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The Young Master (1980) – English Review

Dragon gets into trouble when his brother gets expelled from the martial arts school where they live and train. The brother hangs around with some evil people, and Dragon tries to find him to take him back to the martial arts school. But the brother has done something stupid, and the police believe that Dragon is the brother and they are out to arrest him.

The Young Master is a typical Jackie Chan movie from the early 80s where the ingredients are slapstick comedy and martial arts. The movie follows the same formula as Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow and Drunken Master that came out before The Young Master.

You know what you will get if you have seen the movies I mentioned. In The Young Master, Jackie Chan is the director. This was his second movie as a director, and you can see that he knows what he’s doing. He has learned a lot from the disastrous collaboration with Lo Wei.

Yuen Biao has a role in The Young Master where he plays the son of the police chief. He has some impressive scenes with Jackie Chan and shows great technique with a small wooden stool.

The movie starts off slow with a lion dance scene and some bad drama. But then the movie becomes much more entertaining when the police chief and his son show up. The scenes with the police chief are charming and fun. I love the chemistry and humor in these scenes.

A big minus is that the villains get little screen time. The main villain only gets a few seconds when he opens his mouth before he suddenly shows up to face Dragon in a long fight towards the end of the movie. He has some minions who also get little screen time. I like to watch movies that also give some screen time to the villains so they can give the characters they play more personality.

The last fight is long, and then I mean long! It’s not the prettiest choreography I’ve seen, but the energy is insane! Dragon gets beaten up a lot, and the main villain is fantastic with his legs. It’s funny when Dragon drinks something that I think contains narcotics, I’m not quite sure. After drinking it, he becomes invincible. Think of the Drunken Master movies when he drinks alcohol.

If there is one thing you just have to accept is the use of dolls in several of the older martial arts movies. Towards the end, we see a fantastic scene where Dragon breaks the back on the main villain. They replace the main villain with a doll, and it takes us out of the movie. It doesn’t look good!

One problem with The Young Master is the editing. It’s said that The Young Master originally had a runtime of almost three hours, so they had to trim the movie down a lot. And you notice that. Some scenes don’t feel complete. There are several different versions of The Young Master, I watched the Hong Kong DVD-edition.

The Young Master is one of Jackie Chan’s better movies. It has its flaws, but if you love silly slapstick comedy and long fight sequences, then The Young Master is a movie you have to watch.

Rating: 8/10

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