The Legend of Drunken Master

"Excellent"

The Legend of Drunken Master Review


May AA never get hold of this film. If they did, we might face massive protests over a movie that suggests that your already tight Kung Fu gets tighter when you've downed alcohol strong enough to set things on fire. We might have it censored. We might have it edited. And we might, in the process of this, never have the chance to see some of the most impressive Kung Fu fightin' caught on film.

The Legend of Drunken Master (shot in 1994 and being re-released now) revolves around Wong Fei-Hong (Jackie Chan), binge drinker and kickass Kung Fu fighter. Hoping to save his herbalist father some tariffs, Fei-Hong puts a root of ginseng in the British ambassador's box. While retrieving this, he runs into an ancient Chinese general who happens to steal the wrong box. Cool Kung Fu ensues, and we are informed that Fei-Hong happens to be a master in the art of drunken boxing -- remember that skill Keanu was trained in during The Matrix? Same thing -- a showy form of Kung Fu that often results in alcoholism.

Back in some city, Fei-Hong is being pursued by the ambassador's henchmen who want the seal that Fei-Hong got during the mix-up. This is followed by more cool Kung Fu, anti-British propaganda, and nationalism so rank you can smell it miles away. Soon enough, Fei ends up fighting and his mother ends up feeding him whiskey, and, as Fei will tell you, "Drinking gives Herculean strength!"

Yep. Whenever Fei gets based, you know we're in for a treat. On his sober side, Fei is a master of the art. When shitfaced, you just can't beat the guy.

And so the rest of the movie plays out in that pattern: getting drunk, kicking ass, sobering up, and getting drunk again. And by the end, Fei is a hero and we have the not-so-slight suggestion that he may have started the Boxer Rebellion.

This would have actually been a great taste of pulp flicktion...the kind of damn-near-perfect Kung Fu you watch late at night with a bunch of friends (getting drunk while watching The Legend of Drunken Master... now there's a thought!), if it weren't for the fact that like most Jackie Chan movies, Legend is dubbed... and horribly so. People who are obviously speaking Cantonese are voiced by white Americans with no trace of accent. If the characters spent as much time talking as they do fighting, you'd have to forget it altogether. But luckily, this is Jackie Chan, giving us about 1:15 fighting, 0:30 talking. Drunken Master is funny, pulp flicktion with great Kung Fu, and it's just the king of movie that anyone who likes those Matrixy kinds of films just can't pass up.

Aka Jue Kuen II.

Jackie as a child. Almost.



The Legend of Drunken Master

Facts and Figures

Run time: 102 mins

In Theaters: Friday 20th October 2000

Box Office USA: $9.7M

Distributed by: Dimension Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Fresh: 62 Rotten: 13

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Chai-Luing Liu

Producer:

Starring: as Wong Fei-hung, as Wong Kei-ying, as Mrs. Wong, Felix Wong as Tsang, Liu Chia-Liang as Master Fu Wen-Chi (as Lau Kar-Leung), as John (as Low Houi Kang), Chin Ka-Lok as Ho Sang (as Chin Ka Lok), Ho-Sung Pak as Henry, Cheung Chi-Gwong as Tso (as Tseung Chi Kwong), Yee San Hon as Uncle Hing (as Hon Yee Sang), as Counter Intelligence Officer, as Fun, Chia Yung Liu as Marlon (as Kar Yung Lau), Lau Siu-Ming as Mr. Chiu, Suki Kwan as Chiu's Wife

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