The Legend of Drunken Master
1994, R, 101 min. Directed by Lui Chia Liang, Jackie Chan. Starring Jackie Chan, Anita Mui, Ti Lung, Lui Chia Liang, Andy Lau, Chin Kar Lok.
REVIEWED By Joey O'Bryan, Thu., Oct. 19, 2000
[Originally released worldwide in Chinese under the American title Drunken Master II, this Jackie Chan classic has been renamed The Legend of Drunken Master and dubbed into English for this re-release.] Jackie Chan scores a ballistic home run with this sequel to his 1979 Hong Kong 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 mixup 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 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 20-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. Still, it’s Jackie Chan who 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 Lui Chai Liang succeed admirably with this mammothly entertaining picture that represents the best that the traditional kung fu genre has to offer.