Seminal martial arts movie which capitalised on Jackie Chan's overnight success in 'Snake In the Eagle's Shadow' and firmly heralded the arrival of a new genre, comedy-kung fu. Chan apparently contributed re-writes to much of the film, notably the hilarious climatic 'Eight Drunken Fairies' fight sequence. Wong Fei Hung (Chan) is sent to train under his Uncle, a wine-guzzling master famous for crippling his students. Desperate to escape this brutal teacher's regime Fei Hung runs away but is confronted and beaten senseless by a hired assassin (Hwang Jang Lee). Angry and ashamed Fei Hung is forced to return to his drunken master.
Though it wasn't Jackie Chan's first film, Drunken Master is the film that cemented his stardom. Jackie plays the rebellious son of a kung fu master. To teach Jackie the value of discipline, his father apprentices him to another master named So Hi, who has a unique "drunken" fighting style. Jackie chafes at So Hi's rigorous exercises and runs away--only to be brutally humiliated at the hands of a hired killer named Thunderleg. Chastened, Jackie becomes So Hi's devoted student. He soon discovers he will need everything he's learned when Thunderleg is hired to kill his father. In Drunken Master, Jackie is only beginning to cultivate his mixture of action and comedy; here the emphasis is on kung fu acrobatics, but the moves are astounding. The final fight is dizzying and amazingly choreographed by director Yuen Woo-ping (now famous as the fight choreographer for The Matrix). --Bret Fetzer
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