Method Man (1979)
Yuen Wu Ping directed his first feature, the phenomenal SNAKE IN THE EAGLE’S SHADOW in 1978 and changed the course of kung fu cinema history forever. That film launched his epic directing and fight choreography career but also immediately catapulted Jackie Chan into stardom. Although young (24 at the time), Jackie had been kicking around in the industry since he was in his teens, notably as a stuntman and bit-part actor in Bruce Lee’s FIST OF FURY and ENTER THE DRAGON. But with SNAKE IN THE EAGLE’S SHADOW he attained the esteemed position of “target of the Hong Kong knock-off movie machine.”
Make no mistake, METHOD MAN, AKA FEARLESS YOUNG BOXER is Jackie-sploitation. For years, Brucesploitation was king. Jackie Chan even starred in one, NEW FIST OF FURY, starring under the name “Little Dragon.” But Chan’s blend of comedy and incredible acrobatics was a welcome breath of fresh air that all but extinguished the fake Bruce Lee film era and brought new life and new direction to the sagging Hong Kong film industry.
In METHOD MAN, Ji-Lung Chang witnesses his father’s murder by a brutal assassin, wonderfully realized by Cassanova Wong (Korean Cassanova Wong was a former Tae Kwon Do champion nicknamed “The Human Tornado” for his devastating and rapid high kicking techniques before launching a long career in Hong Kong cinema). He immediately vows revenge. knowing his kung fu is not good enough to face the formidable assassin, however, he joins his uncle’s traveling circus and is mentored by the wickedly talented and acrobatic Lu-Ling Li.
The final 20 minute showdown between Cassanova Wong, Lu-Ling Li and the Jackie-chan-haircut-sporting Ji-Lung Chang is wild, exciting and loaded with acrobatic thrills.
And of course, for Wu Tang Clan fans, this is the movie that morphed the young Clifford Smith into the eternal Method Man.
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