Action, HK Style – Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow (1978)

Director: Yuen Woo-Ping
Starring: Jackie Chan, Simon Yuen Siu Tien, Hwang Jang Lee, Dean Shek, Hsu Hsia, Roy Horan

This movie is almost as old as me so I am not sure if I really need to explain that much about the plot. Jackie Chan plays the dogsbody at a Kung Fu school who keeps being used as a “human punching bag” by Dean Shek while the master is away. One day he sees an old man being beaten up and invites him back for a meal, unknown to him the “beggar” (Simon Yuen Siu Tien) is actually a kung fu master in disguise who is hiding from the psycho master from the Eagle school (Hwang Jang Lee) who is trying to wipe out the other kung fu styles.

I do not know how I managed to miss this one for so long unless I have seen it and forgotten about it before. It was great to be able to see it on the big screen and I did not mind having to watch the dubbed print as it was in 35mm.

Simon Yuen was famous for playing Beggar So and he is just funny to look at and manages to steal a lot of the scenes from Jackie at the start by just being in the scene. He does get some good fight scenes himself though.

This was one of Jackie Chan’s first big hits so he does look very bright and fresh here. People who complain about the current output of this Jackie should go back and see how he got there, I could not imagine working in an industry for almost ten years before you start to get any major recognition. At the start of the 1970s Jackie Chan was doing stunt work and by the end of the decade was a star in his own right.

The fights are well done and seem to have a raw quality to them as well as an almost Australian “she’ll be right” attitude as seen in the visible sticking plaster on Jackie’s arm after he got slashed by the sword in one fight and not even bothering to wipe the blood off when he accidentally got one of his teeth kicked out.

Well worth your time and a good place to start if you are looking into Jackie Chan’s earlier work.

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