For the first time ever, the classic Jackie Chan kung-fu masterpiece The Legend of Drunken Master (or Drunken Master II) will be available in the original uncut Cantonese with English subtitles. It’d be a mistake of a lifetime to miss out on quite possibly your only chance to ever see this film on the big screen.
Director Lau Kar-leung’s Drunken Master II (1994), a sequel to the 1978 film Drunken Master and co-directed by Chan, wasn’t released in the United States until 2000. The version released here went by the title The Legend of Drunken Master, and, per the usual studio mandates, saw a few forced edits to make the film more palatable to the American audience. With only two notable changes, the revisions were comparatively minor in number compared to its prequel and “sequels,” although they completely change the arc of Wong Fei-hung (Jackie Chan), the main character and drunken boxer alluded to by the title (though, “the Master” really refers to a character in the original film).
As promised, Wong’s martial art of choice is called “drunken boxing,” which to comedic effect imitates the sloppy, rhythmless moves of a drunkard—though his father, a doctor, (Wong Kei-ying, played by the sturdy and respectable Ti Lung) disapproves of the style for its habit of encouraging alcoholism. Usually, Wong doesn’t require the aid of the substance itself: he’s a good enough fighter on his own right. But as Wong fights wasted on occasion, the almost calculatedly defensive nature of the style—which is even commented upon by one of his early opponents—becomes more recognizable as a drunken capade, more like a college frat boy brawl or a heated argument about the ball game turned fisticuffs.
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