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Snake in the Eagle's Shadow

Snake in the Eagle's Shadow
Martial Arts Action Comedy / Chinese / 1978

For the Action Movie Countdown.

I had mentioned to someone that I was watching Jackie Chan movies and had this one recommended to me. Supposedly it's what launched Chan's movie career.

A Cat, a Cobra, a whole buncha Eggs, and Mosquito-cide which... you know, I have very little mercy for parasites, if they're just gonna get swatted anyway, but if you're breeding something with the explicit purpose of killing it, that still rubs me the wrong way so I'm counting it.

ANYWHOOO, Snake in the Eagle's Shadow is pretty darn solid.

We have Jackie Chan playing the bitch orphan at a martial arts school (which would make a lot of sense if it were a Cat's Claw school, but this is never established) who runs into the Drunken Master of Snake Fist style who's on the run from "The Eagle Claws" who think the Eagle Claw style is top of the playground and eventually he learns the art and defeats the Eagle Claw master. Pretty standard stuff.

Fortunately, the story feels well paced and while it can drift into super rough melodrama, it managed to keep me engaged all throughout, with no small credit given to the Snake master Pai, who's funny and introduces himself with what I think is the best part of the movie: the rice bowl fight, in which he takes out multiple martial arts goons with nothing but a bowl and chopsticks.

There are several fights in the movie, the rice bowl fight (classic), the puppet fight (classic), rice bowl keepaway (which isn't really a fight, but an impressively choreographed sequence regardless), Snake vs Eagle 1, Snake vs Mantis, Snake vs Eagle 2, and finally Snake & Cat vs Eagle.

There's a genuine training sequence in the movie, but there's at least two instances where Jackie massively improves his abilities on his own, the first of which being purely thanks to a short poem and foot diagrams. Really?

His ultimate solution to defeat Eagle Claw is by augmenting Snake Fist with Cat Claw after he sees a cat kill a cobra (not sure how that logically clicked) and from that point forward his Cat Claw attacks arrive in tandem with the same loud yowling cat noise which is REALLY ****ING ANNOYING, god this is a 70s Hong Kong movie, the audio quality is WAY TOO **** FOR THAT.

Another highlight? A fake preacher dies by nut clutch. Jackie Chan does his Cat Claw at the guy's coinpurse and he shrieks before dramatic zoom in and orchestra sting--!:


The first (or second if you'd prefer) fight may be the best or most memorable, but all of the fights in this movie were really solid, not prop-heavy, but certainly creative.

And given that this was directed by Yuen Woo-Ping, who also did Drunken Master and Wing Chun, NO ****, I gotta watch more of this guys' movies.

Final Verdict:
[Pretty Good]