Snake And Crane – Arts Of Shaolin (Jackie Chan)
Director: Chan Chi Hwa
Action Director: Jackie Chan, To Wai Wo
Box office: HK $662,851.30
Chan stars as the wanderer Hsu Ying Fung, who quickly makes it known (with some help) that he possesses the “Eight Steps of the Snake and Crane”, a martial arts book illustrating the ultimate kung fu style. The book was written by eight Shaolin masters shortly before their disappearance, and Hsu is suspected of killing them, or at least knowing what happened. In reality, Hsu is looking for the man responsible for the masters’ disappearance, whom he will know by a certain mark.
After several fights, and encounters with the leaders of many fighting clans (all of whom want the book and are willing to offer a variety of things for it), Hsu is betrayed, hurt, and eventually captured. He escapes with an unlikely ally in tow, while the rest of the clan leaders, having put aside their differences, search high and low for him. Eventually Hsu finds the man with the mark, the other clan leaders learn the fate of the Shaolin Masters, and in an epic fight involving the Snake and Crane style, Hsu defeats the villain.
This is a very good Jackie Chan movie from the days he was stuck with Lo Wei’s company and wasn’t really given any time to show what he could do. From the start of this movie till the very end, we get to see Jackie in top form, delivering great fight after fight as Martial Art experts try to kill him and get the secret book of Snake And Crane style.
You can see here Jackie trying to also bring his style of comedy to the role, something you would see on a major scale in movies such as Snake In The Eagles Shadow and Drunken Master the same year. In this movie Chan also fights 3 spear guys, the same 3 who also appeared in his movie Fearless Hyena, both fight scenes are very well done.
I feel that Jackie made 3 good films under the supervision of director Lo (Dont tell me what to do) Wei, which were Snake And Crane, Dragon Fist and Shaolin Wooden Men, all 3 should be watched by Jackie fans. So, to finish off, i would recommended this movie purely as it is fight after fight showcasing Jackie in a great light, from the opening credits to the final fight, the talent we would get to see for the next 34 years and beyond.