The animated series Jackie Chan Adventures debuted in September 2000, just as the Saturday morning cartoon format was on its last legs. Like the animated adventures of Muhammad Ali in the 1970s and Mr. T in the 1980s, Jackie Chan Adventures took a larger than life superstar, and turned him into an even more larger than life cartoon hero. The series cast the incredibly popular Hong Kong action hero Jackie Chan as an adventuring archeologist, not unlike the character Chan played in the Armour of God movies--only filtered through the lens of American cartoons. Jackie (voiced by actor James Sie) goes on a series of adventures, aided by Uncle (Sab Shimono), and his pesky niece Jade (Stacie Chan). Most of his missions involve the mysterious Section 13, a shadowy government agency that protects the world from supernatural evil forces.
The first season of Jackie Chan Adventures ran for 13 episodes, but for some reason, the entire season has never been released on DVD. That first season followed Jackie on a long mission to retrieve twelve magical talismans being sought by crime organization called the Dark Hand, who want to set free the demon Shendu. The second season picks up where the first left off--Shendu has been defeated, but he's not out of the picture, as he manages to possess the body of crime boss Valmont. While Season 1 of Jackie Chan Adventures has 13 episodes, Season 2 has a staggering 39, although some of the episodes are actually from the first season, but didn't air until the second, even though they take place during the timeline established in the first season. Confused? Yeah, well, therein lies something of a problem. If you go into Season 2 of Jackie Chan Adventures with no knowledge of what the show is about, and never having seen key episodes of Season 1, then you run the risk of being confused.
Jackie Chan Adventures, Season 2 is comprised of episodes that continue the storyline started in the first season. Shendu has possessed the body of Valmont, and with the help of the Dark Hand is trying to acquire a magical box that will allow him to release his demonic brothers and sisters from an other-dimensional prison. Much of Season 2 deals with a variety of different demons, and of course, there's also more mayhem involving the magic talismans. Fortunately, Jackie Chan and his crew aren't having it. In addition to going up against the nefarious Dark Hand and Shendu, there are a significant number of episodes that find Jackie dealing with all sort of magical monsters and legendary characters. Episode 38: "I'll be a Monkey's Puppet" features the legendary Chinese Monkey King, Episode 8: "The Curse of El Chupacabra" finds Jackie dealing with monstrous chupacabras, and in Episode 20: "The Return of the Pussy Cat," Jackie finds himself up against the sinister troll Spring Heeled Jack. Season 2 also marks the formation of the J-Team, a crew of specialized fighters that help Jackie on his various adventures.
Despite the fact that Season 2 of Jackie Chan Adventures is more than ten years old, the show and the episodes manage to hold up. The character of his niece Jade is still incredibly annoying, and nearly every bad thing that happens on the show is because of something she does that she wasn't supposed to do. Maybe younger audiences aren't bothered by her character, but for adult audiences--who arguably shouldn't be watching kids' cartoons--she is a never-ending irritation. And granted, some may find show's characters to be steeped in ethnic stereotypes, the series itself is a lot of fun, and stereotypes not withstanding, the series is populated by a colorful cast of ridiculously fun characters.
Jackie Chan Adventures is a four-disc collection featuring 39 episodes, presented in 1.33:1 fullframe. The discs provided for review were not final product, so I cannot accurately comment on picture quality.
Jackie Chan Adventures is presented in 2.0 Dolby Digital in English. The discs provided for review were not final product, so I cannot accurately comment on audio quality.
There are no bonus features.
A fun series that may be a bit confusing initially, especially if you've never seen the first season, Jackie Chan Adventures remains entertaining even after more than a decade.
David Walker is the creator of BadAzz MoFo, a nationally published film critic, and the Writer/Director of Black Santa's Revenge with Ken Foree now on DVD [Buy it now]