at the Hong Kong Film Awards 1995:
Best Action Choreography (Lau Kar-Leung)
Nomination at the Hong Kong Film Awards 1995:
Best Film Editing (Peter Cheung)
at the Taiwan Golden Horse Awards 1994:
Best Martial Arts Direction (Lau Kar-Leung)
It took 15 years but in 1994 fans of Jackie Chan finally got
to see a sequel to one of the most loved entries in his filmography
and what a sequel it ended up being! You don't have to have
seen the original to enjoy this one. It's the character of
Wong Fei-Hung that is the same but other than that it stands
on it's own as a movie.
The director of the first one, Yuen Woo-Ping was asked to
come back and direct Drunken Master II but had to decline
due to schedule conflicts. Instead legendary martial arts
director and actor Lau Kar-Leung was brought onboard to helm
the directing duties. He ultimately left the project without
finishing the film due to an disagreement with the producers
over his vision of the film. The remaining bits were directed
by Jackie himself but the result is still breathtaking.
plays Wong Fei-Hung, the master of "Drunken Boxing"
but his father (Ti Lung) is not approving of his sons use
of this technique since it involves excessive drinking. By
coincidence Wong Fei-Hung comes in the possession of an ancient
Chinese artifact, an event which reveals a plan where ancient
Chinese artifacts are smuggled out of Hong Kong by the British.
As a cover for this they use a steel factory which will later
be the centre stage for the most exciting and best end fight
Do I dare call this the best martial arts movie ever made?
Of the actually few I've seen...yes. Personally I even think
it beats the Yuen Biao classic Prodigal Son, but not
by much. Even if the sequences sans fighting in Drunken
Master II were boring (which they're not) , I would still
love this film. The story is nothing new or original but is
serviceable for a genremovie like this one. It's merely an
excuse to throw in some of THE best fights in a Jackie Chan
movie ever. Jackie showed that he still had it as a fighter
but as usual he does well in the comedic aspect of the story
also. It's mostly your typical Hong Kong slapstick but it's
funny and works thanks to the wonderful cast of characters
in the Wong family.
Lung (Blood Brothers & Spiritual Boxer) was one
of the big stars during the kung fu-boom in the 70s but his
career also rejuvenated in 1986 when he was cast in John Woos
classic A Better Tomorrow. Here he plays it totally
straight and serious but it works as a mirror against the
comedy and he also displays a nice dignity and authority in
his role. I've seen Ti Lung play better characterparts but
seeing him in a period kung fu-movie is always a pleasure
regardless of the characterdepth.
Anita Mui showed a nice comedic flair in Miracles and
she carries that with her in the wacky role of Wong Fei-Hungs
mom. Not only is she very beautiful but also quite funny in
various scenes throughout the movie. Among the highlights
is her introductory scene as well as her interplay with her
son during the big town square fight. The script has a few
serious scenes which are also handled well by Anita.
elderly director Lau Kar-Leung has a supporting part and he
is also involved in some of the movies more complex fight
scenes. He carries himself very well showing no apparent signs
of being out of shape and seeing him battle Jackie under the
train as well as the short bout with Ti Lung is truly amazing
for fans. In a cameo we also see Andy Lau play a part which
he would later reprise in Drunken Master III.
real star of this show is of course Jackie and his suberb
display of "Drunken Boxing". He was already good
at it in 1979 but here it's just astounding what we get to
witness. What makes the fight scenes so good here is it's
ferocity and most of all the length of the fights. It's amazing
to see such complex fights put together while trying to maintain
the flow and a high entertainment factor. I'm sure the awardwinning
editor Peter Cheung played a large part in these aspects too.
I remember a quote about this movie saying that it had jaw
dropping action scenes. For once, I totally agree.
good thing about the fights is also that it's mostly groundbased
with wires only extensively being used in the end. Other than
that they're used to enhance the fights rather than making
them totally unbelievable. During this era the flying kung
fu-choreography was very popular and credit has to go out
to the filmmakers for going somewhat against the current trend.
The movies climax has been talked about ever since the movies
release. Many will argue that it is THE best end fight ever
but I'm too much of a chicken to agree with that statement
so I'll say it's the best Jackie Chan end fight ever. I was
aware of Ken Lo's acclaim as a screenfighter but that he was
THIS good, I couldn't believe. I won't go into details but
I will say that the hype surrounding Jackie Chan vs. Ken Lo
in Drunken Master II is true! A mention must also go
to the sets and photography which are all of high standard
and has the feeling of those 1970s martial arts adventures.
could talk about Drunken Master II all day but to summarize
I have to say that it's now my favourite Jackie Chan film
and a genuine classic in the genre of martial arts movies.
I bought the vcd version because I wanted to see
this movie in it's original uncut form. The Disney dvd release
is dubbed and has one scene cut out of it and the Hong Kong
dvd is cropped from it's original aspect ratio. The VCD is
correctly presented in 2.35:1 widescreen with Cantonese language
(plus Mandarin on the other audio track) and English subtitles.
The print itself has a number of specks but fewer than I expected
actually. Pixelation was more present in the beginning parts
of the film but kept to a minimum throughout. The colours
are murky and detail is quite weak but it was still a good
way to watch this movie.
The mono Cantonese track was nothing to praise but it did
it's job and dialogue and music sounded ok.
The English subtitles were of pretty good quality spelling
wise but the font used was a little too wide which made them
slightly hard to read at times. You could easily follow what
was going on though.
This vcd release is now out of print and replaced by a version
that is missing the final scene. I'm not sure if that even
has English subtitles either, so go for this version, if you
can find it.
reviewed by Kenneth
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