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"The Original Kung Fu Comedy!"

Drunken Master is a 1978 comedy and martial arts motion picture starring Hong Kong actors Jackie Chan, Yun Siu-tien (Simon Yuen) and Hwang Jang Lee. This film is a fictional story about legendary Chinese figure Wong Fei Hung, and set when he was a teenager. Fei Hung (or Freddie in the English-dubbed version) was a very mischievous young man and often got into trouble. He was delinquent in his studies and often played pranks on others. Fed up, his father, Kei Ying arranges for him to be trained under his friend, Beggar So (Sam Seed in other versions). He is renowned both for his martial art style, "Drunken Fist" as well as his alleged penchant for over-training students to the point where they become crippled. While running away from home to avoid his “punishment”, Fei Hung still inadvertently meets Beggar So (dressed up as a beggar no less), and begins his training.

The story is of the typical Hong Kong martial arts theme prevalent in the late 70’s. The lead character originally isn’t very good at fighting, ends up being humiliated, learns Kung Fu, and then takes revenge. In spite of there being characters who actually existed in real life, there is no event in the movie that can be considered as factual. The only factual components in this story are that Fei Hung and Kei Ying are paternally related and that Kei Ying and Beggar So are friends. So and Kei Ying belong to the then-renowned martial arts group called the Ten Tigers of Canton. So is actually historically known for his “Drunken Fist” style.

The main attractions of the film are the comedic and serious action scenes. The final fight itself is almost 10 minutes long. These fight scenes are dated by today’s standards, but still choreographed well. The athleticism of the lead actors, Jackie Chan and Hwang Jang Lee are very evident (Hwang portrays Fei Hung’s enemy, Thunderleg). Chan’s flexibility is quite noticeable, especially during the training sequences. In one memorable scene, he hangs upside-down, holds a teacup in each hand, scoops water from pails on the ground, and then pours the water in a pail above. He is essentially doing sit-ups while hanging by his feet. The “Drunken Fist” style, supposedly deadly, is also meant to be humorous. In the story, one had to be actually drunk to execute the techniques correctly; of all 8 styles, one is female. This is an example of the vintage Jackie Chan films that popularized the comedic martial arts film genre.

PG-13
| 1978 | 1 hr 51 min | 7.6/10
Cast
Jackie Chan, Siu Tin Yuen, Jung-Lee Hwang, Dean Shek
Studio
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Director
Woo-ping Yuen, Yuen Wo-Ping
Language
English
Ad
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