Fearless Hyena (1979)

Synopsis: Jackie is once more a young orphan, etc, etc… This time he lives with Grandpa, who is the last member of the (Fill in the Blank) Clan. Grandpa teaches Kung Fu to his lazy grandson, with strict orders to show it to no one, for fear that the rival (Whatever) Clan will discover their whereabouts and wipe them out. When Grandpa tells Jackie to get a job, he takes employment as an instructor at a Kung Fu school, which inevitably leads to the bad guys finding and killing Grandpa. Now Jackie must avenge the death of his Grandfather, with the aid of the mysterious “Unicorn” who helps him hone his Kung Fu skills until he is ready for the big showdown, in which Jackie uses his “emotional Kung Fu” to defeat the bad guys.

Debbie's Review:  When Jackie was still under contract to Lo Wei, he finally convinced Lo to let him direct. Fearless Hyena and Half A Loaf of Kung Fu were the results, and Lo Wei hated them so much, he refused to release them until years later, after Jackie had become a huge star. In Fearless Hyena, Jackie pretty much sets the traditional Kung Fu movie on its head. He goes full throttle, no stops, and apparently tries everything he can think of:  Kung Fu in drag, Kung Fu dressed as a cross-eyed bum, and his completely fabricated “emotional Kung Fu” in which he goes from laughing like a crazed hyena to crying like a baby, and falling limply in his opponents arms. Some of it I found refreshingly funny, some I thought was just plain silly, but I’m glad Jackie got it out of his system. If you find the Three Stooges intellectually stimulating, then this movie is for you! (In fact, the Three Stooges are IN this movie...well, a Chinese version of them, anyway.) 

It seems like most everything in this movie is extreme…extreme drama, as when Jackie is forced to watch helplessly as his grandfather is murdered, extreme slapstick (dressing in drag, pretending to be a cross-eyed bum), or extreme training sequences, as when he performs a series of upside down sit ups, suspended by his ankles, and repeatedly smacking first his chest, and then his back against a board. Ouch! 

This film definitely has its ups and downs, but is still very watchable, and of course it's fun to see a very young Jackie experimenting with things that would later become his trademarks. And Jackie’s acting is surprisingly effective in places. Oh, one more thing…the English dubbing, which is usually bad in these early films is gawd-awful in this one. I prefer to watch the Cantonese voice track, even though it has no subs, than subject myself to the atrocious English dubbing. 

Score: 7/10

Reader Reviews

Simon Wilkin's Review: Submit S1: Ok, so its an early JC movie and yes it has awfull awfull comedy and yes ofcourse its dubbed so bad its near impossible to stand, but.....the fights are AMAZING, the stick fight training with his grandpa is SO good its worth buying just for that! A true martial arts classic?

Score: 6.5/10

Katie's Review: I noticed that a lot of people didn't like this film and i would have to dissagree. this was one of the first JC movies i saw and it inspired me to watch more. yes, it is a lot of hand to hand, but it brings out the style of the kung fu, not just the big flying stunts. i loved the scenes where the unicorn was training jackie and they fought over food with chopsticks and unicorn tried to knock jackie off the pots he was balancing on. overall i think it was an awsome movie.

Score: 9/10

Adam Celander's Review: Boring Jackie Chan movie. The fight scenes are to much hand to hand and not any kicks ore akrobatiks.

Score: 1/10

Mazz's Review: I really enjoyed this film, it is very funny and it was the first film that Jackie directed. 

It has some brilliant fight scenes, including two especially funny ones, one where he pretends to be a dumb boy and another where he pretends to be a girl.  There is some good comedy and great action!

The only down side on the British version is the bad dubbing.  However it is still worth watching.

Score: 6/10

Jin Ke's Review: "Fearless Hyena" is Jackie's first shot behind the director's chair.  I've seen some of his earlier movies and while they weren't bad, they weren't anything special.  With Jackie finally calling the shots, the change is quite noticeable.  The action scenes are funnier and more dynamic (although the one-on-one fights get repetitive after a while), and Jackie has more character than in movies like "Dragon Fist" or "Snake & Crane Arts Of Shaolin."  However, the showdown with Yan Yee Kwan at the end was way too long - the crying hyena technique just bogged down the fight's momentum, and I hate it when the the hero only gets in one or two shots after taking 80 punches and is able to win.  Not a bad movie, and it certainly got Jackie experience points behind the camera.  Good for Jackie fans who want to see how far he's come since those early days.

Score: 6/10

Rincewind's Review: You can see that this movie is Jackie's directorial debut. Jackie had still lot to learn of moviemaking and this movie has its problems. The fighting scenes are quite good. The humour is sometimes good but mostly it's just a bit stupid. The plot is pretty simple but the most annoying thing is that I have only the English dubbed version! And it's the most horrible dubbing that I've ever heard in any movie! But if you can live with it this ain't a bad movie at all.

Score: 7.5/10

Joe's Review: Eh, didn't like it much, the comedy was pretty bad. couple of good fights at the end, and in the middle but that's about it.

Score: 4/10

Adam JC fan's Review: This movie has to be one of my favorite Jackie Chan films. There was ok comedy an good fight scenes. 

Score 8.5/10

Back Home Up