Jackie Chan, an amateur archeologist, would prefer to quietly do his work for the local university, but fate has dealt him another hand. When he finds a shield containing a talisman, he runs afoul of The Dark Hand, a criminal organization led by a man called Valmont and guided by the spirit Shendu. Jackie and his family must cooperate with a secret law enforcement organization, Section 13, to counter the threat, and must face dangers that will demand all of Jackie's daring and skill in martial arts to overcome.
Jackie Chan – Jackie Chan is a talented archaeologist who lives in San Francisco with his uncle. His quiet life of exploring booby-trapped castles and dusty tombs is disturbed when an old friend, Captain Black of Section 13, recruits him to stop the Dark Hand acquiring the 12 Talismans. Having been raised by his Uncle, a powerful Chi Wizard, Jackie understands that the Talismans themselves pose a serious threat to the world, though he often laments that he has been forced onto the front lines of the battle between good and evil.
Jade Chan – Jade is Jackie's Hong Kong-born, 12 year-old niece (actually his first-cousin-once-removed, since she is his "cousin Shen's girl") who is already 'Americanized'. She is adventurous, and to that extent, she frequently disobeys her uncle's advice to remain in safety, and tends to accompany Jackie as he goes out on adventures and thus getting herself into trouble, and though she will not admit it, often has to be rescued by Jackie almost every time. Just as often, however, her quick mind and flexible thinking helps Jackie in situations where his moderate thinking and habitual caution are a definite hindrance. A frequent gag in the series is her inexplicable ability to appear in the middle of the action mere seconds after being left in a supposedly secure location/vehicle for her safety, she also wanted to be a hero/#1 fan like Jackie is and maybe have a fan club but Jackie forbids that because of her age.
Uncle – Uncle, as he is known (he is called "sensei" by Tohru), is the uncle of Jackie and great-uncle of Jade. He has a very stereotypical Cantonese accented drawl, usually talks in third person about himself, and often uses Cantonese in many aspects of his speech (his magic incantation, "Jiu1mo1gwai2gwaai3 faai3 di2 zau2" (妖魔鬼怪快哋走), means "Evil demons and malevolent spirits, be gone!" in Cantonese). His most commonly used magical items are a dried salamander and puffer fish; both having backgrounds in Asian remedies. Tea is his favorite drink, but he often complains it's too hot or cold and always throws the cup when he finishes. He has a variety of catchphrases, almost all of them used as admonitions to other characters.
Tohru – A very large Japanese man, Tohru was once an enforcer for the Dark Hand and a personal servant for Valmont, its leader. From the episode centered around the Pig and Dog talismans, Tohru started to have second thoughts about working for the Dark Hand. Several things point to this, from Jackie trying to tell Tohru to come and work for Section 13 because "they serve donuts every Thursday" (which he stated back in episode 13) to all the insults and blames he bore through his working for the Dark Hand and betraying them, always angering him. However, when the Dark Hand managed to revive Shendu, the demon sorcerer double-crossed them. Forced to fight Shendu alone, Tohru was quickly defeated, after which he changed his allegiances, and turned himself in to Section 13's authorities. After an ordeal that allowed Tohru some degree of freedom, he became Uncle's apprentice and developed a close big brother relationship with Jade, whom he becomes very protective of. Tohru shows great loyalty to whoever he stands by, even back to the time when he was an enforcer for the Dark Hand.
Ratso – A nerdy strongman who acts somewhat childish, dimwitted and has a fondness of toys, baseball and grilled cheese sandwiches. He wears a bandage across his nose as a fashion statement, and studied theoretical physics before joining the Enforcers. When infused with fire demon Chi by Drago, he could generate fire from his hands. When the Monkey Talisman affected him, he was usually turned into a rat (which is fitting, based on his name). In Season 2 episode 1, Chow turned him into a walrus by accident and changed him back. He has an unnamed sister and a young nephew named Rocko, who is his sister's son and is unaware of his uncle's criminal career.
Chow – Of Asian descent (most likely Chinese, for in Season 2 episode 3, he is able to read a riddle in Chinese), he is the shortest and youngest member of the group. His trademark is a pair of yellow-orange sunglasses, which are actually eyeglasses, and worked at a store called Sunglass Shack where he was employee of the month 3 times before joining the Dark Hand. He gained the ability to shoot fire from his eyes during his employ by Drago (although all too often his sunglasses broke when he used that ability). He has a fear of flying, heights, space travel and a lot of other things. He has a young nephew named Charlie, who is unaware of his uncle's crime life.
Finn – An Irish-American comedian and the brains (or at least the most intelligent) of the Dark Hand enforcers (after Tohru's defection). He is a 1970s fanatic, and sang disco at weddings before joining the Dark Hand. Along with the other two recurring Enforcers and Hak Foo, he worked for Shendu, Valmont, Daolon Wong, Tarakudo and Drago (shortly). He commonly and playfully refers to Valmont as Big-V (and Little-V when he is reduced to a child) and Shendu as "Shen-Dude". When a dragon, he has the ability to shoot fire from his fingers, and as a Dark Chi Warrior he assumes the mantle of his predecessor Rhen. He has a young nephew named Frank, who is unaware of his uncle's criminal career.
Hak Foo – aka The Black Tiger, has spiked red hair, a thin moustache and chin beard, and habitually wears a blue muscle shirt and jeans. He wore a blue vest and red pantaloons in his first appearance, and when he joined the Dark Hand, had a costume change. He is a very skillful and brawny fighter, and a dangerous opponent to all who face him ... except for a minor hitch. Hak Foo has the habit of making up and shouting colorful metaphorical phrases whenever he commences an attack or a special action.
Valmont – The leader of the Dark Hand who hails from the United Kingdom. He is a skillful criminal mastermind and martial arts expert who is able to hold his own against (and even get the better of) Jackie in their personal confrontations. When something goes wrong, he says his catchphrase, "blast!"
Captain Black – Captain Black is the head of Section 13 and Jackie's longtime friend. In the first season episode The Rock, when Jade tries to access Section 13's Vault, it is revealed that Captain Augustus Black was born on October 27, 1959, which Jade thought might have been the Talisman vault's password. It is also hinted that Captain Black may be a fan of James Bond as he used "007" as the pass code to the vault (Jade mentions that the code only had 'three numbers, last one seven'). In Black Magic, Captain Black mentions that he is a fan of Elvis Presley; "The only 'King' I bow to is Elvis, and I don't see you wearing Blue Suede Shoes". He is also relatively sarcastic, as (in season 3, "A Jolly J-Team Xmas") when mistaken for Tohru's mother, Captain Black commented that, "I am often mistaken for elderly Japanese women." Uncle has commented that Captain Black has a lot of good chi inside of him, as Jackie found out when he was surprised to find that Captain Black was able to resist an Oni Mask for quite a significant amount of time.
Magic and the supernatural
The series involves magic and the supernatural, like spells, demons, chi, and stone talismans all throughout the episodes.
Rat: Power and ability of Animation. "Motion to the Motionless" Gives inanimate objects life. The animated object takes on the personality, powers and abilities of the person or thing it's modeled after. A Quetzalcoatl (sun god) statue could fly and shoot fire balls and the Lo Pei statue knew chi magic. When Shendu was under the spell of Lo Pei, this Talisman was required to maintain his form, if the Talismans were used to free him from statue form. Found on the bottom of an ancient Chinese lantern. Can also deanimate objects or people when removed.
Ox: Power and ability of Super Strength. Found by Jackie on the mask of El Toro Fuerte. In the episode "The Mask of El Toro Fuerte", it greatly strengthened Jade to superhuman levels. Can also strengthen objects.
Tiger: Power and ability of Balance (the spiritual kind, not the literal kind). When activated, it splits the user's positive and negative halves (Yin and Yang) into two separate beings, each holding a half of the Talisman. Can also be used to find the "other half" of a broken object. The two beings rejoin when they reunite the broken Talisman. It was found within a pie. In Season 1 episode 12 "The Tiger and the Pussycat" Shendu claims it is the glue which binds the others together."
Rabbit: Power and ability of Super Speed. It was found stuck in the shell of a Giant tortoise in the Pacific. When combined with the levitation Talisman, it gives the user the power of supersonic flight.
Dragon: Power and ability of Combustion. Allows highly destructive and explosive pure fiery energy to be discharged from the Talisman. The Dragon Talisman fuses to the wielder's hand. Found in a volcanic cave, it is shown to draw power from the users emotions.
Snake: Power and ability of Invisibility. Found on the ceiling of a chamber of a Snake worshiper's temple near the Amazon River and later donated to a New York museum. It is also Viper's favorite Talisman (as she considers it to be her "sign") only draw back is that Shadowkhan can see the user despite being invisible, and various Magical items designed for locating.
Horse: Power and ability of Healing/Renewal. "The noble Horse of a knight" can "expel all alien forces within," curing the user of illness (foreign bodies), and can also heal physical injuries, repair broken objects, and instantly relieve physical pain and disorientation. Found within a structure atop an unnamed mountain. In the Old West, it was government property destined for the San Francisco museum. Its whereabouts in between are unknown.
Sheep: Power and ability of Astral Projection, or the ability to remove the soul from the body (and others too) and wander as an invisible spirit. While projecting, the wielder is able to enter another person's dreams. Although you can't hurt a person's astral form, if two or more users are both astral then they can do damage to each other (as seen when Chow fought Jackie) and the user's body is susceptible to all damage when the astral user returns to the body (i.e. Hak Foo during his fight with Tohru). It was first found in a crate on a freight train bound for Istanbul.
Monkey: Power and ability of Shape-shifting. Grants the ability to change the shape of yourself or others into different animals, (just animals nothing else). Found by Jade at the bottom of the sea next to a volcanic island. Any item/person/animal may be changed into the shape of any animal by saying the name of the intended animal's shape, the effect can be reversed be pointing the talisman at an effected object or person and saying "Change Him, Her, or Me Back".
Rooster: Power and ability of Levitation. The user of this Talisman will have the ability to levitate objects into the air as well as his/herself. Combining this Talisman with the Rabbit Talisman will allow the person to achieve supersonic flight. It also grants the user telekinesis. Found within a golden shield inside a ruined Bavarian castle. This was the first talisman of the series and has been used quite often throughout the series.
Dog: Power and ability of Immortality. "The Dog talisman is best friend to man, it restores youthful energy to its holder, and grants eternal life." It also prevents death. This Talisman was found in a Bavarian windmill.
Pig: Power and ability of Heat Vision. "Heat Beam Eyes" Allows the user to expel unusually strong and powerful beams of pure yellow-colored heat energy from their eyes. Found on the hat of a mechanical Pig atop a Bavarian clock tower.
In the series of Jackie Chan Adventures, several characters can use a form of magic using chi energy. Chi magic involves the use of potions, magic objects, and incantations. Below are some of the Chi incantations that have been used throughout the series. Each wizard usually uses the same incantation but can accomplish many different effects, ranging from banishing demons to turning living creatures to stone.
Yu Mo Gui Gwai Fai Di Zao – The main good incantation of the series, this spell is used most often by Uncle. It is used for multiple purposes, including: banishing the evil power of the Shadowkhan from Jade's body, returning the Demon Sorcerers to the Netherworld, turning Shendu to stone, and extracting the Demon Chi of the Demon Sorcerers. Translated literally, the incantation is Cantonese for "Ghosts and goblins quickly leave" (妖魔鬼怪快啲走).
Lai Shui Zai – The incantation used by Bai Tza during her attempt to flood San Francisco. It is possibly 'Lai Shui Zai' (來水災) in Chinese. It means 'Occur, flood' or 'Come, flood'. The spell circle that this spell needs has a '水' at the middle of it, which means 'Water' in Chinese and Japanese.
Kuai Kuai Qi Lai – Incantation used by Shendu (in Jackie's body) to open the portal to the Book of Ages. In Mandarin, 快快起來 literally means "Quickly Quickly Stand Up."
Nukeru, He Men Ja'aku – The Japanese incantation used for the removal of Oni masks. It is also used to imprison Tarakudo in his Oni mask. Can be translated as "Come out, evil spell."
Qu Yiqi Bushi Ni – The main incantation used by the evil chi wizard Iso. He uses it to do a variety of things.
Mee-thana Chi. Chi-Mee-thana Chi - spell Tohru used to absorb all 8 demon chi from Drago.
Ya Gaa Mee Mo Ya Gaa Mee Chi Wa - spell Drago used to absorb demon chi from the Ice Crew.
Common Sense Media gave the show 4 out of 5 stars, saying "Lighthearted, entertaining, suspenseful, and humorous, this show may not be deep, but it's a lot of fun".
References to Jackie Chan's career
The TV series features references to Jackie Chan's films and his own life throughout the series. In the first episode, Jackie is surprised to learn that Jade speaks English. She tells him that she never said she didn't speak it, he assumed. This is a reference to Jackie's line of a similar nature in the movie Rush Hour. In the episode "A Night at the Opera", Uncle states that he was part of the stage group "Seven Little Fortunes", which Jackie Chan was actually part of in real life. Another example is season 3 episode 7 Jackie is bitten by a Snake, and uses a kung fu style known as "the drunken master" from one of his earliest headlining films of the same name. According to Jackie during one of his question segments, the characters of the show are based on certain people in his life. Uncle is based on his agent and father, Jade is based on an assortment of his nieces, and Tohru is based on one of his stunt team members as well as himself. An episode titled "And He Does His Own Stunts" in reference to the fact that Jackie Chan does his own stunts in his movies.
Some episodes' titles are based on actual film names. For example "Half a Mask of Kung Fu" is based on Half a Loaf of Kung Fu, four episode titles ("Enter the Viper", "Enter the Cat", "Re-Enter the J-Team", and "Re-Enter the Dragon") are based on Enter the Dragon (In which Jackie Chan performs as a stuntman), "Shanghai Moon" is based on Shanghai Noon, "Armor of the Gods" is based on Armour of God, "Project A, For Astral" is based on Project A and "Rumble in the Big House" is based on Rumble in the Bronx.
A number of books were released to accompany the series.
In 2001, Sony Pictures released episodes from the first season on VHS and DVD. But one format differed from the other in that of the four DVDs released, three were select, individual episodes while the fourth contained the whole season of 13 episodes; the VHS series had only three, separate episodes. Also, there was a difference in the titles of the said episodes released on VHS and DVD. The Day Of The Dragon VHS box cover art was the same as that of the first season DVD case cover, which featured Jackie, Jade and Uncle with the villains behind them, dimmed in a yellowish background. On these, the episodes were presented sans the teasers that originally appeared prior to the opening/intro sequence as they aired. They are currently unavailable and out-of-print, especially since they had limited pressings and no plans have been announced to follow up season one with DVD box sets of the remaining four seasons. However, the entire series can be ordered and seen via video-on-demand service at Amazon and iTunes. As of October 2010, the entire series was made available on the Netflix Instant Streaming service.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment plans to release the second season on DVD through Amazon.com, and other online retailers.
There has only been one Jackie Chan game first released on Game Boy Advance then re-released on PlayStation 2 both are under different titles. Other titles include 成龙大冒险 (Chinese Title Simplified) and Chenglong Da Maoxian (Chinese Title)