Jackie Chan is a boy who is used as a janitor at his kung-fu school. Jackie Chan can't fight and is always getting bullied by the teachers and pupils. One day an old man helps Jackie train in an art of kung-fu called the ' Snake's Fist '. Jackie doesn't get bullied again. Then Jacki creates his own style and mixes it with the Snake's Fist. His style is based on the movement and actions of a cat. One day the old man is in trouble by a man who does ' The Eagle's Claw' and Jackie helps the old man.
Jackie Chan ... Chien Fu (as Lung Cheng)
Siu Tien Yuen ... Grandmaster Pai Cheng-Tien (as Hsiao-Tien Yuan)
Jang Lee Hwang ... Lord Sheng Kuan (as Cheng-Li Huang)
Dean Shek ... Teacher Li (as Tien Shih)
Roy Horan ... Russian (as Ke-An Feng)
Hark-On Fung ... Snake Fist School Master
Lung Chan ... Substitute Instructor
'Snake in the Eagle's Shadow' - Jackie Chan's other breakthrough hit, along with 'Drunken Master'. Both released in 1978, these two movies made the careers of Jackie Chan and director Yuen Woo Ping, and both featured Siu Tien Yuen and Hwang Jang Lee in similar roles.
The plot follows Chien Fu (Jackie Chan), an orphan abused and mistreated by the kung-fu (evil, of course) school he works at. He can't fight until he meets Pai Cheng-Cheh (Siu Tien Yuen), a grand-master of Snake Fist, and last remaining follower of the Snake Fist style. A rivalry between the Snake Fist and Eagle Claw styles has led to the near-elimination of the Snake Fist style, and Chien Fu and Pai Cheng-Cheh find themselves being hunted by Lord Sheng Kuan (Hwang Jang Lee), the master of the Eagle Claw style.
The awesomeness of 'Snake in the Eagle's Shadow' lies in the fact that it really is quite similar to 'Drunken Master', which is also awesome. Again, the plot is a pretty standard kung-fu plot, but any plot which allows for the maximum amount of on-screen kung-fu time is a good plot. The training sequences are entertaining, and the following fight scenes are incredible - Jackie, Hwang Jang Lee and Yuen Woo Ping are all at their best here.
'Snake in the Eagle's Shadow' is an awesome and very funny movie - 10/10, a must see for all Jackie Chan fans.
I believe this was Jackie Chan's first widely successful movie freed from the constraints of Lo Wei and working with a different director allowed Jackie to move into a different direction and stop trying to be the new Bruce Lee (as if anyone ever could be!).
Surprisingly the humour translates pretty well and both Jackies cruel martial arts school employer and the kindly martial artist he meets and befriends are well drawn comedic characters. The sometimes bizarre fighting styles all named after animals are a joy to behold and Jackie and all the other martial artists involved show just how skillful they are with some truly memorable twists on the old school kung-fu style fighting. Many of those in this film came together again a year later to make the equally excellent Drunken Master.
I would recommend this film to any martial arts fan as a must see, it's also an excellent entry point if your interested in looking into martial arts action films in general.
This along with Drunken Master I (not Drunken Master II which was released in the US as Legend of Drunken Master, which is good but not great) have to be the best of the pure Kung-fu genre. This is just one great fight scene after another. The choreography is breathtaking, especially for two scenes: one where Jackie slides rags under the school master's feet, and the other where the old man doesnt allow Jackie to take his bowl. This is the original Kill Bill, just pure thrilling action. The story is so not a factor that I wont even mention it.
Jackie's Hong Kong movies are a class apart. Hollywood spoiled the martial arts genre. The new Jackie Chan movies and Jet Li etc are insufferable because of Hollywood overdoing things. I dont think there will be action as exhilarating as Hong Kong kung-fu ever again... sadly, technology takes away beautiful things. I'll end with a paraphrase of Roger Ebert's on talent: When you see anyone doing something difficult and making it look easy and *a joy*, you feel enhanced. It is a victory for the human side over the enemies of laziness and timidity.
* 'Jackie Chan' got his front tooth knocked out by the powerful kick of Jang Lee Hwang. In the finale, the gap where Chan's tooth was is clearly seen.
* While filming a sword fight, Chan's arm was accidentally slashed by a sword. He went on fighting, and the footage appears in the film.
* Some of the assistant martial arts choreographers for 'Snake in the Eagle's Shadow' followed by 'Drunken Master' were Cory Yuen and his two brothers, Yuen Chun-Wei and Yuen Shun-Yi.
* Like most movies released in Hong Kong during that time, its original soundtrack is dubbed in Mandarin, not Cantonese. The Cantonese soundtrack was dubbed years later when Cantonese became the predominant language used in the Hong Kong movies in the 1980s.