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Little-known fact: Jackie Chan studied singing and martial arts at the China Drama Academy. The action icon unleashes his vocal skills in the Chinese version of ‘The Foreigner’ and gives USA TODAY a karaoke-style preview.
USA TODAY

LOS ANGELES — Jackie Chan still has the action moves.

The boyish action star, 63, is eager to prove it, too, pulling himself onto the narrow porch rail at the Montage Beverly Hills hotel for some breezy balancing on his butt. Chan runs through a series of cheeky moves — look-no-hands, then arms folded, even hands resting on his raised knee. 

It’s only two stories up, but Chan leans out precariously enough that people on the ground start pointing and taking pictures. His manager, Philip Button, walks onto the scene murmuring, “What the (expletive) is Jackie doing now?” 

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Showing off aside, what Chan is actually doing now is getting away from the pure action (and comedy) that has made him a screen icon, earning him an honorary Oscar last November. The Hong Kong-born star wants to show he has acting chops — in films like The Foreigner (in theaters Friday) — as powerful as his martial-arts blows.

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Jackie Chan plays a father obsessed with finding his daughter’s killers in ‘The Foreigner.’
USA TODAY

“In my own country, I can do so many different roles. Because I write my own script and own my own company,” says Chan, whose franchise role in America has been the Rush Hour comedies with Chris Tucker.

“In America, it’s always comedy; comedy and action comedy for me,” he says. “The studios and directors think, ‘Without Jackie…