You are currently displaying Big5
少林醉棍 (1983)
Shaolin Drunk Fighter

Reviewed by: Masterofoneinchpunch
Date: 08/21/2013
Summary: He's badly wounded. That's why he's lying here. He's got blood all over him.

When trying to figure out where a film is from it does not help when there is no production company listed and the dub is only in English. I believe because of the locale and since there are several Korean actors it was filmed in South Korea. IMDB has this as a Hong Kong/South Korea coproduction, but since HKFA does not have it listed I would have to imagine that this is wrong (though not impossible since many of the actors had been in Hong Kong films, possibly a Taiwanese coproduction). It does have a listing in the Korean Movie Database, though the film summary is wrong. The amount of bad information on this film around the web is hilarious (wrong years; mixing this up with a Sho Kosugi film; different origin of countries; etc…)

The movie has a boiler plate plot of a hunted individual Huang Chih-yeh (Jacky Liu Hong-yi) whose family was killed by Tiger Kuo (Hau Chiu-sing whose wide cheeks and double chin make him appear much larger than he actually is) who forged Emperor edict and finds refuge in Shaolin temple where he vows revenge on his oppressor, shaves his head and improves his skill (certainly shades of The 36th Chamber of Shaolin and countless other Shaolin films before this). He is taken into the temple by a drunken muscular monk (Chiang Cheng who is apparently in Bey Logan’s Snow Blade) who is adept at the staff (drunken and sober) and rope dart. The monk is not particularly brilliant though as earlier after he literally stumbled over the unconscious body of Huang, he tried to give him alcohol to wake him up.

While our hero Huang becomes a monk and changes his name to Wu Yin, a samurai Lu Shing Yi-pu (Hyeon Kil-su: Shaolin Drunken Monk), who is the best swordsman in Japan according to several sources, is looking to honorably test his skill against any one he can. Earlier Huang had saved the samurai’s life and I will bet that somehow it will mean something later in the film – though not as much as you might think.

It has a couple of hilarious plot issues. Miss Yeda (Guk Jeong-suk: Postman Strikes Back) is a sister of a samurai who has spent a considerable time in the woods (over a year at least) looking for her brother. She has new clothes that never age and are immensely clean including the white portions; she has perfect makeup and hair. The first time she is introduced to the story the other actors look to be stifling a laugh and trying to look incredulous at the absurdity of a Japanese outsider alone in the woods. There is a tease of a relationship later with the main character and I do not think she ever finds her brother. Also Tiger Kuo has to be one of the most forgiving antagonists in the ineptitude of his cohorts. Kuo almost falling for the head monk’s line “there’s nobody here by that name” (dealing with Huang whose name was change) was pretty funny as well. Of course, we do not always watch these films for their storyline.

Random thought: sometimes when I watch mass training sequences in these Shaolin films I see background characters who are much more skilled martial artists than the main actors.

While not a good film in its use of camera, acting, music, under-cranking, and coherent storyline though I like that the samurai and his sister were sympathetic Japanese characters, it does have several good martial artists. There is not much worse in cinema than a low budget martial arts movie with non-martial artists. The swordplay and hand-to-hand skirmishes early on are many but too short and are lacking in choreography and skill especially when you see a three-section staff that makes you yearn for Chris Farley in Beverly Hills Ninja. But it progressively gets better in the last half hour and the almost ten minute action finale comes off well with an unexpected finishing move. Expect the abrupt ending though. This movie is mainly for the dedicated martial arts fan that loves disappearing and reappearing ninjas as much as I do and does not have much else to watch. I have already seen it several times.

The Eastern Heroes copy is a shoddy full-screen release with English dubbing. Dark scenes are quite dark. It has an extra of Bonus Fights of other Eastern Heroes releases (7 Commandments of Kung Fu, Drunken Arts and Crippled Fist, The World of Drunken Master, Snake Deadly Act and Unbeaten 28). I dislike that many of these Ground Zero DVDs do not have disc art or even the movie name. You have to flip it over and check the center circle to see it named as Shaolin Drunken (yes it is missing the full name.) The cover also has an image that is not in the movie with Hau Chiu-sing having shurikens in his eyes (same headband and outfit as in the film.)

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: Gaijin84
Date: 12/21/2008
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