As often as I've mentioned Jackie Chan on this blog, it's funny that I haven't actually reviewed any of his movies yet. (My Hand of Death review doesn't really count, since Jackie just had a supporting role in that.) It was hard picking out which one to do first, but since Snake in the Eagle's Shadow is the film that made him a star, I went with that one.
At some point in 19th century China, the rivalry between practitioners of the Snake Fist and Eagle's Claw martial arts styles has turned ugly. Even though the Snake Fist style can't beat the Eagle Claw technique, the Evil Claw master Shang Kuan Yi-yuan (Hwang Jang-lee) has sworn to kill everyone who knows the Snake Fist and destroyed all of their schools. Shang Kuan is especially gunning for Pai Chang-tien, the last surviving masters of the Snake Fist. We then cut to the Hung Tai martial arts school, whose master is away judging a tournament. Simple-minded Chien Fu (Jackie Chan) works as a janitor, and the substitute teacher Li (Dean Shek) makes him a literal punching bag for the other students, never allowing him to block or strike back under penalty of beatings - or worse, being kicked out onto the streets. His only friends are his pet cat and the school's new cook. Chien Fu's lack of fighting skills don't stop him from helping out an old beggar (Yuen Siu-tin) who's being assaulted by members of a rival school. Fortunately, the old guy is something of a badass himself and helps Chien Fu fight them off.