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This Armour Of God Scene Almost Put An End To Jackie Chan's Stunt Career

One of the most recognized film stars in the world, actor/director/stuntman Jackie Chan is perhaps best known as a martial arts actor who, throughout his career, has insisted on doing his own stunts (per The Los Angeles Times). Furthermore, many of the stunts he performs involve the kind of extraordinary physical feats that appear likely to cause bodily harm, if not permanent injury and possibly even death.

The truth is, the actor's many over-the-edge exploits in his movies include a gasp-inducing list of falls, fights, flips, and dives most reasonable individuals would never contemplate doing, let alone actually attempt. For instance, as detailed in The Hollywood Reporter, while working on the 1983 film "Project A," Chan broke his nose after falling through two storefront canopies and crashing onto the ground. Two years later, his stunt work in "Police Story" resulted in second-degree burns, a back injury, and a dislocated pelvis when he slid down a 60-foot-long pole and exploded through a large pane of glass as he landed (per Decider). But it's a particularly vicious injury he sustained while performing a risky move during a scene in "The Armour of God" that very nearly ended his stunt career for good.

A bad fall while filming Armour of God was almost Jackie Chan's last stunt

As reported by Yahoo, in addition to the above-mentioned injuries, Jackie Chan's determination to perform almost all of his own stunts during his career has also seen him break his breastbone, ankle, and eyebrow bone and damage his chin, tailbone, and knees, among other assorted bruises and scrapes. But it was during a location shoot for the 1986 film "Armour of God" that the actor's stunt work finally jumped the shark. Well, not a shark, actually, but a tree.

In the same Yahoo article, Chan recalled that the scene in question called for him to pop a beer and take a swig just before executing the stunt, which involved leaping from a high stone wall to swing on the branch of a nearby tree. But after a second take, he'd had more than just one quick swig, which may have contributed to what happened next. When he finally made the jump for the tree, he managed to grab the branch, but it snapped, sending him plummeting to the rocky ground below. Rushed to the hospital, he was operated on for a potentially lethal skull injury that included a fragment of bone penetrating into his brain. 

While this near-miss in "Armour of God" didn't dissuade Chan from doing his own falls and fights in future movies, this scene didn't just come close to ending his stunt career; it also came close to ending his life.