Moviegoers who only know Jackie Chan from his Hollywood studio productions might be surprised to learn that he's continued actively working in Asia on films that have rarely made their way to North America (except on DVD). His latest project has the English-language working title Junior Soldiers, and it's expected to start filming early next year, according to Variety.
In the decade since Rush Hour, his blockbuster US hit, Chan has ceded control on his American star projects to studio-approved Hollywood vets. But in Asia, where he's been an established superstar since 1985, he makes films the way he wants to make them. He is the real auteur, no matter if he's credited as director or not. The quality has not been consistently high, but I really liked the solid action of the original version of The Accidental Spy (not the truncated, English-dubbed edition), appreciated the dramatic turn he tried in New Police Story, and enjoyed Rob-B-Hood as the silly riff on Three Men on a Baby that it is. Most of his Asian titles have featured better, more extended action sequences than any of his non-Asian flicks, even though Chan has recently slowed a bit with age (he's 54).
Not much is known about Junior Soldiers so far. Referencing reports on Sina.com, Variety describes it as "a road movie in period costume set during the Qin dynasty." Chan arrived in New Mexico last week (photo above from his official site, where he recounts a side trip to Santa Fe) to begin filming the English-language action comedy The Spy Next Door, directed by Brian Levant, in which he's an undercover spy who babysits his neighbor's kids; they unwittingly draw the attention of "dangerous foreign agents." No doubt, hilarity and action ensue.