Shaolin Drunk Fighter (1983)
Reviewed by: Gaijin84 on 2008-12-21
Summary: Could have been polished up...
Shaolin Drunk Fighter looks to be a rare mainland Chinese/Korean collaboration. Huang Chih Yeh (Jacky Liu) is the son of a general whose family has been ordered to be killed. Before this can be accomplished by the Imperial Guards, Huang escapes with the help of a couple of his father's closest protectors. Eventually, the guards catch up and dispose of his men, but Huang escapes by hurling himself over a cliff. He is discovered by a monk (Chiang Cheng), and brought back to the Shaolin temple where he explains his situation. The temple decides to take him in, and he starts to learn the secrets of Shaolin kung fu. Meanwhile, Tiger Kuo (Hau Chiu-Sing), the warlord that ordered the death of Huang's family, has grown tired of the guards mistakes and hires three ninjas to complete the job. Joining the fray is a samurai (Hyeon Kil-Su) that is traveling the countryside, looking for the greatest fighters to challenge his fighting art. Eventually the ninjas, the guards and the samurai track down Huang (who has taken on the name Wu Yin) and fight him and the drunken monk to the end.

With a good action director, this movie probably could have been better than it was. All the main stars seem to be wushu and Shaolin kung fu trained, but the fights are not choreographed or shot well enough for it to be effective on-screen. Almost all the fights are weapons-based, but the actors almost seem to be doing the scenes with 75% of their possible speed, nervous about actually making contact with the other participant. Unfortunately, there is no sense that if one actually hit the other with a strike that any damage would be done. When you lose this sense of danger, the action simply tends to become boring. The unfortunate inclusion of stereotypically bad ninjas brings the movie down another notch. These are ninjas from the vein of early 80's Richard Harrison/Godfrey Ho disasters; the smoke bomb throwing, disappearing and colorful outfit wearing ninjas. Any scene they're in is instantly forgettable. The only interesting addition is Hyeon Kil-Su's samurai, who may be the only honorable Japanese character I've seen in a mainland film. Simply not worth the time to watch, especially for someone wanting to see good drunken boxing.

Reviewer Score: 3