1978 martial arts
movie, english dub
released in the USA
Directed by Yuen Woo-Ping
Written by Shiao Loong
, See-Yuen Ng
, and Chi-Kuang Tsai
Starring Jackie Chan
, Yuen Siu Tien
, Hwang Jang Lee
, Roy Horan
Also known as She xing diao shou
, Bruce Vs. Snake in Eagle's Shadow
, The Eagle's Shadow
Up until 1995 I was always kinda an on and off fan of martial arts movies, always remembering saturday afternoon kung-fu theater fondly from when I was growing up, and the mid-80's were the best years for that sort of stuff too, at least on syndicated TV in the United States. But then I saw this movie, and it totally made me see these sorts of movies in a different light...well not entirely, but it made me appreciate them as real movies instead of cheese that they were always presented as. And not really for any major reasons too, just a lot of little things. But it was all little things that made me want to watch many more kung-fu flicks. And the hillarious dub definitely helped. I wonder how close it was to the screenplay Even though I know most of the old dubs aren't that close, I'm sure they're closer to the source than the Dimension/Miramax butchering of Twin Dragons.
I guess I'll make a list of things I love/anecdotes I have about this movie...and the list will grow as I remember stuff/rewatch the movie:
- Hwang Jang Lee, the ultimate bad guy in every kung fu movie made in the late 70's-early 80's, and he doesn't dissapoint here as Sheng Kwan, the leader of the Eagle's Claw school. Sinister, manipulative...and his kung fu is incredible! It's all about the eagle's claw. It's all about "Taking the Pearl". Not so easy. He makes golf tees in Korea now.
- Roy Horan. Oh sure he's a skinny round-eyed devil of an evangelist now. But just you wait. He's good with a sword, and you know why? Cause in the end he reveals that he comes from Russia. That he's a fighter. And he's a hired tough for the Eagle's Claw gang. Sure his death is rather ridiculous, and sure he may have deserved such a fate. But you know...how can you totally hate a guy that'll take two slaps and just stand there and yell "Jesus, he's a sinner!"
- The slum fight between the character Su Chen and Pai Cheng-Cheh(Yuen Siu-Tien). Yeah, all of it is beauty. Yeah, it rocks about ten or eleven asses. But you know...there's three seconds where it goes beyond that. Su attempts 5 kicks, Pai dodges 5 times, swerving back and under every time. It's the second most beautiful action shot in the movie.
- The fight between new and improved Snake Fist-powered Chien Fu(Jackie Chan) and an actor who plays "The New Provincial Champion" (TNPC) as per Master Ho's taunt. This Champion guy, after he takes all the students under Master Ho while he's out doing his thing, fights Ho himself and whips up on him pretty nicely. Until Chien interferes with a shoe to the head. Yep, a shoe to the head. Chien gets beat around for a few seconds until he gets tired of that gimmick and starts unloading a few 3 liter bottles of whoop-ass on the guy. Anyways, the point of this battle, other than to establish the Eagle's Claw gang pursuing Chien, is to prove Yuen Woo-Ping's godhood behind the camera. One five second shot, the best shot ever in an old school kung fu movie. You see it all from behind TNPC's head. Chop attempt, block, palm flip, reversal, break attempt, deflect, snake thrust, parry, double snake thrust, dodge. And that's it. The Snake bites.