Hand of Death (1976)
aka Countdown in Kung Fu

Synopsis:  Dorian "Flash Legs" Tan stars in this movie as a young Shaolin student who is sent on a mission to bring a Shaolin traitor, who is working for the Ching government, to justice. He is helped by a young rebel (Jackie Chan) he meets, and forms a group to fight against the evil government. Sammo Hung also has a small role as a corrupt government official with inexplicably large buck teeth.

Debbie's Review:  Okay, so anybody can have a bad hair day! But don't let the picture fool you. This is a pretty good movie, directed by John Woo. Jackie's not the star, but his role is interesting, and his acting surprisingly good, as a sort of brooding, angry loner who doesn't want to get involved but whose conscience won't let him stay out of the fight. It features some very good martial arts work, and good performances as well. John Woo also appears in a small cameo role as a scholar. 

Jackie was originally hired only as a stuntman on this film, but Woo decided his acting was good enough to handle a small role. Unfortunately, this film is the only collaboration between Jackie Chan and John Woo. In an interview with Andy Klein of the Los Angeles Reader, Jackie described a scene from the film:

I jump from truck, onto a trampoline with a wire to pull me back.  And this guy gave me one side kick in the stomach too hard.  I hit my head and totally forget who I am. Blank! I cry: woohoohoo. And you know what? Then I get up and do it again! One more jump, one more kick. Then I pee blood.  John Woohe is my witness.  I almost died.

This isnt a typical Jackie Chan film and hes not the star, but I still liked it. Although I had to take away points for the bad hair-do, I gave them back for the nifty off-the-shoulder costume.

Score: 5/10


Reader Reviews

Joe Cool's Review: Decent film from Jackie. Some good action scenes,but the acting is a little inconsistent. Not a bad film by any means, it just could have been better. The martial arts in this film are quite well shot, and the decent characters place it slightly above many of the very similar kung fu films made around this time.

Score: 1/10

NetDragon's Review:This is a great movie in my opinion. The leading character is the flashy kicker Dorian Tan Tao Liang. The bad guys are played by James Tien and Sammo Hung. Jackie Chan has a small, but rather heroic role in it. The greatest moment with him on screen for this one is the fight sequence where he's using a spear against 2 bad guys at the same time. Dorian is also great, and the end fight with James Tien is a classic combat. The soundtrack is a very catchy tune, and it plays during the opening credits where we get to see Dorian perform some decent kung fu moves.

The plotline involves a group of fighters (among them Dorian and Jackie of course) escorting an important man (played by John Woo) across the sea. On their journey you can expect a lot of furious fights.

My rating: 9/10

Brendan's Review: This movie has some good fights, and some cool swordplay, and I'm a sucker for good swordfight-sequences. John Woo's cameo appearance is amusing as well. This is not a great movie, but is better than A LOT of Jackie's other film from around the same time as this one.

Score: 5/10

Crabby's Review: This is an okay movie for Jackie in the 70's. Some decent action, and okay swordfights, and some cool stuntwork by Jackie.

Score: 5.5/10

ChanManFan's Review: This movie is a little outdated, but has some highly enjoyable fights. Wang Yu is the star, but Jackie is able in support.

Score: 5/10

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