Jackie and the 38 Crazy Fist

March 2, 2017 at 1:07 am Leave a comment

When you get a set of movies from the bargain bin, you have to be careful to not be misled by the box cover. One might believe they are buying ten Bruce Lee movies. But in reality, you are getting maybe one movie with Bruce Lee in it and nine movies with Bruce Lee impersonators. To that end, I got suckered in by a box set advertising for today’s movie, Jackie and the 38 Crazy Fist. The top billing on the back of the box says it stars Jackie Chan. The title would suggest that Jackie Chan or at least a character named Jackie appears in this movie. That is not the case. Supposedly, Jackie Chan helped direct, do the stunt choreography,  and sparred with one of his students in the opening credits. But this movie does not star Jackie Chan or anyone else named Jackie, for that matter. But is this movie any good?

The movie’s story plays out like the plot of a video game. Let’s start with our hero. For the purposes of this review, I will call him Jackie. I know his name is not Jackie but his name doesn’t really come up in the movie. If his name is mentioned, it was mumbled and said quickly in passing. Taking place a long time ago, somewhere in Asia, Jackie’s father is killed by some local gangsters. He wants to avenge his father but he doesn’t know Kung Fu. He gets turned down from one training gym then turns to some of his friends to get him into their training gym. The Master, the only name we are given for this character, rejects him at first. Jackie’s friends point out that if they can make a Kung Fu warrior out of Jackie, it will prove that their gym is the best.Jackie is unimpressive in all respects, molding him into a warrior will take some effort. For the first few months, Jackie does chores around the gym, not really learning much other than muscle endurance. He finally confronts The Master, saying that he was promised a Kung Fu education which he is not receiving.The Master beats Jackie up and humiliates him in front of everyone. Jackie has more chores to do before he is ready to learn anything. Jackie is impatient though. One day while filling some buckets with water, Jackie runs into a Drunken Master. He is homeless and laying around in a field. The Drunken Master makes fun of Jackie, challenging him to a fight. The Drunken Master mops the floor with Jackie, then takes the time to show him a few things. Armed with this new knowledge, Jackie challenges The Master again. This time, he holds his own but ultimately is no match for The Master.

Jackie decides he will never get a fair break at this gym, so he will challenge his father’s killer to a fight armed only with his half-assed training. He gets beaten badly. He comes crawling back to The Master and gets a not good response. We have no idea what he said because it was played in fast motion for comedic value. His friends decide they will teach him what they know and that should be enough to get him through the rematch alive. Cut to the training montage and then the rematch. This time Jacie picks up the win and moves on to the next stage.

Now the Gangster brother wants revenge for this brothers defeat and this fight will be with weapons. Jackie has no idea how to fight with weapons and is about to be killed when his friends run in for the DQ Dusty finish. Seriously, there is a referee to these fights and he calls this one off due to interference, scheduling a rematch in a few days. Jackie’s friends patch things up with The Master on his behalf because they will need his help with weapons training. He agrees and we get another training montage. Jackie wins that fight and moves on to the final boss fight.

Jackie and the 36 Crazy Fist is pretty much what you expect an early Jackie Chan movie to do. Part slapstick comedy, part kung fu movie. It is light on the story, plot, character development, story arc, and production values. But heavy on the action. How funny this movie is, I will leave up to you as comedy is subjective. The action sequences are toned down compared to later films Jackie Chan would be involved in but his finger prints certainly are on this movie. I would recommend this as a curiousity for people who are already Jackie Chan fans but it’s not a lost classic or anything. If you end up with this movie in a box set, it’s worth checking out.


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