Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow (1977) Review

"Snake in the Eagle's Shadow" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"Snake in the Eagle's Shadow" Chinese Theatrical Poster

AKA: The Eagle’s Shadow
Director: Yuen Woo Ping
Producer: Ng See Yuen
Cast: Jackie Chan, Chiang Kam, Simon Yuen, Hwang Jang Lee, Hsu Hsia, Dean Shek, Charlie Chan, Peter Chan, Chu Chi Ling, Fung King Man, Roy Horan, Max Lee, Tino Wong, Fung Hak On, Lam Yuen, Law Keung
Running Time: 98 min.

By Ro

This one opens with Jackie performing an incredible kata. For the uninitiated – a kata is a series of kicks, blocks and punches aimed at invisible opponents. It’s carefully choreographed, with the emphasis on precision of form and timing. This one rocks! (And I know what I’m talking about – my sister, Maria (3 dan black belt) has a roomful of trophies for her katas) I wanted to kill whoever was responsible for running the credits over him as he performed! OK, now for the story – Jackie’s the supposedly simple- minded houseboy for a kung-fu school. They use him, quite literally, as a punching bag. He befriends an old man who teaches him the ‘Snakefist’ style of Kung Fu.

The rest of the story is inevitable. It’s been compared to The Karate Kid and the comparison is valid. The only difference is that when you see Jackie in the beginning, scrubbing floors in a sleeveless shirt, it’s hard to picture him being unable to kick their collective butts. It’s got a lot of humor in it, especially with Jackie trying to survive while still hiding his new talents, but the best parts for me were the training scenes. Watching him work out without the distraction of a fight is beauty in motion. The precision of his movements and clean lines are wonderful, like watching a world class ballet dancer rehearse! Breathtaking! Watch for him doing stomach crunches with his master sitting on his belly!! There are some negatives; the actual fighting looks more like a ‘how to’ video, in the typical style of the 70s, the pace is very slow. Also, there’s western music playing in the background and it just doesn’t fit the genre, the cat screeching sounds during the last fight are absurd and Jackie doesn’t dub his own voice in the version I saw. Despite all these negatives, this is one of his best early works and definitely worth a viewing!

Ro’s Rating: 7/10


By DJ Nixon

This was Jackie’s first big box-office hit and I think it was well deserved. A great 70’s film that had some good comedy and action in it. Jackie did a great job doing all the fights, and they all looked great. The Snake Fist was a great idea for Chan to invent and the how he combined that with the Cat’s Paw was cool (except for the cheesy cat sound effects). The plot was the same as all of his movies though, Jackie is a weak and beatup student and an old master comes along and teaches him kung-fu; the master ends up getting beaten up by a great kung-fu master; Jackie gets really angry and goes after the other master and fails the first time but beats him the second time; that is the basic plot of all of them. Good movies, except for the repeated-through-history plot.

DJ Nixon’s Rating: 8/10


By James H.

I wish I lived in a time and place where I could learn kung fu in a matter of minutes. That’s how long it took Jackie to learn it! An early Jackie Chan film. I’m not a really big fan of his early films, but this one was pretty good. The fight choreography was generally well done and well executed. There were plenty of fights, but the ones in the middle weren’t very exciting. The baddies were very cool and very familiar. I liked the Russian priest. The film was also very funny. My two favourite scenes were: the one were the old man is helping Jackie fight (near the beginning) and the scene were Jackie has to grab the bowl from the old man.

But with every up, there has to be a down. The sound effects were not in sync (maybe it has something to do with the doppler effect) and very annoying (the cat sounds!?! What the hell is up with that?). The music seemed like it was from a bad video game, actually some of the music during the fights was kind of frightening. They also stole some music from “From Russia With Love.” Oh and the dubbing was just like every other dubbed kung fu movie from the 70’s; corny and fun.

Overall it is quite good, with some good fights and light-hearted humour. Although I noticed a lot of people got kicked in the balls in the movie.

James H’s Rating: 6/10


By Rintor

SNAKE WARS: A NEW KUNG FU

A LONG TIME AGO, IN A CHINESE VILLAGE NOT SO FAR AWAY THE SNAKE FIST STYLE THRIVED AND GAINED MANY STUDENTS. THEN SUDDENLY AN EVIL KUNG FU MASTER CREATED THE EAGLE CLAW STYLE AND BEGIN TERRORIZING THE SNAKE FIST STUDENTS. THE EAGLE CLAW SUDENTS KILLED OVER 300 OF THE SNAKE FIST STUDENTS, AND ONLY TWO PEOPLE REMAINED WHO KNEW THE SNAKE FIST STYLE. EVENTUALLY AN OLD MAN TAUGHT THE SNAKE FIST STYLE TO A TROUBLED YOUNG BOY, CHIEN-FU. FOR CHIEN-FU WAS THE OLD MAN’s ONLY HOPE. COMBINING THE SNAKE FIST STYLE WITH A CAT CLAW TECHNIQUE CHIN FU DEFEATED THE EVIL DARK KUNG FU MASTER. THE NEW KUNG FU WOULD BE CALLED: SNAKE IN THE EAGLE’s SHADOW.

THE END.

Heh, I thought this movie could be done Star Wars style because of that Star Wars music that they borrow. This movie was great and I loved it. It’s a must see. (The only cheesy part was the cat hiss)

Rintor’s Rating: 8.5/10


By Dead Channel

Hah, yeah. An older Jackie Chan movie, I just bought this one (and saw as well) about a week ago. Was $6 with a nice cover (it’s the widescreen one) and I figured what the hell, I read nice reviews and heard good things so I’ll check it. As I am not too big a fan of his older movies (it seems like there is too much boring talk and other nonsense.. and not enough fighting.) I really enjoyed this movie. It wasn’t like the newer ones, where I can fucking rewind and play them back 3 times in a row, but it is still the jam. I was about to cry every time Jackie got embarrased or in trouble by his master, and he ran off crying. *sneef* But then of course a bit later (after learning his skills pretty quickly! see the other reviews for more info hahah) he starts kicking everybody’s ass, so I bust a hole in the wall with happiness (not really)…

Anyway, check this one out anyway, it’s worth a watch. Get the english dubbed version so you can catch the cheesy arse dialogue like.. “What style is that?” (Jackie) “Well, if you must know, it’s the praying mantis style!” (Perpetrator) “Well this is the snake fist style!” (Jackie) Hah! Fucking cool. I love it when the priest (or fake priest, unfortunatly) comes out “Please, don’t fight! You’re a sinner!” Blah blah, and the fucking guy smacks that bitch right in the face MUHAHAH! Ahem.. sorry.

Dead Channel’s Rating: 6/10


By Numskull

ERNEST HEMINGWAY SPECIAL! ONE TIME ONLY!!!

In an attempt to bring more widespread appreciation to great fiction, I shall compose this review in the spirit of the 19th century literary genius, Ernest Hemingway! Mr. Hemingway is to this day one of the most honored and respected writers the English language has ever known, and I certainly hope that this review, written in his brilliantly distinct style, illustrates why!!!

Jackie was the only man at the kung fu school who did not know how to fight. All of the others mocked him and ridiculed him and insulted him and made fun of him because he did not know how to fight. Because he did not know how to fight, Jackie was very sad. Because he was very sad, Jackie cried. Because he cried, Jackie made friends with a kindly old man. Then Jackie asked the old man, who was a Snake style master, to teach him how to fight. The old man said to Jackie: “Fighting can be dangerous. Wouldn’t you like me to teach you how to tap-dance instead?” “No,” said Jackie. “I don’t want to tap-dance. I want to punch and kick and jump and bite and chop and claw and scratch and head-butt and make an absolute jackass of myself by hissing like a cat.” Then the old man said, “Very well. I will teach you how to fight.” Then the old man taught jackie how to fight. Then he left.

Meanwhile, Jackie kept training. One day, it rained, but Jackie kept training. Then a man from another kung fu school showed up at the kung fu school that Jackie lived in and jackie made everybody else look incompetent by defeating the man from the other kung fu school who had showed up at the kung fu school that Jackie lived in. Then an Eagle style master saw Jackie win. Then he approached Jackie. Then he asked him where he had learned the Snake style. Jackie refused to tell him, but not until after remembering the old man telling him to keep their friendship a secret. Then, Jackie and the Eagle style master fought. Jackie lost and was very sad again. When the old man found out that the Eagle style master was after him, he ran away from the town. On the way to where he was going, there was a pond full of water. The old man looked at the surface of the water. His reflection was there. Then he kept running.

Back at the kung fu school that Jackie lived in, Jackie watched a cat kill a snake. Then Jackie ran off and killed a man disguised as a preacher. Then the Eagle style master caught up with the old man. Then they began to fight. Then the fight continued. Then Jackie showed up. Then he beat the Eagle style master with the same technique the cat had used to kill the snake a short while beforehand. Then the cook from the kung fu school showed up and told Jackie and the old man that he had served them poisoned tea. Then Jackie and the old man died. Then they fell to the ground. Then they got up off the ground, for they had actually not died.Then Jackie addressed the cook. “We do not like hot tea. We do not drink hot tea. We did not drink your hot tea, which you have just told us was poisoned. Now I shall kick your ass.”

Then Jackie kicked the ass of the very same cook who had served them the poisoned tea (which they had not drank, for the poisoned tea was hot, and they did not drink hot tea, including hot tea with poison in it). Then the old man congratulated him. “By fighting evil men such as these, you are fighting for the good of the world,” said the old man. Then he said, “The world is a fine place, and worth fighting for.” Then Jackie and the old man walked off-camera and were never seen or heard from again.

Jackie’s character in this movie was named Chien Fu. In French, that means “mad dog.” I find this extremely funny. Also, the scene where the preacher gets dragged into the whorehouse made me laugh till I just about pissed, but the rest is pretty unremarkable. Mad Dog didn’t even get to beat up his annoying master. That sucked!

P.S. I do hope you’re all capable of recognizing sarcasm when you read it.

Numskull’s Rating: 5/10


By Aloho

This is one of the first films of Jackie’s I have seen. I really liked it because of some comedy mixed in with some action. I was unfamilier with some of Jackie’s tone. So I really liked it at first. Then I saw about 15 more movies of his and so Snake died off. In most of Chan’s movies something is brilliant and unique. In Snake, a guy fights with a fan, which was then revamped in Young Master. Jackie is paired up with the old guy and Jackie fights Hwang Jang-lee. That was then improved in Drunken Master. I give this an extra point because some friends of mine enjoyed this flick while staying away from Chan’s movies released in America.

Aloho’s Rating: 6/10


By Andrew

Now here is a kung fu film with a good deal of action and comedy. True, it does get tiresome to see the same couple of actors attempting to provide comic relief, but this film was better than your average Lo Wei flick. I actually watched this one with my parents, and they enjoyed it. I thought the old style Kung Fu would seem too weird for them, but they laughed out loud at the “cat’s paw” technique!

Andrew’s Rating: 7/10

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