Snake in the Eagle's Shadow (1978)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Martial Arts, Slapstick  |   Release Date - Mar 1, 1978 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 105 min.  |   Countries - Hong Kong   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Donald Guarisco

This early Jackie Chan vehicle finds the future superstar working out his signature blend of laughs and acrobatic kung-fu into a commercial package. The plot of Snake In The Eagle's Shadow is standard kung fu "school vs. school" fodder but the delivery gives it an added kick by blending some comedy and pathos into the mix. Chan plays his bumpkin role in an agile, naturally comedic fashion and he is given effective support by Simon Yuen as the identity-concealing master who teaches him how to fight. Director Yuen Woo Ping is also a choreographer so he understands how to stage the action sequences to get the most out of the elaborate and often witty choreography: highlights include Yuen using Chan as a "puppet" by manipulating his limbs and body to fight back against a group of bullies and the finale, where Chan gets to deploy an odd but effective self-invented reworking of the style his master taught him. The end result isn't as slick or endlessly inventive as his future 1980's-era hits but Snake In The Eagle's Shadow remains a colorful, consistently engaging blend of comedy and kung fu that will please fans of vintage martial arts filmmaking.