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Drunken Master II (1994)

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[Movie Reviews]


-Jackie Chan
-Anita Mui
-Ti Lung


Jackie comes to New York to visit his Uncle, who is getting married. His uncle owns a convenience shop in the Bronx, but decides to sell it to a new owner (Anita Mui). Jackie has an unfortunate run-in with a local street gang and soon becomes the target of their aggression, much of which is taken out on the store, as he is helping the new owner. Soon enough, the gang accidentally gets caught up in a jewel heist with some professional criminals and Jackie will have to sort everything out.


This is one of the films that shows how my standards have changed since I have gotten more and more into HK cinema. When I first started out just watching Jackie Chan films, just about anything (short of The Protector) would amuse me. Now, after seeing the depth and quality that can be had in HK's vast library of films, I find some of Jackie's films a lot more immature. Nonetheless, few of them are actually "bad". Rumble in the Bronx fits this situation well. It is a pretty ridiculous movie and, despite some adult content (blood and language), is very immature. But, at some level it provides an amusing diversion for most people. It survives solely as a "mindless fun" film.

The plot.... well, it's downright ridiculous. Ok, so the uncle sells his store, Jackie helps the new owner. Okay. He gets on the bad side of some thugs. Okay.... aside from how ridiculous the thugs themselves are. But, now this somehow gets turned into a stolen jewel thing with a major organized crime group? Now we're stretching it. Of course, all the thugs and all the criminals have ridiculous, beyond cartoony personalities. There is a little romance thrown in for good measure, but it's kind of "blech". It feels forced and adds nothing.

There is some reasonable comedy here, thanks to Jackie and Anita Mui. It's certainly not on the level of some of the better comic works from the two (namely their work together in Drunken Master II) and is a bit more immature, but it has its moments. In particular, I laughed quite hard as Anita Mui catches Jackie popping pimples in a one-way mirror. But, Anita doesn't exactly bust out the timeless comic performance we saw in Drunken Master II.

Action is the number one reason to watch this film. Again, this is no Drunken Master II or Police Story, but we see a number of amusing fight and chase scenes. There is plenty of Jackie's trademark environment usage to be had, lending more to the comic atmosphere. The biggest disappointment, though, is the end action scene. Likely due to Jackie's injury during filming, the end of the film is just lame and devoid of any real fighting. This ends the film on a kind of "eh..." note and kills any excitement the film might promise.

So, take this film for what you will. It's a brainless action/comedy that you will likely keep on if you catch it on TV, but shouldn't go out of your way to see. It's not one of Jackie's best movies, but it's not unwatchable either.


-Lau Kar-Leung


-Original Cantonese language.