Have you ever been drunk before? And I mean really-really drunk! So drunk in fact, that you could not even lift your head up and slur out some stupidness? Also, whilst you were in this state, did you try to then perform martial arts as well? No? Me neither. Unlike Director: Yuen Woo-Ping; and Actor: Jackie Chan. But only in 1979, and for about 110 minutes.
Now imagine you're the father of mischievous little git called Wong-Fei Hung (Jackie Chan), and you've just heard that your son has pissed off most of the people in town.
So what are going you do about it, huh? Get Wong to beat up someone else he's annoyed previously? It might work. Or better yet, why don't you force him to train with that mad bearded dwarf called Beggar So (Siu Tien Yuen) instead?
Alright. I know that Wong might try to escape when you inform him about this new development. But don't you fret, pal. I'm sure Beggar will catch up to him after he gets into even more trouble at a restaurant during his getaway. Furthermore, once he starts to teach Wong some new fangled martial arts techniques, I'm also sure he'll kick him, whip him, and beat him into physical perfection before he can star in 'Rush Hour 2'.
Still, that's most probably why what next transpires all kicks off when Wong tells So to suck his Wok! As a mischievous little git shouldn't have run - a bad guy is as bad as Attila the Hun - who wants a drink and then fight - and oh my God, this film isn't sh*te!!!!!!
Now if you don't like long fight scenes, don’t watch this film. If you don't like slapstick comedy, don’t watch this film. And if you don't like seeing oriental drunken people beating the living s**t out of each other, well... you know what I'm going to say.
You see, in contemporary terms, 'Drunken Master' is like a reality TV dancing show, where the contestants have to beat each other up and appear oriental. Seriously, the movements to some of these fight scenes really tells a tale, as if each action and reaction is like a foxtrot or a waltz.
Fair enough, the start is generally OK. In the first twenty minutes or so, you know what the basic premise is. Plus the next large section isn't bad either. You can really sense the pain poor Jackie must have had to go through during these training scenes. It is just that the end of the film feels a bit rushed ‘plot wise’. The fight is fine. Sure. A little bit long. But really good nonetheless.
Also, something else you have to take into consideration whilst watching this film, that it is an actual satire. Admittedly, I know that it does not look like a satire. But Wong-Fei Hung is a very well respected hero in Hong Kong Cinema, and is almost an Abraham Lincoln type figure of a man.
Wong was the first frugal Hong-Kong hero captured on screen, and inspired the likes of Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, and Jet Li, to venture into their eventual field. Moreover, Wong was a character in the same vein as James Bond, having a continuing franchise of films (over 100 at last count), inspiring the Tsui Hark classic 'Once Upon a time in China' series.
(1) 'Seasonal Film Corporation' released this
Overall 'Drunken Master' is a great film in my eyes. Granted, it isn't the most highly developed piece I've ever seen. Yet, what it is, is a classic that I'm bound to see again and again and again. Right Jackie?
Ha! Nuff said.