Jackie Chan is a youngster, living in a remote village with his grandfather who teaches him Kung-Fu. He keeps getting into fights, even though his grandfather warns him not to show their ...
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Sammo Kam-Bo Hung
Sammo Kam-Bo Hung,
Stanley Sui-Fan Fung
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 ... See full summary »
Jackie Chan is a youngster, living in a remote village with his grandfather who teaches him Kung-Fu. He keeps getting into fights, even though his grandfather warns him not to show their Kung-Fu to others. Jackie, though, is tempted by some thugs he beat up to act as the master of a Kung-Fu school. This school's name apparently spreads far, as an old enemy of Jackie's grandfather shows up and attacks him. Jackie goes on training with the help of another member of the old gang, until he can eventually get revenge. Written by
For me, the absolute best of Chan's earliest 'star' period (that is, not counting early bit-parts), and actually better than "Drunken Master".
Before judging this film, one has to ask after Chan's real goals here. He wants to demonstrate that he can write a whole narrative that flows in smooth linear fashion; he wants to learn all he can about camera placement and editing; he wants to pay tribute to the comic masters of the past that he truly admires, especially buster Keaton and Douglas Fairbanks (the original Zorro); yet he also wants to demonstrate that he can act serious scenes, and that he can direct other actors performing serious scenes. In this way, he identifies himself as real creative talent, and not a Sammo Hung clone, not a Yuen woo Ping clone, and anything but a Bruce Lee clone - which means that he is already thinking of his future, non-Asian audiences.
So the question becomes, first: whether or not he accomplishes these tasks.
Well, obviously, I think he has.
consider this: With a lesser actor and director, the transition from the 'silent comedy' tribute scenes in the martial arts school at the beginning, to the revenge driven training sequences later on, would snap the film in two. But here, when Chan's character discovers the murder of his grandfather, he also discovers that he himself, in however small a manner, has been instrumental in leading the murderer to his grandfather. Thus, the hidden issue requiring resolution is not revenge at all, but guilt and expiation. This reconstructs the Chan character as a young man on the quest for redemption, not just revenge. (A theme brilliantly emphasized by the very last image of the movie.) On top of this, Chan has demonstrated articulate command of medium; he has also directed James Tien, who little older than himself, to appear convincingly as his grandfather; and of course, the comedy is hilarious, especially the fight in drag.
Chan fans, as well as fans of silent comedy, and of chop-sock kung-fu, owe it to themselves to see this movie, enjoy it, and remember it.
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