Hong Kong star Jackie Chan celebrates Canada Day in Vancouver

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      Comedic martial-artist Jackie Chan touched down in Vancouver on July 30, just in time to help the city celebrate Canada Day.

      The Hong Kong–born star made an appearance at YVR after taking the inaugural flight of Hong Kong Airlines' new non-stop daily flight between Hong Kong and Vancouver. Chan is the new ambassador for the airline and Vancouver was chosen as the airline's first destination in North America.

      Hong Kong Airlines chief marketing officer George Liu and action star Jackie Chan attended a press conference at the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel on June 30.
      Tammy Kwan

      YVR CEO Craig Richmond, who took the flight with Chan to Vancouver, prepared for Chan's arrival with intense physical training as documented in this video.

      The two faced off at YVR. Needless to say, it was fierce. Who won the fight has yet to be determined (though we presume it was Richmond—both the CEO and the city).

      After those shenanigans, Chan attended Canada 150 celebrations on Canada Day (July 1) at Canada Place.

      At Canada Place, he sang a medley of songs with flight attendants and a children's choir, including "Better World" (written by his son Jaycee Chan), "Better Tomorrow", and "We Are the World". (Chan is a prolific singer, having recorded numerous albums and theme songs since 1984 in Cantonese, Mandarin, English, and Japanese.)

      On July 2, the 63-year-old star returned to the airport to greet passengers on an outbound HK Airlines flight to Hong Kong.

      Thanks in part to his roles in Hollywood films such as Rush Hour and Shanghai Knights, not to mention his distinctive fusion of comedy and acrobatic martial arts, Chan is one of a select number of Asian celebrities whose international recognition goes beyond Asian audiences. He's also no stranger to Vancouver, having filmed his 1995 action film Rumble in the Bronx here.

      Hong Kong Airlines

      However in recent years, Chan's political views have sparked controversy, particularly in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

      In 2004, he called the Taiwanese presidential election "the biggest joke in the world", resulting in protests meeting him when he landed in Taipei in 2008. He also criticized protestors for disrupting the torch relay for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

      In 2009, his statement about the need for political control of Chinese people drew criticism from Taiwan and Hong Kong. He further drew ire when he said his hometown was becoming a "city of protest" in 2012, and also called the U.S. the "most corrupt" country in the world.

      Despite his controversial views, Chan has also engaged in numerous philanthropic pursuits: he founded the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation in 1988; is an ambassador for Save China's Tigers (which aims to protect the endangered South China Tiger); was appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2004; launched the Dragon's Heart Foundation in 2005 to help children and elderly in remote locations in China; and has promoted or participated in several disaster-relief fundraising efforts, including in response to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, and the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

      His forthcoming movies include The Karate Kid 2, Shanghai Dawn, and The Lego Ninjago Movie.

      In the upcoming British-Chinese action thriller The Foreigner, Chan stars as a former bomb maker who runs a restaurant. When his daughter is killed in a bombing, he sets out on a mission of revenge against Irish terrorists. He seeks out the help of a government official, played by Pierce Brosnan, who he is convinced can help him find those responsible.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook