus A-lister Rain. What's even sadder is that Rain isn't even the best actor representing South Korea right now; that honor goes to either Jang Dong-gun (The Warrior's Way) or Lee Byung-hun (G.I. Joe).

Yet with all the (undeserved) hype that Rain is getting for his Hollywood debut, Taiwan's de facto Hollywood representative Jay Chou has actually been receiving the opposite reaction for his Hollywood acting debut in The Green Hornet. The Taiwanese superstar does have some shoes to fill and obstacles to overcome though: tackle a role originally done by Bruce Lee and dropped out by Stephen Chow, take on a crash course in English while filming for role, fight off criticisms back in Taiwan for string of non-music disappointments with his drama producer and variety show hosting roles.

Despite all that, Jay is accomplishing something that even Rain couldn't do: get praising reviews for his Hollywood debut. In addition, Jay actually has solid film credentials prior to his own leap into Hollywood, unlike his South Korean counterpart.

Prior Film Experience
Jay Chou: Acted and directed in over half a dozen movies.
Rain: One supporting acting role, two lead acting roles.
Winner? Jay Chou. The Taiwanese superstar simply has much more experience.

Top Box Office Success:
Jay Chou: Secret. Lead actor and director in film. Won handful of awards and was major box office success in East Asia. So successful that sequel is in the works.
Rain: I'm a Cyborg, But That's Okay. Lead actor. Recognition in various international film festivals. Initial box office success, but lasted less than month in theaters and was one of director's worst box office successes.
Winner? Jay Chou. Obviously.

At this point, it's all speculation as to whether Jay's upcoming role in The Green Hornet will do well in box office, but it would be massively difficult for the movie to bomb at the magnitude that Rain's initial Hollywood debut in Speed Racer did. But in the end, Jay is shaping up to have a good first step into Hollywood thus far, while Rain's Hollywood venture has been nothing but a string of disappointments.

Rain as a Hollywood A-lister? It's pretty hard to keep a straight face while saying that.

Return to top of page Copyright © 2010 |