Saturday, March 30, 2013

Snake In The Eagle's Shadow (Se Ying Diu Dau, 1978)

Right now, we're going to talk about the great Jackie Chan in one of the films that made him a box office star on the rise, 'Snake In The Eagle's Shadow'. The film also stars Hwang Jang Lee and Yuen Siu Tien, beloved worldwide as the original 'Ol'Dirty Bastard' or Sam Seed. This is also the first picture ever directed by Tien's own son. His name? Yuen Woo Ping. Thought that might ring a bell for you.

The film opens with a standoff on a lonely hill. Shang Kuang Yin(Lee) has tracked down another member of the rival Snake Fist clan, who he has sworn to eradicate as the master of the Eagle Claw. He dispatches him in short order, but not before finding out there are a few others left, especially Pai Chang Tin. We then find ourselves at a kung fu school watching orphan Chien Fu(Chan)being picked on by the teachers and students. He's basically a walking punching bag. Enter Pai Chang Tin(Tien), a beggar looking for a place to stay. He and Chien Fu become friends, and Chien hides him in the school. When the old man sees him being bullied, he teaches the orphan the Snake style footwork to help him avoid attacks. Chien Fu defends himself, but is hurt again. He finds Pai, now in another hiding spot and asks for help. The old beggar agrees, so long as Chien doesn't call him sifuor 'master'. A attack by the Mantis school on Chien Fu's school leads to a brawl, and Chien Fu defeats the Mantis master. But in the process, Shang Kuang Yin observes and sees something familiar which leads to a final showdown...

'Snake In The Eagle's Shadow' is a MUST-SEE film for any martial arts film afficionado. We get to see Jackie Chan at the beginning of his stardom in a vehicle that firmly placed him there. Prior to this, Chan was under contract with famous director Lo Wei, who was trying to make him the next Bruce Lee. (An example of this was New Fists of Fury.Heh.)Producer Ng See Yuen saw Chan's potential when he cast him in Drunken Master, which proved to be a smash hit. 'Snake In the Eagle's Shadow' has some terrific action scenes all around. A lil bit of trivia for the gamers out there: the training scenes from this flick got recreated for supercop Lei Wulong's ending movie scenes in 'Tekken 3'. Chan's final fight with Hwang Jang Lee is nothing short of thrilling. It even cost Jackie a tooth; see if you can spot the gap in his teeth in the final fight. Yuen Siu Tien is excellent as the old beggar, with a few classic comedic lines here and there. You've even got a missionary in the picture with a, 'suspect' sword. You'll see what I'm talking about. Hwang Jang Lee plays the baddie role well, right down to the silk Hammer pants. Put 'Snake In The Eagle's Shadow' on your viewing queue as soon as possible.

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