The Young Master (1980)

PG-13   |    |  Action, Adventure, Comedy

The Young Master (1980) Poster

A talented martial arts student goes after his expelled brother, who get into bad company.


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30 June 1999 | niz
Chan's the man
Chan's directorial debut is a surprisingly assured piece of work, easily confirming why Chan is the most talented superstar in the world today. As you'd expect, the fight sequences are breathtaking to watch, amazingly inventive and beautifully choreographed. Similarly, the joky historical story is typical Chan: he plays a blundering fool out to find his brother who has turned to the dark side. Mistaken identity mishaps ensue. The film concludes with a gobsmacking TWELVE MINUTE one-on-one fight sequence: totally unheard of in Hollywood, yet in Chan's hands it it totally watchable and works very well. Yet another hit from the Jackie Chan fun factory.

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Did You Know?


According to his autobiography "I Am Jackie Chan: My Life in Action" during the making of this film Jackie was kidnapped by Triad gangsters working on behalf of his former employer Wei Lo. They and Lo forced Chan into working on a new film for him which Jackie sarcastically called "Action Movie: A Feature Film". Eventually Jackie's manager Willie Chan learned of this and got the upper management of Golden Harvest Pictures involved. Golden Harvest shipped Jackie out of Hong Kong for nearly a year for his own protection. He couldn't attend this film's premiere and had to find out it's box office results from telegrams. As a result both Battle Creek Brawl (1980) and The Cannonball Run (1981) were made while Jackie was living in exile as the Triad backed negotiations over his contract between Golden Harvest and Lo took place.

Alternate Versions

While the "mythical" three hour cut of the film has not surfaced (as far we know), there is a rare Taiwanese video released by a company named Vidi Video which features a Mandarin-dubbed workprint cut of the film. This version runs at about 104 minutes, and while it is shorter than the 106 minute Hong Kong cut, it features over five minutes of extra footage, ranging from a few seconds to minutes:

  • The first shot is right after Tiger (Wei Pai) pushes Dragon (Jackie Chan) out of his "hideout" so he can be alone with his girlfriend. When Dragon steps outside, he begins to sing "Me and my gal" until their teacher arrives as in the regular cuts.
  • The next short addition is after Fourth Brother (Yuen Biao) shows off his horse bench skills. In the regular versions, Dragon replies by saying "Kid, you're good!". However, in this version, Dragon also tries to perform a maneuver similar to his, only to have trouble getting the bench over his head. He then follows up with his comment.
  • Later on, another addition is when Sang Kung fights Dragon in his house. It is right after he chops off the ends of Dragon's wooden shoes. In shock, Dragon looks up and says "You're pretty fast with your sword!". Sang Kung then replies, saying "Of course, it's my favorite sword." Dragon then replies, "But your action is not as fast as your sword. Watch it, it's quite brittle!". The fight then continues as in the usual prints.
  • The next two additions occur during Dragon's fight with Kam's two bodyguards. The first is when there is a cut to a group of townspeople watching the fight. One shouts, "This Beggar So is quite good!" The cloth store owner behind him asks, "How do you know his name?". The townsperson responds, saying "Any beggar who knows Kung-Fu is named So." The next addition during the fight is a quick one (about six seconds) in which the first bodyguard (Lee Hoi San) tries to flip Dragon over using his rope. However, the second bodyguard (Feng Hark On) tries to grab Dragon, and ends up ripping part of his pants.
  • After the fight in the town and Sang Kung comes in to arrest Kam's bodyguards, there are multiple deleted scenes that total up to well over three and a half minutes. The first is an extension of Sang Kung arresting everyone. He asks "How come you're all tied up?" Before he gets an answer, he sees someone sitting in a chair in the bank and asks them who they are. He then responds by saying he's one of the security guards. Suddenly, Fourth Brother appears, horse bench and all, asking Sang Kung if he's arrested anyone. After saying he came to lend a hand, Sang Kung replies that once they heard he was coming, they already tied themselves up for him. As Sang Kung leaves the bank, the cloth store owner (the one that Dragon stole the orange cloth from) says he wants to file a complaint.
  • After this scene, there is a cut to Dragon and Tiger eating in a restaurant. Tiger tries to explain to Dragon that his life of crime is the only way he can support himself and that he should join him. Dragon then pulls out the shackles he had locked on him and says he wants to try them on Tiger. Tiger says he's never been locked up and thinks it will bring bad luck if he does so. However, he soon agrees to let Dragon try it, but then when he wants to get out, Dragon whispers something to him. Whatever it is, it sends Tiger into a rage, in which he says "You bastard, you double crossed me again!" However, Dragon tries to keep some order in the restaurant and begins to act as if he is a police officer, telling Tiger that anything he says may be used against him.
  • After this, there is a cut to Sang Kung's home in which the cloth store owner is being shown criminal sketches. This scene was one of the ones mentioned by Bey Logan in his audio commentary on the Hong Kong Legends DVD. The first sketch he is shown is one that looks like Sammo Hung from Warriors Two, but he is listed here as "Johnny Luk". The next is none other than a sketch of Yuen Siu Tien as Beggar So from Drunken master. While the cloth store owner is more than certain that he was the one, Fourth Brother tells the owner that he has been out of the business for a while. The store owner then believes that the "thief" was younger. It is at this point that Dragon sneaks in, watching what's going on. The owner soon looks up and recognizes him. Dragon then asks "how is everybody?" When Sang Kung asks why he's come back, he shows Tiger, still very angry and still shackled. However, Sang Kung is very happy and becomes even happier when Dragon states that he'll bring in Kam. It is at this point when he first suggests the "trade" to turn in Kam for Tiger, of as he's called there, "White Fan".
  • Midway through the normal version of the negotiation between Dragon and Kung present in this cut, right after Dragon makes his analogy about putting the pipe back down and not stealing it, the cloth shop owner steps in and says "Right, we'll be all square if you pay for my piece of cloth!" Sang Kung gets irritated and says "Shut up! I didn't ask for your opinion!" The scene then returns to normal as Sang Kung's daughter steps in to try to convince him to let Dragon help.
  • And the end of the scene after Sang Kung says that Tiger will go to jail if he doesn't capture Kam, Dragon begins to leave and tells Tiger to wait a few days and that he will be treated properly. After Dragon leaves, once again, the cloth store owner begins to annoy Sang Kung about the stolen cloth. After this, the film cuts to the usual scene with Ah Suk trying to bargain with Kam.
  • The last addition was one that was inexplicably cut. It is a roughly 20 second shot of Dragon attacking Kam, and Kam countering or dodging each blow. Dragon actually shows more speed in power in this deleted clip than in most of the rest of the fight. Dragon basically starts off attempting to use various upper body attacks including a flurry of punches, all dodged by Kam. He follows up with an attempted elbow to the chest (a photo of this attack is actually used on the front cover of the Hong Kong Legends DVD), however, Kam soon grabs Dragon's left arm and attacks both his upper and lower body with roughly nine fast kicks. Dragon, winded from this combination, struggles to stand back up, as Kam, insultingly, pushes Dragon onto the ground by laying his left foot on Dragon's head and pushing forward. The fight then returns to where Ah Suk normally tells Dragon that he shouldn't have charged so soon. While there are all of these additions, there are various cuts, such as parts of the last fight as well as other minor cuts. However, jumps in the music where scenes are cut imply that the full three hour cut may indeed have been properly dubbed and scored. Also, there are some instances of missing music, such as the dramatic "zoom music" played when Kam first breaks free, but also added music, such as the first half of the fight against Kam's bodyguards. However, despite the change in music placement, it is still the same score as the Hong Kong cut, using music cues from Holst's "The Planets", as well as music from John Barry's score for Game of Death. Also, some of the scenes are placed differently. For example, instead of Dragon going to the rival school to fight Big Bull and then cutting to Kam's escape by Tiger and the two bodyguards, the scenes are switched so Kam escapes first and then Dragon fights Big Bull. Aside from the cuts, the only downside to this version is that it's dubbed in Mandarin rather than the proper Cantonese language track. Overall, in adding all of the current footage together (106 minutes from the Hong Kong cut, 3 minutes of extra scenes in the international cut, 5 minutes of additional scenes in the Taiwanese cut), there is roughly 114 minutes of footage existing from the full three hour cut, leaving roughly an hour of missing footage yet to be found.


Show Me Your Face
Performed by Li Tai-Hsiang
(Only in Hong Kong version)


Plot Summary


Action | Adventure | Comedy

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