SNAKE IN THE EAGLES SHADOW

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Snake In The Eagles Shadow Cover Back in the day orphans were usually beaten and abused my their masters before they were allowed to learn anything useful. Now a good example of this is clearly illustrated in the following 98 minute movie made in 1978. It was Directed by Yuen Woo-Ping; and Starred: Jackie Chan, Hwang Jang Lee, and Yuen Siu Tien.


Snake in the Eagle's Shadow


THE STORY:
Excuse me, old man (Yuen Siu Tien). But I was wondering if you can help me learn some martial arts, please? Well, I've seen you hanging around for quite some time now, and my teachers back in the monastery won't allow me to learn this type of thing. Heck, the only thing they will allow me to do is be used as a punching bag whenever I'm not sweeping up after them.

So what do you say, you old git? Will you teach me how to fight or not?

Yes. Yes you will! Wow! That's progress for you. When do I begin? Oh! Not until a rival martial-arts master discovers that you are in fact the last surviving member of a secret style! OK. Fair enough. So what should I do in the meantime, eh? Eat a bowl of noodles and try my best to get into shape? Or what about if I mistakenly allude to your teachings when some hippy looking character suddenly comes into town? You know. What's his face. Lord Sheng Kuan (as Hwang Jang Lee).

But then again, that's most probably why what next transpires all goes ga-ga when you say to me 'Chien Fu (Jackie Chan)! Why are you such an ass-h*le?'. As pupils are perpetually duped - old men eat a copious amount of soup - masters are eventually pooped - and at the end of the day, a young shaggy haired orphan is no longer stuck in a chicken coop, HAI-YAH!





THE REVIEW:
With some benefit of hindsight I'd say 'Snake in The Eagles Shadow' is a Kung-Fu flick we've all seen many times before. Boy gets taught how to fight by a ‘wise old sage'. Something bad happens to put ‘sage’ in danger. And finally the boy becomes a man by kicking the cr*p out of some sod with a dodgy hairstyle.

Snake in the Eagle's Shadow DVD Cover
What's more, film fans, this adventure is like watching a drugged up version of the Karate Kid on acid. Although in this case I feel that the majority of the kung-fu on display was as dynamic, energetic, overtly funny, and as rhythmical as any music-video ever produced. Plus to a certain extent you will appreciate this type of genre based production more if you know it's place within the confines of cinematic history.

Well, you have to understand that before it was devised Lo Wei wanted to mold Jackie Chan into the image of the dearly departed Bruce Lee. And then, when he wasn't able to do that successfully, he decided to loan him out to other studios so he could earn a quick buck.

Disrespectful. I know. But that's what it was like back in those halcyon days where Jackie and Yuen somehow managed to get together to make this flick. And what you have to also take into consideration, folks, is that when this movie eventually became a big hit a new style of kung fu comedy was born. One that was full of violent yet comedic 'dancing style karate moves', complemented with a story-line which wasn't very much of a story.

Of course I do mean this with all due respect. Its just that the style of the acting -- for use of a better word -- does appear to be somewhat over-played at times, even though it does kind of suit this type of jovial movie to a tea. Plus I best mention that the hairstyles and dodgy sounding dubbing can distract here and there, whist the musical score -- again, for use of a better word -- seems like a strange blend of classical, pop, and... errr... tambourine


Snake in the Eagle's Shadow Starring Jackie Chan and Yuen Siu Tien


On the flip side of things, though, I want you to know that I really-really did like sitting down and watching this adventure an awful-awful lot. In fact, Jackie and Huang were both on fairly good form, where as Yuen pulled off a pretty decent job of playing a nutty old kung fu master. And all in all, yeah, I have to say that this is one of my all time favorite films because it's badness is what makes it so good.

Snake in the Eagle's Shadow Snake in the Eagle's Shadow Starring Jackie Chan, Hwang Jang Lee, and Yuen Siu Tien
Well, just try to think of it as a 'guilty pleasure' whilst you check out the following filmic-facts. (1) 'Seasonal Film Corporation' first released this production in Honk Kong on the 1st of March, 1978, and eventually clawed back $2.7 million HKD at the Cantonese Box office. (2) Loosely translated, this project was entitled 'The Shadow Of The Serpent' in France; 'The Big Fight' in Portugal, and 'A Cobra' in Poland. (3) According to Jackie Chan's biography he lost a tooth by accident after Hwang Jang Lee kicked him in the face during one of his fight scenes. Whilst in another his arm was accidentally slashed by a sword that was supposed to be blunt. (4) If you've ever played the video game, 'Tekken 3', you might have noticed that this game duplicated many of the martial arts scenes seen in this film, most notably in the 'Lei Wulong ending'. (5) The actor who played the old man in this film, Siu Tin Yuen, and the director of this film, Woo-ping Yuen, are both father and son respectively. (6) When he was a kid Jackie Chan was given the nickname 'big-nose' because most other oriental people have much smaller noses than him. (7) Just like many of the Hong Kong based productions developed during this era, this one was also recorded without sound and dubbed into Mandarin -- not Cantonese -- afterwards. (8) After this flick ate a bowl of penguin soup, Jackie Chan starred in 'Spiritual Kung Fu', Hwang Jang Lee starred in 'Drunken Master', and Yuen Siu Tien starred in 'Kung Fu Master Named Drunk Cat'.


Jackie Chan Fighting In Snake In The Eagles Shadow


Overall I'd say 'Snake In The Eagles Shadow' was a groundbreaking film for its time. Even though the story wasn't much of a story, the action, the style, and Jackie's and Yuen's contribution to it has propelled this production to infinity and beyond. Don't you agree, you funny Youtube video clip?




A class Kung-Fu flick for those of you who are that way inclined. Nuff said.

THE RATING: B+