Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Eagle Shadow Fist

The Action Mutant…
loves “The Essential Jackie Chan Sourcebook!”

Eagle Shadow Fist

review by Joe Burrows

Usually, the best words an action fan can see on screen are “Starring Jackie Chan”. Oddly enough, they can be the worst words to an action fan if they see them on a DVD case. Back in 1995, when Jackie had his initial success with Rumble in the Bronx, small video companies began releasing basically every film Chan had done up until that point. Some of these films included Jackie in bit roles and cameos but that didn’t matter to most of these small outfits. Give them credit (no matter how underhanded it may be), putting Jackie’s mug on a video cover and giving him star billing is sure to ensure more video sales than if they didn’t. Every once in a while, you’d get an entertaining time killer out of the misconception. Other times…well, you get Eagle Shadow Fist.

The Plot, as it was:
Jackie and Wang Ching are part of a Peking Opera group that is suppressed by the Japanese army during wartime. The actors become freedom fighters and won’t back down, despite suffering several losses. After Japanese soldiers massacre his friends and family, Wang fights the leader for vengeance.

Don’t shoot me…I’m only the reviewer!:
Good God, what a horrible waste of film this was! The only comfort Jackie fans can take from this is that he was so early into his career, that he had absolutely no stake in this other than doing a few scenes, then dying. Yes, Jackie dies, which is good because I just saved you the rental fee. He does fine with what he has (and sports a buzz cut) but you wouldn’t know there was a star in the making here. That’s mainly because everything about the movie is either flat (acting, sets, pacing) or just flat out sucks (fights, script and overall mood). A depressing movie like this gets capped of by a disgusting massacre scene, where the soldiers kill kids by throwing them onto the ground or into big boulders. I don’t mind kids dying if it furthers a story logically (i.e. Face/Off, The Punisher) but this smacked of gratuity, most likely because the filmmakers knew they had nothing to work with. Hopefully for you, the lucky viewer, the film will put you asleep first.

Body Count/Violence: 33. Quite the bloody exercise here, with most being punched in the stomach until blood spurts out of the mouth. Jackie gets stabbed to death and his scene is pretty gory. And there’s the repugnant massacre scene, which I will not speak of again. The movie’s not rated but it’s most likely a mild R.

Sexuality/Nudity: Nothing, though there are two attempted rapes that lead to a woman getting stabbed to death. Make sure to watch this one before bedtime.

Language/Dialogue: Kinda rough, though no F words are dropped. Quite a few S bombs though, which is appropriate with this movie.

How bad was it?:
Didn’t see any reviews (as this isn’t widely distributed) but the feedback on IMDB is pretty much equal to this review.

Did it make the studio’s day?:
It was distributed by Great Earth on 1/12/73 and made a paltry $69,336 during its sole week long run. The film was released on video in the U.S. in 1986.

Film: ½*/*****
Entertainment value: ½*/*****

Copyright 2007 The Action Mutant.

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