While women my age are probably expected to watch Jane Austen movies or Midsomer Murders for entertainment I have a passion for action movies. To this day I thank my friend Mags from Hong Kong that she introduced me to this genre 30 years ago – and had me discover Jackie Chan – because he has given me more great movie moments than any other actor.
Jackie plays adorable scamp Lung, who along with his brother Lo lives in a martial arts school run by the venerable Master Tien (Tin Fung). Things are going just fine until Lo, who is the school’s star pupil, fakes an injury and secretly lion dances for the rival school. After Lo’s treachery is revealed the Master banishes the elder brother from the school. Lung is grief-stricken and vows to track his brother down and get him to make amends. But Lo falls in with the wrong crowd, and when Lung finds himself mistaken for Lo he continuously has to battle the local authorities during his pursuit.
Eventually Lung meets up with lawman Sam Kung. Eventually Lung convinces the lawman to allow him to bring in the evil convict to nullify his brother’s crime. What follows is an intense, brutal and totally unforgettable confrontation with bad guy no 1!
The Young Master is quite a masterpiece in its genre, definitely ahead of its era, and Jackie surpasses his performances from Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow and Drunken Master. The slapstick comedy is irresistably charming, but as the professional he is Jackie Chan never fails to see when comedy needs to be set aside for some real excitement and action.; the fight scenes in this movie are creative, lively and really realistic.
The final fight is, in my opinion, one of his best ever. It seems to go on forever as Lung is beaten over and over again by his superior combatant, but he wouldn’t be the hero we all know if he didn’t rise up the occasion in the end. So at each loss he heroically (and with a great sense of humour) continues to fight back.
It’s all really hard-edged and realistic, more so than in any of Jackie’s previous films and in retrospective it’s not hard to sense what this director, actor and choreographer had in store for his future audience!