Drunken Master II
1994, R, 99 min. Directed by Lui Chia Liang, Jackie Chan. Starring Chan, Anitia Mui, Ti Lung, Liang, Andy Lau, Chin Kar Lok.
REVIEWED By Joey O'Bryan, Fri., April 8, 1994
Jackie Chan scores a ballistic home run with his latest effort, a sequel to his 1979 classic, which also serves as a triumphant return to his traditional chopsocky roots. The plot finds Chan back in the popular role of the famous real-life Cantonese boxer Wong Fei Hung, shown here traveling back home with his father, the equally legendary Wong Kei Ying, after leaving town to pick up some medical supplies for their pharmacy. However, after a mix-up with some luggage, Fei Hung finds himself at odds with evil foreigners and their lackeys, an elderly government official, his strict father, and his worst enemy… himself. The fighting and stuntwork in Drunken Master II is absolutely incredible. The film delivers some of the most spectacular and intricately choreographed martial arts fighting ever seen on film; chock-full of clever movement, ranging from graceful to brutal. Even the hardest cynic's jaw will drop while experiencing the picture's twenty-minute finale: a ferocious free-for-all complete with falling barrels, burning coals, vicious henchmen, and runaway mine carts! The time in between the action sequences is filled with goofy comedy and light melodrama brought to life by an incredible cast of Hong Kong's finest stars: legendary Shaw Brothers' stars Ti Lung and Lui Chia Liang, the latter also recognized in China as a master fight choreographer and the best director working purely in martial arts movies. Cast here as a kind but determined official, Chia Liang manages to deliver the chopsocky goods, despite the fact that he's over sixty years old. There's also plenty of new blood on display here, with rising action stars Chin Kar Lok and Lo Wai Kwong making impressions as a young steel worker and the chief bad guy, respectively. The all-star cast is rounded out by pop stars cum actors: Andy Lau and Anitia Mui, both featured in 1991's Savior of the Soul. Even with all this star power on hand, it's still Jackie Chan that makes the biggest impression: whether he's shamelessly mugging or throwing himself into a bed of fiery coals, he's putting all he's got into every frame of film. The most physical presence in movies today, Chan is willing to put his very life on the line… just to keep you entertained. Despite a couple of uneven scene transitions, Chan and co-director Chai Liang succeed admirably with Drunken Master II, a mammothly entertaining picture that represents the best that the traditional kung fu genre has to offer.