Drunken Master (1978) Poster

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7/10
Fantastic Fun
no-skyline27 January 2006
This is one of the quality films from Jackie's early years made the year after Snake in Eagles Shadow with much of the same cast and crew this built on the comedic style of Kung Fu action that Jackie was to make his own. Of the two films I actually prefer the earlier Snake in.... but its this later film that is more often considered Chan's earliest masterpiece.

This is a more traditional set kung-fu film than the later stunt fests that made his name. The fighting styles on show are unique, inventive and fascinating to watch. The showdowns are impressive and with no trick photography, CG or massive effects fueled blow outs and shows just how good a martial artist Jackie is. The comedy works well and Jackies on screen master is very funny and they spark well off each other as a team.

This is a really good old style kung fu flick fans of Jackies later work such as Rush Hour etc. may not find what their looking for here this is Jackie in one of his most pure kung fu movies. But for anyone who loves martial arts you must see this!! Great entertainment 7/10
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9/10
Just mountains of fun...
fortymilliondaggers11 June 2004
Considered a classic of the kung fu genre, Jackie Chan's Drunken Master is everything I thought a kung fu movie would be: poor acting, worse humour (it's hilarious still ala Neil Hamburger) and superhuman fighting. It just gels so well together that I don't know why I have missed seeing this movie for so long.

The longer the film runs, the more ridiculous it gets yet it doesn't lose sight of the fact that it is to entertain and provide a spectacle. The Matrix boasted great fight scenes but even with their expensive technology, they couldn't beat this little killer from twenty odd years ago.

Essential viewing.
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10/10
The film that propelled Jackie to stardom
AwesomeWolf6 January 2005
I am not very familiar with the true story of Wong Fei Hung. I've read about him before, and from memory, he was an exceptional martial artist (he practiced Hung-Gar) and became a folk-hero to the people of China, much like his father, Wong Kei Ying. So there is the true story, and then there is the 200 or so movies made about him. 'Drunken Master' is one of these.

I haven't seen most of those 200 movies, except for the Drunken Master movies, Jet Li's 'Once Upon a Time in China' series, and 'Iron Monkey'. The 'Once Upon a Time in China' movies and 'Iron Monkey' may be somewhat over-the-top wu xia movies, but they portray Wong Fei Hung as a serious hero. 'Drunken Master' features a very different take on the character.

Jackie Chan's Wong Fei Hung is a rebellious trouble-maker. His father, Wong Kei Ying, has given up on disciplining him, and sends him to his uncle, So Hai, the master of drunken boxing, hoping that a year of training with So Hai will sort Fei Hung out. Fei doesn't seem to learn his lesson until a chance encounter with Thunderfoot (Hwang Jang Lee)...

Story-wise, it is a bit of a standard kung-fu plot. However, in a documentary on Jackie Chan (I can't remember the name, I know that as of this review, it isn't listed on IMDb, but it was shown on SBS in 2003), 'Drunken Master' was mentioned as his breakthrough hit that nearly killed his career: Apparently Chinese viewers were insulted by Jackie's portrayal of Wong Fei Hung and nearly boycotted him when he was just gaining fame as an actor.

Onto more important matters. Like kung-fu. 'Drunken Master' is one of the kung-fu classics. Boosted by the presence of martial-arts star Hwang Jang Lee, this pretty much made or solidified the careers of Jackie Chan and Yuen Woo Ping (in his directorial debut). 'Drunken Master' features some very well choreographed fights and training scenes. 'Drunken Master' is very funny too, and is one of two movies I know where a young main-character gets beaten by an older middle-aged lady (which is always funny, more movies need a scene like this) - the other movie is Battlefield Baseball.

As a matter of interest for Jackie Chan fans: 'Drunken Master' signaled the end of Jackie Chan's work with director Wei Lo. Yay. In fact, the Columbia Tristar DVD release of 'Drunken Master' includes audio commentary by experts on Hong Kong cinema. I will check that out sometime, but it sounds like it would appeal to fans of kung-fu movies. Some more trivia - the latest release doesn't have the complete Cantonese sound track, and so the English dub is used where the Cantonese track is incomplete.

'Drunken Master' features awesome kung-fu scenes, and has some interesting historical perspectives. Ah, kung-fu movies and history, some of my favourite hobbies together at last - 10/10, a must see for any fans of Jackie Chan or kung-fu movies, 'Drunken Master' is kung-fu perfection.
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9/10
not only lives up to legend, it creates it
winner5529 June 2006
It is said that this is the film that made Jackie Chan a star, but that isn't really true, since Snake in Eagle's Shadow actually had a bigger impact at the time, and allowed Chan to make this film. One way we know this is that there are some two dozen films made in the late '70s- early'80's designed to imitate Snake in Eagle's Shadow, and only a couple imitate this film. By the time Drunken Master had become legendary world-wide, the chop-socky cycle (to which it still belongs, to an extent) had passed into history, and Chan himself had abandoned historical 'fu films for contemporary comedy-thrillers.

It should be noted that the idea of making a film based on the early years of Wong Fei Hong was not original to Chan; at roughly the same time this film was being made, well-known martial arts choreographer Liu Chia Leung made a straight (non-comic) version of the story (without drunken boxing) over at Shaw Brothers, Challenge of the Masters, with Gordon Liu as Wong Fei Hung.

The defining moment for the Chan-Yuen version of the film is the use of Drunken Boxing. There is no real evidence that the historical Wong Fei Hung was a master of this style; his more famous innovations involved the development of the shadowless hand technique and the no-shadow kick. Interestingly, in order to highlight Chan's use of Drunken Boxing, these other two techniques, better identified with Wong, are assigned in the film to the villain, "Thunderlegs" played by Hwang Jen Lee.

At any rate, it would not be clear that one could consider this a Wong Fei Hung film at all - if it weren't for the fact that this film effectively redefined the Wong legend, so that it has since become pro-forma to assume that Wong was a bit wild in his youth. (Just to set that record straight, Wong was actually extremely studious, and recognized as a real child-prodigy in the martial arts, winning his first major public duel at the age of thirteen.) Drunken Master is solid martial arts entertainment. There are decided weaknesses in the plot and over-all staging of the film, but these can easily be ignored, as the film thrusts us along with kung fu and comedy to the grand final fight at the end. It must also be noted that these characters - even the villain - are well acted and quite likable and familiar, and thus add a credibility to the film. And Yuen's direction is also very professional and a couple notches above the average for a Hong Kong genre film of the time.

Lives up to its own legend, and well-worth the viewing.
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Jackie Chan's finest hour
Mash khan8 December 2004
This for me is Jackie Chan's finest, and is the film which propelled him to super stardom in Hong Kong. Whilst other martial artists were trying to be the new Bruce Lee, Jackie did something different. Why replace the irreplaceable when you could do something completely different? What Jackie did was introduce slapstick into the Kung Fu formula, the rest as they say is history.

Jackie stars as Freddy Wong aka (Wong Fei Hung) depending upon which dub you watch. A juvenile delinquent with a penchant for feeling up immediate female members of his family. His father, fed up of his delinquency hires Sam Seed aka The Drunken Master to teach him some discipline as well as his secret fighting style. Naturally the two get off on the wrong foot but learn to respect each other as the film goes on whilst of course getting into the obligatory scrapes and japes. There is of course a villain of the piece in this case its the Tae Kwan Do master Hwang Jan Lee as the underworld assassin "Thunderfoot" who in real life was just as badass as he is in the film.

So it's all pretty derivative then? Well yes and no. There is a genuine rapport between Jackie and Yu Su Tien as pupil and teacher. The martial arts is brilliantly choreographed and inventive (the scene in the restaurant is probably my favourite) and the whole thing has a "joie de vivre". Watching it, it seems to me that the actors had a ball making the film. Which is just as well as I had a ball watching it.
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9/10
Two Thumbs Up, and Kicking the Crap Out of You, Like a Drunk...
Thomas Hardcastle31 May 2008
What a wonderful film. This film has to rank amongst Chan's ultimate. There are so many incredible fights in this film, that you will certainly feel you're getting your money's worth.

The action is entertaining and beautiful. The comedy is rich and memorable.

I love the different factors that make a Hong Kong movie what it is. One of these factors is the quick zoom out from a shocked face, to the completed action. My favourite of these is in the restaurant, when Yuen Woo Ping's father laughs, then stops, as a fist comes into shot. The punch is blocked, and the camera zooms out, for the rest of the moves in the take. It's wonderful to watch, as it adds personality to the film, and tells you, "I'm from seventies Hong Kong, and I'm not gonna change for you!" Overall, one of my favourite films, and definitely one of Jackie's best.
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Jackie Chan's finest hour
Mash khan3 December 2004
This for me is Jackie Chan's finest, and is the film which propelled him to super stardom in Hong Kong. Whilst other martial artists were trying to be the new Bruce Lee, Jackie did something different. Why replace the irreplaceable when you could do something completely different? What Jackie did was introduce slapstick into the Kung Fu formula, the rest as they say is history.

Jackie stars as Freddy Wong aka (Fong Sai Yuk) depending upon which dub you watch. A juvenile delinquent with a penchant for feeling up immediate female members of his family. His father, fed up of his delinquency hires Sam Seed aka The Drunken Master to teach him some discipline as well as his secret fighting style. Naturally the two get off on the wrong foot but learn to respect each other as the film goes on whilst of course getting into the obligatory scrapes and japes. There is of course a villain of the piece in this case its the Tae Kwan Do master Hwang Jan Lee as the underworld assassin "Thunderfoot" who in real life was just as badass as he is in the film.

So it's all pretty derivative then? Well yes and no. There is a genuine rapport between Jackie and Yu Su Tien as pupil and teacher. The martial arts is brilliantly choreographed and inventive (the scene in the restaurant is probably my favourite) and the whole thing has a "joie de vivre". Watching it, it seems to me that the actors had a ball making the film. Which is just as well as I had a ball watching it.
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Classic Chan
gwerq17 March 1999
This is my favourite jackie chan film. It's one of the funniest films i've ever seen. It starts with a fight and ends with one,so the action crowd won't be disappointed! Plus it contains the funniest scenes chan has ever put on film,such as the taunting of his idiotic teacher and the horror of realising the woman who he picks a fight with is his auntie!Brilliant.
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10/10
Simply Jackie Chan at his finest
rustala10 June 2005
I don't have masses to say about this film, other than this by far Jackie Chan's finest hour. From the slapstick comedy and facial expression he always pulls out the bag, to the quite incredible feats of strength and endurance. There's not wires and extra stunt men, what you see is what you get! If you never see another Jackie Chan film see this. It's a shame he's taken so long to crack the mainstream, I've been a fan for years. I enjoy some of his more mainstream too, don't get me wrong, but if only western audiences were more familiar with his work 2 years ago, then perhaps he wouldn't have resulted in selling himself out for such films as the medallion.

If you liked this then check out some more of his back catalogue, a few personal favourites being 'police story' and rumble in the Bronx.

Long live the kung-fu master that is...
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10/10
I wish I could fight Drunken fist Style.
Baker-635 August 2007
This movie is easily one of Jackie's best, even if it is one of his first roles where he plays a significant part. The fighting was amazing, and the training sessions with the red nosed master were funny as hell. I don't see Jackie complaining as much as he did as his character, but that didn't hurt it too bad.

The only thing I didn't like about this movie was in the English dub, they refer Wong Fei-Hung as "Freddy Hung". Seriously, Freddy?! That doesn't even sound like a name a martial artist would have! The kid that got his father knocked down also kind of irked me, as his voice sounded like it was being done by a older guy trying to imitate a kids voice. It just doesn't work.

The movie also had some kind of annoying sound effects, as was accustomed to older kung-fu movies. That loud whip-cracking noise whenever someone threw a blow, or got it blocked or hit someone. And there was also that wind cutting noise whenever someone threw a strike or moved their hands or feet. Besides these little annoyances, this was a great movie.

I actually tried to see if there were teachers that could teach me Drunken Boxing, but I found out the style can take many years to learn as it requires much former training in previous martial arts.
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