Little Tiger Of Canton (1971) a.k.a. Guang dong xiao lao hu a.k.a. The Cub Tiger From Kwang Tung: Breakdown by Kain424
A Kung Fu student struggles against his master, who thinks martial arts should never be used.
First off, it’s important to note that the film, Master With Cracked Fingers, is a completely different film that utilizes sections of this film as its basis. This is Jackie Chan’s first starring role, but though it was filmed in 1971, it didn’t see proper distribution until 1973.
It’s interesting to see a 17 year old Chan, who still goes by Chan Yuan Lung at this point. He isn’t as fast as he’ll be in later films, but some of his trademarks are already here. You get to see him use random objects in fights and beat on women, but rather than being reluctant to fight, here Jackie seems to think fighting is the right thing to do.
This is one of those Kung Fu flicks where the main character keeps getting into battles, always seemingly in the right, only to be chastised by his master after doing so. I’m not sure why these martial arts masters bother learning or teaching their skills if they don’t ever believe it should be used, even in self defense. Even Mr. Miyagi understood that part. It’s also one of those movies where the main bad guy has a special move (here it’s the “Leg of Doom”) and the protagonist has to learn some new way of guarding against it.
The movie sets teenage Jackie against one ridiculous situation after another, each time tempting him into battle. In one memorable scene, Jackie hears a woman being raped in a building above him and he must restrain himself against her pleas for assistance. Jackie, of course, helps the poor girl out, only to be punished by having to punch his bare fist into a jar full of broken glass. Jackie does so, and you can’t help but wonder if it’s all worth the price.
In the end, the movie is a rare curiosity. It’s good for fans who want to see early Chan work, but it’s once again not at all for casual viewers. Not even if you generally enjoy the Kung Fu genre.
[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]
Jackie Chan is Hsiao Hu
Hsiao Hu isn’t the most bad-ass character ever, nor is he a very intelligent man. He is just some young kid trying to woo a young lady and learn martial arts from the young lady’s father. He’s impulsive but also very good at heart. His conflict is a constant battle between helping others and helping himself. He lets a pickpocket go on several occasions and constantly tries to assist others in need. But while he really is a proficient fighter, there’s really nothing too special about the guy.
[THE BODY COUNT: 3]
This one’s not too heavy on the kills, leaving most of the action to street fighting sequences. Not that there aren’t brutal fights, it’s just that they aren’t very lethal ones. Still, one guy does go down early on and Jackie apparently kills a guy with a super-kick to the head, with another man falling to his death.
[MOST SATISFYING ASS-KICKING]
The final battle. It’s really four against one, but Jackie whittles the enemy down until it’s just the final guy. After getting his ass handed to him for several minutes, Jackie finally just kicks the guy in the nuts and starts winning. Chan shows off his athletic prowess pretty well here, hinting at the great things to come.
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
Aside from some shirtless shenanigans at the end of the film, the gay is kept largely out of the matters presented here.
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
This is a weird movie where the “wise old man” character would rather his student ignore a woman being raped than use his taught skills to defend her honor. The movie also surprised me by actually showing the raped woman’s breasts.
Still, I’m not sure if I can say the movie itself is all that misogynistic. One of the best fighters in the film is a woman, and she comes very close to giving the whole business an actual emotional core. Fortunately, her character development ends the moment she gets injured. It’s still a Jackie Chan movie, after all.
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
Near the end of the movie, with the characters having gone into hiding, Chan’s pickpocket friend being roped and strung up onto a ship’s mast, and his co-workers all being bullied, beaten and generally harassed, Jackie is still restraining himself from fighting. It seems as if he is about to interfere, but then his teacher says his name.
Master: Hsiao hu…
Jackie stops moving forward and seems to begrudgingly regain composure. But then Master shouts.
And Jackie Chan proceeds to whoop all kinds of ass, leaving a dockyard of beaten foes lying all about. In a film that was pretty boring, this was actually kinda cool.
As for the one-liner, I’d give it to Hsiao Hu’s pickpocket friend played by Yuen Biao. After being strung up, he threatens revenge in his next life:
Pickpocket: You son of a bitch, let me tell you! In 18 years, I’ll be another man…
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
Sometimes violence is more than necessary.
[The Gist of Jackie: 3 outta 5]
[ ] Breaks Into Someplace Or Escapes By Way Of Acrobatics
[X] Has An Annoying Tag-Along Companion
[X] Makes The ‘Ow!’ Face And/Or Rubs A Soar Spot
[ ] Performs A Ridiculously Dangerous Stunt
[X] Uses A Random Object To Defend Himself
[THE CHECKLIST: 09 outta 25]
[X] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[ ] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[X] Crotch Attack
[ ] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[ ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[ ] Factory/Warehouse
[ ] Giant Explosion(s)
[ ] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[ ] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[ ] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[ ] Manly Embrace(s)
[ ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[ ] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[X] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[ ] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[X] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[ ] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[ ] Tis The Season
[X] Torture Sequence(s)
[ ] Unnecessary Sequel
[ ] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice