Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Young Master / 師弟出馬 (1980)

Squatting two veteran heels was when Chan knew he had arrived.

Written by Lau Ting-chi, Tang Ging-sang, and Tung Lo
Produced by Raymond Chow
Directed by Jackie Chan

At age 26 this might be Jackie Chan at his truly most vulnerable. Chan had been trying to prove himself for the last decade which culminated in a few head-turning performances even successive box office hits but nothing he could really call his own; truly from the brain of Jackie Chan.

Even his preceding effort "The Fearless Hyena" (1979), Chan's first official directorial credit, was overseen by veteran actor Kenneth Tsang Kong at the instance of studio head Lo Wei, who still had no faith in Chan as an entertainer because his incompetent handling of the up-and-coming star was greeted largely by deafening silence in the papers and at the box office.

Absconding to the venerable Golden Harvest Studios in 1980, following yet another one of Lo's meltdowns on the set of the would-be sequel to "Fearless Hyena," Chan was free (and free to finally craft a film and mold himself in his own image).

The net result is only a slightly more mature offering than its predecessor; Chan is still a tad on the rare side as an orchestrator, but the martial arts sequences are a clinic of inspiration, innovation, and talent -- surpassing even the best moments  in the few films that got critics to react positively to him and audiences who were rapidly coming to know and love him.

And the rest is largely history.

With Jackie Chan, Wai Pak, Yuen Biao, Sek Kin, Lily Li Li Li, Whang In-shik, Lee Hoi-sang, Fung Hak-on, Fung Fung, Fan Mei-sheng, and Tien Feng