Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow (蛇形刁手) is a 1978 live-action theatrical Hong Kong film directed by Yuen Woo-ping and written by Ng See-yuen, Choi Gai-gwong, and Tsai Chi-kuang. The film stars Jackie Chan, Yuen Siu-tien, Hwang Jang-lee and Roy Horan. It was theatrically released in March 1978 for Hong Kong and published by Seasonal Film Corporation, Hollywood Classics International and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
“SNAKE IN THE EAGLE’S SHADOW is the kung fu comedy masterpiece starring superstar Jackie Chan (RUSH HOUR, SHANGHAI NOON). This star-making film was the first to feature Jackie’s trademark mix of mind-blowing martial arts action with hilariously choreographed slap-stick. It also marked the historic first collaboration between Jackie and director Yuen Woo Ping (IRON MONKEY, action choreographer for THE MATRIX and CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON), to be followed by their huge hit DRUNKEN MASTER, released a year later.
At the end of the The Qing Dynasty, a 200-year-old deadly clan known as the Eagle Claw Society has eliminated all styles of martial arts except for the revered Snake Fist style. The Grand Master of Eagle Claw is obsessed with finding – and killing – the remaining members of the Snake Fist school. Meanwhile, the wise, elderly Snake Fist Grand Master is busy in hiding, teaching a young, overworked servant (Jackie Chan) his awesome, super-fast fighting moves. An action-packed showdown is inevitable, but is the newest member of the Snake Fist school any match for an evil, legendary fighter with years of experience?”Plot Synopsis via 88 Films, May 2021.
As I have mentioned a couple of times with the previous Blu-ray releases put out in the past few years, Jackie Chan is an iconic actor and director with a whole ton of films that have gotten a lot of love throughout his career more specifically during his work in the Hong Kong cinema scene. Many of his films were released internationally but it’s in this past half-decade that there had been a lot more attention thanks to the Blu-ray restoration treatment done to many of his featured films or directed works. In fact, it’s not just Jackie Chan but also the works from Sammo Hung, Lo Wei and more that have been getting new and older audiences interested in their action, comedy and martial art films.
The next film we have is Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow from the director of Drunken Master. This film also supported Jackie’s career with future collaborations between the two. In addition, the film is also infamous for the animal fighting scene which I’ll briefly explain later in this post, but also a rather over-the-top death scene which many will most likely be familiar with when they witness it.
Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow is released in the UK on Blu-ray by distributor 88 Films who continue to knock it out of the pack when it comes to their releases. In recent years, their discs and packaging presentation have improved a lot for their horror, Italian and Hong Kong audiences. In fact, their biggest releases currently from the looks of it are both Jackie Chan and Jean-Claude Van Damme films.
Unfortunately, Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow has a unique case where the license window will be much shorter than the others. According to 88 Films on their social media, the film will be available until the end of 2021 before it goes out of print completely.
88 Films are also working on bringing more variety to the Hong Kong live-action cinema catalog for those who have been a bit fed up of constant Jackie Chan films being released. Next we have the Category III rated films like Erotic Ghost Story and Robotrix fully uncut plus Forbidden City Cop and The Chinese Boxer. And of course more Jackie Chan with Armour of God and Half a Loaf of Kung Fu incoming.
First Edition Contents:
88 Films follows a trend similar to Arrow Video and Eureka Entertainment with first print edition releases.
Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow comes with a special o-card slipcase as well as 4 collectible art cards and a fold-out poster. This style is similar to previous 88 Films Jackie Chan releases like Dragon Lord and Shaolin Wooden Men.
The SRP is £24.99 and has a 3000 unit print run. Once the print run is out of stock, they’ll re-release the film without the O-card slipcase, folded poster and post cards. However, as mentioned above, the licensing availability window for this film is much shorter than the other Hong Kong live-action films 88 Films have distributed in the past, so it’s recommended that you acquire the film sooner than later.
- Limited Edition O-Card slipcase featuring unique artwork by R.P. “Kung Fu Bob” O’Brien
- 4 Collectible Art Cards
- Fold-out Poster
Distributor: 88 Films
Released: 3rd May 2021
88 Films has presented Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow on a single Blu-ray disc with an “ass-kicking restoration” of the original 1978 release running at 97 minutes length. The film is available to watch in multiple audio options including Cantonese, Mandarin and the international English dub. Like previous 88 Films releases, the disc also contains a variety of audio commentaries and trailers.
The Audio Commentaries available include one from Asian cinema experts Mike Leeder and Arne Venema, and another from actor/stuntman John Kreng and artist/Hong Kong cinema expert R.P. “Kung Fu Bob” O’Brien.
The white subtitles are unlockable during playback, and the regions are locked to B for Blu-ray.
This UK release is also notable for omitting most of the scenes featuring a battle between a cat and a snake, due to the BBFC’s request over animal cruelty. From what I have seen, most fans of the film aren’t that particularly bothered by the cut request as it doesn’t add much to the film. If you are someone who wants a fully uncut release, the German Blu-ray is available.
|Languages||Cantonese, English, Mandarin|
|Audio||Cantonese Linear PCM Mono|
Mandarin Linear PCM Mono
English Linear PCM Mono
|Video||1080p High Definition Native format|
2:35:1 aspect ratio
Blu-ray On-Disc Extra Features:
- Audio Commentary by Asian cinema experts Mike Leeder and Arne Venema (Dolby Digital 2.0 audio)
- Audio Commentary by actor/stuntman John Kreng and artist/Hong Kong cinema expert R.P. “Kung Fu Bob” O’Brien (Dolby Digital 2.0 audio)
- Interview with Roy Horan
- Interview with George Clarke
- US Opening Credits
- Hong Kong Opening Credits
- Hong Kong Trailer
- English Trailer
- US Trailer
Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow is available to order through multiple retailers across the United Kingdom. The first print edition will sell out pretty fast like 88 Films’ other Jackie Chan titles. Both Amazon UK and the official 88 Films website will be the best option to secure a copy. Once sold out, a regular standard edition will be available.
(Disclaimer: Amazon links are also included when available. They are affiliated so if you decide to order them, I’ll earn a small percentage if they ship which will help me with any hauls or small bills. Due to current global situations, shipping restrictions may apply.)