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Import Corner: Snake in the Eagle's Shadow (88 Films) Blu-ray Review


Snake in the Eagle's Shadow is my favorite Jackie Chan film. It is filled with awesome fight scenes, lots of belly laughs, and one of the best soundtracks ever assembled for a film. 88 Films does a remarkable job bringing this film to blu-ray.

Studio: 88 Films
Release Date: March 1st, 1978 (theatrical)
                           May 3rd, 2021 (blu-ray)
Run Time: 1 hour 36 minutes 53 seconds
Region Code: B (locked)
Picture: 1080p (2.35:1 aspect ratio)
Sound: Cantonese LPCM 2.0
               Mandarin LPCM 2.0
               English LPCM 2.0
Subtitles: English
Slipcover: Yes
Digital Copy: No
Starring: Jackie Chan, Hwang Jang-lee , Yuen Siu-tien, Dean Shek, and Fung Hak-on
Written by Ng See-yuen, Choi Gai-gwong, and Tsai Chi-kuang
Directed by Yuen Woo-ping
Rating: BBFC: 12 (moderate violence, language)

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Poster

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What's It About?

At the end of 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? (taken from the back of the blu-ray case)
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Film Review

The year is 1995. I have just returned from seeing RUMBLE IN THE BRONX. I am pumped. I really loved the film and I want more Jackie Chan. I hop onto my bike and head over to the nearest Blockbuster Video with about $30 in my pocket. I have plans to rent some more Jackie Chan films. Of course, it's opening day for RUMBLE IN THE BRONX, and all of the Jackie Chan films are rented out. Bummer. Wait. They have a bunch of Jackie Chan films for sale? Well, I am 15 years old and have no responsibilities, so I guess I need to take a look. They have about ten or so of Chan's films on VHS and I look through them. They have a film called RUMBLE IN HONG KONG, but I can tell that this is probably a much older film that doesn't feature Chan in it all that much and has retitled the film to capitalize on the RUMBLE that is playing in theaters (I was right). What's this? SNAKE IN THE EAGLE'S SHADOW? Out of all the films they have, this one looks like it could be good. I recognize the name Yuen Woo-ping, so that's gotta count for something. I plunk down the $10 that they wanted for the tape and head home. 

An hour and a half (or so) later and I am stunned. I LOVED the film! The action is exciting and daring, the comedy is actually funny, and the music, man the music, is just awesome and somehow fits this old school martial arts film. I have loved this film since the night I first watched it and still have that VHS tape. I have bought the film in many formats throughout the years and every time I watch the film I am transported back to that night in 1995 when I watched the film for the first time. I love everything about the film, but it is the music that has stayed with me the most. The way that the synth score sounds (kind of tinny and a bit flat) and the way that it works with what is happening onscreen is a testament to the music guys on the film. I don't know how they happened upon this music and I have no idea how they thought that this music would work in anything other than a science fiction film, but I am glad that they did. This is one time that I can honestly say that the music helps make the film. Sure, music helps a lot of films, but the music here does something to the film that elevates it to another level. You can take a song out of a film like GOODFELLAS and it will survive because everything else is so strong, but here, if you take the music out, I honestly believe that the film would suffer. I don't know. Maybe I am talking out of my ass and the music doesn't help the film that much, but I think it does. The film is a winner regardless, but the music helps it become something truly special. 
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Video/Audio

SNAKE IN THE EAGLE'S SHADOW has never looked better. The colors really pop off the screen. There is a thin layer of grain (always a good thing) and detail is impressive. There are some flaws that are inherent to the source like shots being out of focus, but that shouldn't take away from the enjoyment of the film. 

There are three language tracks. I took in each for a while and they all sound great. I watched the film proper with the classic English dub and was instantly transported back to 1995 when I first watched the film. The music is so good and fits the film well, surprisingly. 

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Extras/Packaging

Audio Commentary by Mike Leeder and Arne Venema
Audio Commentary by John Kreng and Kung Fu Bob

Both commentary tracks are worth listening to. They both cover many different topics and the stories told are worth hearing. If I had to pick one, it would be the Leeder/Venema track as the winner. This is not to say that the Kreng/Kung Fu Bob track is bad. Far from it. I just like chemistry between Leeder and Venema better which makes for a very engaging commentary track.

Interview with Roy Horan (58m 42s, HD, 1.78:1) Horan gives us the story of his life, starting with his traveling at a young age. He began to study to become a priest but quit because he didn't like the fact that he would have give up the pleasures of the flesh. He has some really great stories from the films he has worked on. His first film was a Bruce Li quickie where he was paid a nice amount of money to appear in the film multiple times. He talks about the other films he worked on and then talks for quite a while about SNAKE IN THE EAGLE'S SHADOW. He got hurt fairly badly on set and watching the film, you can tell. 

Interview with George Clarke (26m 27s, HD, 1.78:1) It is very apparent that Clarke really loves SNAKE IN THE EAGLE'S SHADOW. He is very knowledgeable when it comes to just about everything about this film and, from the short clips of his own films, he has used his knowledge to benefit anyone who has watched his films. I really like this kind of interview because he isn't tearing the film apart. It's an appreciation of the film and those who made it.

US Opening Credits (4m 20s, HD, 2.35:1) Includes some narration over the opening fight scene.
Hong Kong Opening Credits (1m 39s, HD, 2.35:1)
Hong Kong Trailer (4m 1s, HD, 2.35:1)
English Trailer (4m 20s, HD, 2.35:1)
US Trailer (2m 59s, HD, 1.78:1)

The packaging here is the same high quality that we have come to expect from 88 Films. We get a really nice slipcover with some amazing artwork from Kung Fu Bob. The blu-ray comes inside of 14mm blu-ray case with reversible artwork. Inside the case we get four postcards featuring stills from the film, a folded poster featuring the Kung Fu Bob artwork. The blu-ray disc itself also features the Kung Fu Bob artwork. This release is limited to be available to the year 2021 so get your copy while you can.

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Overall

SNAKE IN THE EAGLE'S SHADOW is my favorite Jackie Chan film. I have owned every release of this film from the VHS to this blu-ray. I just love how funny and exciting it is and the music, man the music is so good. 88 Films has done something that many other companies had tried and failed to do: they released a great version of the film with some worthwhile extras. 
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Extras/Menus

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Film

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Packaging


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