The 36 Crazy Fists
Martial Arts, Action, Drama | 90 mins | Released: 1977
Director: Chi-Hwa Chen
Starring: Jackie Chan, Siu-Hung Leung, Michelle Yim, Lau Chan, Chok Chow Cheung, Cheng Chiang, Paul Chun
Our Rating: 6
Wong Tai Kwong’s (Tony Leung Siu Hung) father is killed, and he seeks revenge. Learning the intricacies of kicking and slashing from a Shaolin master, he takes on 18 opponents before finally getting his chance to square accounts with his dad’s murderer.
The 36 Crazy Fists is also known as The Master and the Boxer and The Blood Pact
The supporting cast includes Liu Chia Yung and Jen Shin Kuan. Barely known in the U.S., The 36 Crazy Fists began showing up with reassuring regularity in American video stores after the box-office success of Chan’s Rumble in the Bronx.
The enormously popular martial-arts star Jackie Chan served as the action director for The 36 Crazy Fists and has a cameo.
In the opening scene of the story, two men in grey suits and black hats rescue a young man from being beaten by a gang. They take him home to his sister’s house. One of the men has had his head shaved between the two scenes, although they are meant to follow on directly.
Early in the movie, Wong Tai comments about how it takes five days to get to the temple, and five days to get back home (a total of 10 days). Yet later in the movie after one of the fights, he somehow manages to get to the temple and back home in less than three days.
When the master is teaching Wong Tai about how to defend himself against the chain, he rolls up his sleeves and says for Wong Tai to attack him with the chain. Then, after they are done practising, he rolls up his sleeves again, and there appear to be forearm guards there that were not there before.
It’s no surprise that Jackie Chan films have attained cult-like status. But interestingly, they have also been unwitting influencers of lifestyles, attire and even eating habits that has reached beyond the adoration of Chan fans. Fashion wise, the athleisure trend we’ve all adopted got an early boost as fans took yoga-like martial arts garb out of the dojo and into the streets as everyday wear. It’s also increased the comfort/serenity factor of home settings. Think futons, floor cushions and fragrant candles. As for cuisine? Sushi, of course. All extremely important after a hard day of Hung Ga. Oh, and tea. Anyone for a Starbucks Chai late?
Don’t look for Jackie Chan…
8 September 2003 | by Andy Troy (Hempstead, NY)
“36 CRAZY FISTS, while directed and choreographed by martial-arts legend Jackie Chan, doesn’t feature him in any recognizable role. One is inclined to feel cheated because of this, and I would generally have to agree; 36 CRAZY FISTS may’ve been a great film if it had starred Chan, but as it stands, it is simply a mundane movie.
It features the overly-typical revenge plot, along with the old master, the bumbling sidekicks (complete with trombone “waaahh” sounds!) and the clever-yet-flighty girl we’ve all come to know and love (?) from the kung-fu genre. The fight scenes are not all bad, especially the final few between the old white-haired guy (a sure sign of martial-arts mastery, apparently) and the young student. Also along for this final fight sequence are the student’s two (count ‘em, TWO!) teachers, a fellow disciple of the old man, and at least three other guys who just throw around insults. Wow, that’s some fight!
Maybe the most notable thing about 36 CRAZY FISTS (and this isn’t a good thing) is its title; it suffers from PNS (Poorly-Named Syndrome), in that the 36 “crazy fists” are only one of dozens of technique the student learns. Moreover, they aren’t even fists but sweep-chops! Oh well.
In short, this movie doesn’t have anything special going for it…move along, move along.”
Author: mstomaso from Vulcan, 9 October 2005
“Jackie Chan directed this fairly typical parodic plagiarism of several of his own films (and a few from before his time). A few Chan’s regulars show up, including the master from the masterpiece Drunken Master playing essentially the same role, but Jackie himself is nowhere to be found. I got the feeling that this film was tossed together as a vehicle for one or two of the younger actors in it. The plot is not very clever, and though some of the characters are interesting (particularly the male lead and his two masters), they all dissolve into not very clever and not-as-funny-as-they-could-have-been stereotypes once the central plot comes into focus. Thankfully, there is very little pseudo-philosophical pretentiousness here.
The plot is a story of family revenge – where a hopelessly sensitive tiny young man (smaller than Bruce Lee, even) wants to exact revenge on a band of thugs who have terrorized his village, leaving him and his sister orphaned. So he seeks a master at a Kung Fu gym and is treated ruelly for a while, until he meets another master (a drunken old vagabond in the woods), and suddenly starts to show some promise. Plenty of poorly realized comedic opportunities arise and there is some good fighting (and some miserably acted fighting as well). ho hum. Bottom line is – it took me three nights to get through this and I only laughed a couple of times. For fans only.”