The Fearless Hyena (Xiao quan guai zhao) (Revenge of the Dragon) Reviews
As predicted, The Fearless Hyena is a film which is no stranger adhering to essentially every convention you would expect. This comes into play with technical aspects, narrative concepts and the general fact that the film is a Jackie Chan vehicle. In terms of its technical aspects, The Fearless Hyena is a film captured with a rather rough visual quality and cinematography which has a rather repetitive tendency to shoot things with shots which can be too close up or that may stretch on for a bit too long. The latter tends to be ok during most of the fight scenes, but in the ones which are choreographed particularly for comic effect this can prove to stretch the gags rather thin as the shots tend to drag on without much in the way of quick editing. This may have been more innovative back upon its original release, but it just doesn't seem as funny today, particularly in comparison to many of Jackie Chan's other films. In adhering to the tropes of being a Jackie Chan film, The Fearless Hyena is a feature which relies heavily on having comedy integrated into its Kung Fu scenes. Here, I find that it evokes a mixed response much of the time. In the scenes which involve fighting are very passionately crafted and the humour is unexpected as part of Jackie Chan's iconic style, but the rate of success with humour is rather inconsistent. While at some moments the choreography of comedy within the fighting is really well executed and even innovative, at other times the jokes can seem a little too cheesy for their own good. The strange humour of the film is encouraged further by the predictably terrible English language dubbing which gives the job of Jackie Chan's voice to the most wimpy English-speaking actor I've ever heard. This is one of the less intentional comic aspects of the film, and so it doesn't really encourage the humour all that properly. As well as that, the audio quality of the film is rough in general and so it isn't the finest treat on the ears. Essentially, most of the problems in The Fearless Hyena can be attributed to countless other low budget Kung Fu films of the era, and you cannot hold it against the filmmakers considering the limitations of the low budget and technology in general at the time. The real value in The Fearless Hyena comes from the dedicated work of Jackie Chan as director and star of the film.
There is no denying that there are some solid funny moments in The Fearless Hyena. Jackie Chan has shown off countless times just how passionate he is about integrating humour with Kung Fu, and in The Fearless Hyena he dedicates the entire film to doing just that. The story in The Fearless Hyena is a generic and overly familiar one, but I expected as much. What I did not expect was just how much Jackie Chan was willing to push the limits on how much humour he could find through his martial arts skills. What he achieves is a new level of performance art for the actor because his choreography skills prove to be thoroughly impressive. On a quest to find humourous martial arts in all kinds of forms, Jackie Chan brings laughter into the film through the most unpredictable and creative manners, including fighting in multiple ludicrous disguises and channelling a large array of emotions varying from sadness to happiness in the final fight scene. Yet none of these hold a candle to the chopstick duel scene of the film. The film shows Jackie Chan and Dean Shek getting into a fight with chopsticks which was clearly influential over the 2008 animated film Kung Fu Panda, and it still remains amazing to this day. While Kung Fu Panda used big budget animation to capture this, The Fearless Hyena relies purely on choreography which impressively captures everything down to the finest detail. While the extended length of many shots in The Fearless Hyena can prove ineffective at times, in this one scene it works to show off the extensively skilful choreography and talents of Jackie Chan and Dean Shek, and so it makes the film unforgettable. The fact is that along with this, the fight scenes in the film are generally impressive. As well as maintaining a lot of comedic value, the fight scenes in The Fearless Hyena are consistently engaging and swift, serving predominantly as a showcase for the abilities of Jackie Chan. As the director, he is able to bring the cast to vitroy by pushing them to give it their all against him, ensuring that the presence of Dean Shek and Lee Kwan end up being valuable. But nobody holds a candle to him. With his dedication to every small comedic detail of his character in The Fearless Hyena, Jackie Chan takes his role and runs with it. His over the top physical flamboyance is just wonderful, and even though it has some moments which feel rather awkward, he more than makes up for it with his commendable physical abilities. Jackie Chan is the entire reason that The Fearless Hyena succeeds because his charismatic fighting spirit and sense of humour manages to elevate The Fearless Hyena above the countless low budget Kung Fu features that surround it. Like I said, I wanted cheap Kung Fu thrills out of The Fearless Hyena, and even though it is not one of Jackie Chan's finest works, he really delivers on it.
So The Fearless Hyena has the same rough visual and audio quality as many other low budget Kung Fu films as well as the same predictable story, but with Jackie Chan injecting his flamboyant sense of humour into the film through his directorial work as well as his impressive fighting abilities, it still manages to entertain.
* Shaolin Wooden Men
* Battle Creek Brawl (1980)
* The Young Master (1980)
* Dragon Lord (1982)
* Project A (1983)
* Project A Part II (1987)
Shing (Jackie Chan) is sometimes a careless young man living with his grandpa in the oustkirt of the village. Shing's grandpa is an excellent kung fu who forces him to learn kung fu the right way, instead he engages in gambling as well as engages in frequent fight at fighting school run by a funny scheming master - Shing carelessly flaunts secret fight tactics his grandpa taught him - this attracts General Yen (Yam Sai-koon) who is out to kill all Shing's grandfather's anti-Ching clan. General Yen kills his grandpa lightening kung fu master appears who kills Shing's grandpa. The Unicorn (Chan Hui-lau) plays a crippled master who teaches Shing several different styles of 'emotional kung fu' to take his revenge; which includes mentally il, emotional, all involve crying, laughing, ridiculing while fighting the opponent. .
Having been fan of The Young Master, The Drunken Master, as well as The Legend of Drunken Master. I had been craving for this movie to watch and knew that it should offer similar tone, capacity, energy, excitement, entertainment as the previous Jackie movies. I liked the humor during fights in the beginning and at fight-school. Film's 'chopstick duel' reminded me of Kung Fu Panda where Shifu and Panda engage in chopstick-duel (probably an inspiration) -
Having lit-up the box office with Seasonal's "Snake in the Eagle's Shadow" and "Drunken Master" (released in March and October of 1978) Chan, much to Lo's chagrin, returned a star and suddenly the hotheaded filmmaker was ready to allow the boy wonder input intransigently denied in their five preceding turkeys.
Lo, likely looking to exploit Chan's new found fame as much as Chan wanted to flex his newfound street cred, seemingly was much obliged in granting Jackie near total control on "The Fearless Hyena" as a means to an end.
Yet despite having just finished back-to-back blockbusters that helped redefine the chop socky it is evident early in "The Fearless Hyena" Jackie Chan is relatively inexperienced as a director as much as he is as a writer as there is very little direction and a tiresome reliance on sophomoric humor.
While more entertaining than most of Chan's past collaborations with Lo Wei Film Company "The Fearless Hyena" doesn't exactly prove a step forward in Chan's burgeoning career as a martial arts lead failing to transcend even the above average "Snake..." in terms of innovation, maturity, and style.
(1979) The Fearless Hyena
Seen this film dubbed even though the subtitle version is alot longer, the film though is still quite good even without the scenes that were cut out! Known to be as the first film Jackie was credited as a director, which is full of slapstick comedy and martial arts that is perfect for his energitic persona! This chop sockey film's silly plot only serves as a backdrop to showcase Jackie's ingenious comedy timing and fighting skills.
One of my favorite scenes is the Dueling Chopsticks scene in which the Unicorn prevents Shing (Chan) from eating by using his chopsticks.