THE FEARLESS HYENA

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Fearless Hyena Cover Did you know there are over seven million animal related fighting styles in martial arts? For instance, there is Baboon-Bum, Giraffe-Groin, Hippopotamus-Hand, Eagle-Ear, Monkey-Mouth, Donkey-Dick, and let not forget, Nookie-Nail. Now if you want to know more about animal related fighting styles, I suggest  you check out the following 97 minute movie made in 1979. It was Directed and Starred: Jackie Chan; accompanied by my old pal, James Tien.


Fearless Hyena


THE STORY:
Day in, day out, my elderly Grandfather (James Tien) kept on pestering me to get up off of my backside and find a proper job, but only if it didn't involve me practicing martial arts.

So what did I go and do? Yep. That's correct. After a failed attempt at becoming a second-hand coffin salesman -- don't ask -- by mistake I ended up becoming a teacher at a local martial arts school. Worst still, because I was so good at the old kick and punch, over time I caught the attention of some evil looking sod called Yen Ting Hua (Yam Sai-kwoon).

But come off it! How on Earth was I supposed to know that Yen was one of my Grandfathers old adversaries? What's more, how was I to know he would also approach him and kill him in one fowl swoop?

Well. I couldn't of known that. Could I?

Then again, that's most probably why what next transpires all kicks off when some tramp called Unicorn (Hui Lou Chen) jumps on me and says, 'Shing Lung (Jackie Chan). You need to get into better shape, boy. Especially if you want to avenge your Grandfathers death'. As multiple fights are long and hard - a scorned battle marks Shein's card - a rival clan needs to settle an old score - and at the end of the day, look our world, for this is all out war.




THE REVIEW:
If you're ever in the mood for a rough around the edges kung-fu comedy, complemented by some dodgy dubbing plus quite a few long and drawn out combat sequences, then my God, 'The Fearless Hyena' is defiantly a film for you.

The Fearless Hyena Foreign Movie Poster
Essentially it is one of those ancient Chinese period movies where a poor orphan boy -- as played by Jackie Chan himself -- is told not to do something, does it, and in so doing ends up getting his grandpa killed, blah-blah-blah. On top of that you'll also get to hear a lot of people who sound like transsexuals, a main villain who looks like he's the love child of Hulk Hogan and Lady Gaga, as well as a Grandpa that appears like a baby in a beard.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to deface the good reputation of this film in any way shape or form. Generally speaking it really does have the fun factor when it comes down to the hilarious hi-jinks between Jackie and company. Especially in the way the whole thing seems to slot together within its bi-polar structure.

'Why bi-polar?’, you may ask yourself. Well, from a narrative point of view this film does feel like a film of two equal halves. The first half is about Jackie playing dress up and kicking the sh*t out of whoever opposes him. Where as the second half comes across like a revenge movie about an orphan training and then avenging his Grandpa's death.

Of course I'm not trying to imply that the humor is completely lost in the second part of the picture. Yet it does get diluted, somewhat, even though it still does manage to retain certain comedic elements throughout. For example, there was this one hell of a funny scene in which Jackie dressed up as a girl and then fought off a big brute who wanted to kiss him. And I have to say that the final fight between Jackie and Super Bee Gee was -- well -- it's the longest, the funniest, and the craziest thing I've ever seen set in celluloid.


The Fearless Hyena Starring Jackie Chan


The Fearless Hyena DVD Case
Anyway. By now I'm sure you know my feelings towards this classic slice of Hong Kong hi-jinks. So for the time being let's us all sit back, relax, and check out the following filmic facts. (1) 'Goodyear Movie Company' first released this production in Honk Kong on the exact same day China invaded Vietnam. It was on the 17th of February, 1979. (2) Loosely translated, this project was entitled 'Revenge of the Dragon' in Portugal; 'Superfighter 3' in West Germany; and 'Death Blow' in Turkey. (3) For those of you not in the know, James Tien is one of the only actors -- apart from Yuen Wah, Sammo Hung, and Nora Miao -- who worked with both Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. (4) The comedic actor who played the part of a coffin salesman in this flick, Dean Shek, has worked with Jackie on 'Snake in the Eagle's Shadow', plus many-many more adventures I can't be bothered to mention. (5) Not only was this the only film Jackie Chan ever completed for Lo Wei's production company, 'Goodyear', but it was also the first one in which he was given true creative control. (6) According to Akira Toriyama, this film inspired him to create his manga cartoon series, 'Dragon Ball Z'. (7) References to this movie can be heard in the 1980 action-adventure, 'Champ verses Champ', the 1986 crime-drama, 'No Retreat, No Surrender', plus the 2008 cartoon-comedy, 'Kung Fu Panda'. (8) After this adventure went to the vets, Jackie Chan and James Tien starred in their next film together, 'Dragon Fist', whilst Dean Shek starred in the comedy, 'Money Talk'.


The Fearless Hyena Starring Yam Sai-kwoon


Overall I'd say 'The Fearless Hyena' was an amazing film for it's time. The humor was broad and cartoon-ish. The action was long and expansive. Plus the story-line, even though enveloping by nature, does play out like a cross between two other films -- ‘Drunken Master’ and 'Tootsie'.

Yep. Those film. Nuff said.

THE RATING: A