Jackie Chan can be so entertaining doing what he does best, martial arts and physical comedy. He has no problem throwing himself into his action scenes where he fights off his opponents with usual ease. In The Legend of Drunken Master he does both, very well and a lot. This is my favorite Jackie Chan movie.
I came across this at the library when I was bored. They had a huge video collection for check out so I got it cause I knew Jackie Chan and hadn't seen it yet. It did get a theatrical release in the states in late 2000, but the movie actually debuted overseas in 1994.
Jackie Chan much as he did roughly 20 years before plays Chinese folk hero Wong Fe Hung and is a practictionor of the art of Drunken Boxing, an offbeat fighting technique that utilizes unorthadox methods and training and for the student to be drunk off his a$$ to perform. The idea is that your body becomes looser and more tolerant of pain when drunk but as his stubborn and strict father points out, it can lead to many drunken boxers to become drunken fools if your not careful. Fe Hung is travelling with his father, a doctor to transport some Ginsing home on a train while smugglers are attempting to steal Chinese artifacts when they get home they find the smugglers are up to no good and Chan and his friends must find out whats going on.
Fe Hung is a pretty normal guy who knows people around town, his mothers friends, people at the market. The dad is pretty stern. He does care for Fe Hung but isn't afraid of spoiling the rod to teach some discipline to his reckless son. The mom is pretty free spirited with her gambling and recreation. I think it's funny that since Chan is playing the same character he did years ago, he clearly aged but the character isn't supposed to have aged as much making his dead only a little older then Chan andhis mother is YOUNGER. Chan as always is great in his action scenes. That brings me to the two villians.
One is Ho Sung Pak who I honestly only know from his appearances in the first two Mortal Kombat games, the actor digitzied as Liu Kang. He battles Chan a couple of times in the movie but the guy you need to look out for is John, played by Ken Lo. After seeing this movie I HAD to know who this guy was. A multiple time kick boxing champion in Thailand, an Asian action star in his own right and Jackie Chans former body guard. YES this is the guy who used to keep Jackie Chan safe in real life at one point. Woe to those who thought they would try and hurt Chan as this guy would fillet you with his feet. Ken Lo is SCARY in his martial arts ability being able to balance himself on one foot and repeatedly pummel you do death with the other. He's a smug snake in the film and the finale has Wong Fe Hung fighting John in a steel mill and it's fantastic.
ANY of the fight scenes in this movie are memorable and great and they save the best for last as I said above.
The acting? This is a martial arts movie. It's a framework to put fighting and action scenes on, but as long as you mention it, this movie was released in the States as "Legend of Drunken Master" overseas, it's "Drunken Master 2" when released over here in the US it got a dub slapped on it with altered sound effects where the kicking and punching sound effects are noramlly more comical, like snare drums. The hitting, sounds like hitting, but the dub........is hysterical. Jackie Chan isn't too bad since he's dubbing over himself but man o man, the rest of the cast gets butched with silly voices especially Anita Mui (RIP) as Fe Hung's mom. Lets watch a great action scene to demonstrate both the awesome fighting and horrifing dubbing.
Emotionally? It hurt seeing Fe Hung chastized by his father at times as well as the scene where the villians humiliate Fe Hung in town but the rest of the movie is pretty fun and exciting. You came for martial arts, you'll get it with this one.
A +5 all the way. It's an Asian Martial Arts movie which to me means it should have plenty of martial arts action and this movie does. Chan has plenty of other movies that I haven't seen yet. It'll be hard to try and top this one that I've had cemented in my mind for a while as his best but damn it if it's not going to be fun to watch them and find out how they stack up.
What did you think of this review?