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Drunken Master II (1994)

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Starring:

-Jackie Chan
-Anita Mui
-Ti Lung

Synopsis:

Jackie Chan reprises his role as the young Wong Fei Hung. After a trip with his father, Fei Hung tries to mix up their ginseng package with some of the British consulate's packages, to avoid paying duties. When Fei Hung goes to retrieve it, he finds another man also trying to grab a package. It turns out that Fei Hung's package got mixed up and now he has a traditional Chinese artifact, which the consulate will soon try and retrieve. Soon, he learns of a ploy some foreigners have to take these Chinese artifacts for their own purposes, while at the same time hurting local steel workers that work for them. Though his father tells him not to use his drunken boxing, he may have to resort to it as he faces conflicts with these people.

Review:

This is one of Jackie's most celebrated movies, and not without good reason. First of all, it was his return to a more traditional period kung fu film in over a decade. Additionally, this film promised (and delivered) some of the most extravagent and intense Jackie fight scenes ever. That is not to ignore the humor, though, which is as much of a draw to this film as anything. With the amazing fight scenes and a great sense of humor, this film has rightfully turned out to be one of Jackie's best films, as well as one of the most revered martial arts films of all time.

Comparisons to its predecessor are inevitable, but let it be known that Drunken Master 2 is entirely new experience of its own. It shares the characters and drunken boxing with the original, but has its own style and sense of humor. Drunken Master 2 takes place some unspecified (but not terribly long) time after the original. Fei Hung already knows drunken boxing, but has been warned by his father not to use it and not to drink. Fei Hung is a little less mischevious and more attentive to his father's rules now, though he still finds his share of trouble. As one might expect, this share of trouble is what gets him into his situation in this film and will determine how things go for Fei Hung.

Once again, this film is a comedy. In fact, it should be viewed almost as much as comedy as a martial arts film. The comedy in this is a little less goofy and slapsticky than its predecessor (though drunken boxing always makes for a few slapstick gags). There are no goofy blunt-side-of-the-sword gags or quick-talking from Fei Hung. Rather, its a slightly more refined comedy. Fei Hung's mouth and ego get him into some situations where he gets to try keep himself cool while at a disadvantage. Anita Mui, though, may be the true shining star of the comedy. The faces she makes and the way she hams it up on that screen are just classic. It is hard to get enough of all her little side comments she gets to make, especially when she changes tone abruptly. Between her and Jackie, the comedy here is priceless and worth as many rewinds as the fight scenes.

Of course, the fight scenes are the other major star of the film. Believe the hype - these scenes are amazing. Even the non-drunken boxing scenes have an amazing amount of intricacy in the choreography combined with a quick pace that doesn't look obviously undercranked (though it probably is). Ken Lo's swift kicks are a sight to behold as his legs move almost too fast to follow, and the hits come through as hard as they should. The drunken boxing, of course, is what everyone really wants to see. Again, just amazing. The same intricacy, but with all the gags of drunken boxing. This time, Jackie seems a lot looser as he performs the drunken moves, and the choreography works well with it. Just watch as he twists, turns, and hits the opponents while finding time to drink inbetween. Of course, the different drunken styles are there too, and even get joked at in the dialogue.

Drunken Master II is really the movie it is made out to be. It sets itself apart from so many other kung fu movies, and not because of its (admittedly not amazing) plot. It sets itself apart on its unique style and on the merits of its memorable comedy and amazing fight scenes. Anita Mui and Jackie Chan are both very appealing in the film, which really sells the parts and brings the film together. This film should definitely sit on every respectable film collector's shelf. It is not every day that we see such an amazing film that blends comedy and action so perfectly.

Director:

-Lau Kar-Leung

Language/Cuts:

-Original Cantonese language.

Grade:

A

Pictures: