Drunken Master (1978)
Reviewed by: dragyn on 2001-03-24
Summary: Kung Fu Comedy To Die For
Up until 1978, Chan made movies for Lo Wei Studios, and although he churned out movie after movie, he never had a single hit. Then his boss loaned him out to another studio, Seasonal Films, and he had two hits straight off. These hits came in the shape of "Snake In The Eagle's Shadow" and "Drunken Master", and they were made under the direction of the now legendary Yuen Woo Ping, who went on to choreograph the fight scenes in films such as "The Matrix" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon".

Both "Snake In The Eagle's Shadow" and "Drunken Master" broke a seemingly unbreakable mould. Since Bruce Lee's death in 1973, the Hong Kong movie industry had been searching for a new Bruce Lee, and as yet, no one had been able to fill his shoes. Chan himself had been shoe-horned into those shoes many times, and they didn't fit him either. He wanted to be famous for being the first Jackie Chan - not the next Bruce Lee. The only way he would be able to do it would be to come out with a comletely new style of Kung Fu movie - as different from Lee's distinctive style as possible.

With his two films with Seasonal Films, he finally realised his goal. He created a unique blend of action and comedy that had never been seen before. Hong Kong audiences saw him as Jackie Chan for the first time, as apposed to Jackie Chan trying to be Bruce Lee.

So "Drunken Master" is important because it is the movie that broke a mould no one though would be broken. It is also important because it is one of the finest Kung Fu movies ever made. The plot is as flimsy as can be expected, but Chan himself shines throughout, delivering his now trademark comedy scenes with ease, and his fight scenes with even greater ease.

The legendary end fight sees the rubbery Chan pitted against the awesome kicking talent of Korean Teakwondo exponenent Hwang Jang Lee. Chan is elastic, fast, and funny - unbeatable!

"Drunken Master" is now considered to be a true classic; the yardstick by which every other Kung Fu movie us measured.