There comes a time in every persons life when they have an epiphany so mind-blowing, it forever alters her life, causing them to grow up far quicker than he or she expected too. My time came when I was a little boy, with the realization that Bruce Lee isn’t the greatest martial artist on screen the movie world has ever seen. No, in my opinion the infamous Drunken Master was the most exciting and best overall martial arts movie I have ever seen. To this day, it is still unmatched. It is my favorite Jackie Chan movie, it is my favorite martial arts movie, period. Period.
Jackie plays Wong Fei-Hung, a youth whose father teaches kung fu at the family’s school. Based on a real person, Fei-Hung is a master of “drunken boxing,” a rare martial art form whose practitioners act drunk to give them an advantage in combat. Acting drunk, they say, gives you more flexibility and the element of surprise. In this film, the form seems to work even better if you actually are a little drunk — not too drunk, but just enough to make you bolder and take away some of the pain. In this almost plot-overloaded movie, Wong Fei Hung (played by Jackie Chan), is constantly clowning around instead of learning Kung Fu, his father sends him to live with and study under his uncle.
Sober, Fei-Hung is good; but to do Drunken Boxing the way it needs to be done, he has to get good and toasted, which he does on more than one occasion. And what commences are some of the outright funniest skits and amazing martial arts scenes I’ve ever seen in one movie. This film has some of the most intricate, creative, and beautiful one on one fighting choreography you will ever witness. It’s also very funny and Jackie’s at the peak of his skills and charisma here.
You’re probably wondering why I haven’t touched on the plot that much. This film is a nice little piece of “leave the story out of it” filming. From the very beginning we get to see Jackie Chan fight a local martial arts teacher, and the action and comedy doesn’t let up until the credits role. However, it should be stressed that Drunken Master is about as B-rate as it gets in films. The original Cantonese audio track is also incomplete and has been dubbed over in English. Despite the film’s over-all poor quality, Drunken Master accomplishes the one thing it set out to do: entertain. I suggest you stop reading this review, watch the AMAZING youtube clip provided, and seek out this film. It’s one of the classics.