The Young Master (1980)

Posted in Reviews by - March 29, 2013
The Young Master (1980)

This is one of those absolute classics that must be viewed at every opportunity. Jackie Chan‘s film smashed Hong Kong box office records and revolutionised the dated traditions of chopsocky cinema, making Chan the most popular kung fu movie maker around. His use of slapstick and unconventional fighting techniques hinted at a new direction for Hong Kong action cinema – one more aligned to stunt-driven action than traditional kung fu fighting – despite the narrative still being based in a period setting.

Jackie plays one of two orphans. He is disgraced when his better brother (played by Wei Pei) secretly leads a rival class at his school’s annual lion dance competition. When Wei Pei’s treachery is unearthed he is forced to quit and work for the baddies full time, until Jackie is summoned to bring him back.

Standout scenes involve an infiltration on the house of police chief Shek Kin, plus some nifty skirt foot fighting and one of the best climactic punch-ups ever recorded: a lengthy one-on-one with criminal mastermind and super bootmaster Hwang In-shik. As writer, director, choreographer and star, this was a landmark film in Jackie Chan’s career and still stands as one of his best pictures.

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