The Fearless Hyena (1979)

Posted in Reviews by - December 02, 2014
The Fearless Hyena (1979)

Jackie Chan‘s first film as director is fun but conventional fare. It’s a secure film from producer Lo Wei who had decided to relinquish all creative power over to Chan in the hope he could replicate for him the same successes he had achieved at Seasonal Films with the smash hit movies¬†Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow and Drunken Master. It is Chan’s frenetic choreography that turns this hotpot on its head – slick, intricate and with a keen slapstick approach. The story of treacherous General Yen killing anti-Ching rebels isn’t too inspiring (Jackie’s grandfather is killed, thus sparking a rather generic revenge plot), and it solely acts to tag together the action sequences. A disguised Jackie Chan dons drag and beats up a horny fat guy, and the final bust-up with Yen Shi-kwan – in which Jackie uses ’emotional kung fu’ to outwit his opponent – is just superb. The film leaves you in no doubt of Chan’s burgeoning comedic genius. He would soon controversially decide to leave the confines of Lo Wei’s crippling contractual agreement and thrive in the more creative environs of Golden Harvest, where he would go on to make his masterpieces in the 1980s. Incidentally, The Fearless Hyena was one of the highest grossing films of 1979, and a promising start for the soon-to-be superstar.

AKA: Crazy Monkey; Revenge of the Dragon; The Shadowman; Superfighter III

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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