Review of The Fearless Hyena (1979)

21 Jun

Xiao Quan Guai Zhao also known as The Fearless Hyena (1979) is a Hong Kong martial arts/comedy/action film.

Directed by Jackie Chan (Police Story (1985), Armour of God (1986)) and Kenneth Tsang (The Eternal Obsession (1976), Hoyat gwan tsoi loi (1991)).

Written by Jackie Chan (The Young Master (1980), Project A (1983)) and Wei Lo (Slaughter in San Francisco (1974), Tang shan da xiong (1971)).

Starring: Jackie Chan, James Tien, Dean Shek, Hui Lou Chen, Shi-Kwan Yen, Kun Li, Tien-chi Cheng and others.

Like Snake In The Eagle’s Shadow, Chan is basically an idiot in this one. Here even more so and he’s also a greedy, lazy dick, but he also knows how to fight right from the start.

His character lives with his grandfather, who trains him and also has a grey beard that poorly tries to cover up the fact that the grandfather looks like he’s no more than 20 years older than his grandson.

This is an odd movie, which doesn’t shy away from incredibly offensive scenes, like one where Chan pretends to be cross-eyed and mentally retarded, while fighting to the Pink Panther theme. It’s also kind of hilarious both in the wacky intended way and it’s offensiveness.

If you for some reason won’t find that scene odd enough, there’s another peculiar one, where Chan changes into a female kimono and make-up and fights a bit as a transvestite. However, it is less jarring, than the end of that fight scene. Chan knocks out a big guy by smashing an orange against his head, after he had smashed a brick on it just a minute ago with no difficulty.

After silly scenes like these you know what is going to happen. Something that will make Chan’s character take Kung Fu seriously. It’s a very similar movie to Drunken Master, released a year earlier.

The villain of course is this archetype I see in a lot of martial arts period pieces, a tall, older guy with long white hair and Fu-Manchu mustache, who kicks ass at literal ass-kicking.

Something bad happens and Chan starts his Rocky training montage, which is entertaining, but he’s had better ones. Chan, though, might be in his best shape possible, you can see his every muscle popping out as he trains.

The fights themselves aren’t very memorable, it relies more on the comedic aspects. There’s a lot of unnecessary comical sound effects and crotch hitting and the dress-up fights I already mentioned. There’s one cool „fight” scene, where Chan and his mentor fight for a piece of meat, using only chopsticks. And one bad ass 3-on-1 fight, where while two people are fighting, the rest don’t stand around, they actually attack at the same time, the choreography is impressive. At one point Chan just stabs a couple of guys and that’s just that. Feels a bit out-of-place.

They bring in this awful concept of „emotional kung fu”. The sorrow style is interesting to watch, but they all are just silly and gimmicky.

Overall, it’s a very cheesy kung fu comedy, if you don’t mind the over-the-top slapstick, I guess it’s worth checking out.

“You want some advice, Jackie?”
“Sure.”
“Don’t get used to leading roles. I once used to play young guys too, then twelve years ago something happened, now I’m grandpa.”
“Oh… hey, you’re twelve years older than me!”
“Exactly, Jackie, exactly.”

3 Responses to “Review of The Fearless Hyena (1979)”

  1. Aloha Mister Hand June 22, 2012 at 5:15 am #

    Haha, I’m loving the title of the movie, totally awesome!

    • karlails June 22, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

      It’s interesting that you mention it, since it has some weird alternate titles.

      Revenge of the Dragon (USA video title)
      Superfighter 3 (West Germany video title)
      The Shadowman (West Germany video title)

      At least Revenge of the Dragon makes some sense, since there’s revenge in the movie, but The Fearless Hyena? Still better than Superfighter 3.

      • Aloha Mister Hand June 22, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

        Hahahaha, no kidding! Anything with Hyena in the title is boss. 😀

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