[Seven Lucky Boys,or Seven Little Fortunes(Qi Xiao Fu), Jackie > first row, far left, kneeling]
We've all heard Jackie Chan's side of the story. He's described his experiences in Peking opera school in accents guaranteed to wring a tear from his more soft-hearted admirers. His memories of the school rival our worst horror stories of reform schools, orphanages, and factories prior to the enactment of child labor laws: At the tender age of seven, the young Jackie is bound by a ten-year contract to a stern headmaster, subjected to an unending round of severe discipline, training and beatings which stretch from five in the morning until midnight. Chan has also expressed his distrustful view of teachers in his movies, in which he often seems more the victim than the student of his sifu. In Master with Crack Fingers, Drunk Monkey in a Tiger's Eye, and other films, Chan plays a character whose irrepressibly mischievous nature meets its match in an old but inhumanly agile and clever master. Through the sifu's ingeniously sadistic training methods, the young troublemaker is transformed into a worthy disciple and master of a fighting art.