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"The Legend of Drunken Master"

Directed by Chia-Liang Liu.
Written by Edward Tang, Man-Ming Tong and Kai-Chi Yun.
Starring Jackie Chan.
Release Year:  1994 
Review Date:  10/29/00 


Sometimes I get the urge to burn some cash at the local multiplex, so I will just go over to the theater and see whatever is showing within 10 minutes of my arrival.  Tonight's choice:  dubbed Jackie Chan movie!  Go kicky fast!

"The Legend of Drunken Master," like some of the other recent Jackie Chan pictures released here in the States, was actually released across the Pacific years ago but had the sound remixed and shipped here to the US.  Like many of the other imports--including "Supercop", "Supercop 2", "Twin Dragons", "Mr. Nice Guy", "Operation Condor", "Crime Story", and of course, "Rumble in the Bronx"--these movies have been reasonably light on story and heavy on stunt-coordinated action.  This time around, Jackie plays the son of a drunken boxing master that gets mixed up with some large crime syndicate that has something to do with a steel mill and a ridiculously bad white guy syndicate leader.  (I could tell you more about the plot, but if you are like me, you could give a rat's toukas about what the "story" is about in a Jackie Chan film.)

Anyway, the great thing about reviewing Jackie Chan pictures is you only have to review one thing:  the fight scenes.  And, I am happy to report that they are pretty spectacular here.  Jackie and his little team of coordinators have come up with some pretty interesting fight scenes in this film, and they are almost all based around the lead character's strange ability to become an even more skillful fighter after he has had mass quantities of booze.  I don't think I have ever seen so much fighting in the drunken style before this film, so a lot of this was new to me and it looks pretty hilarious with Jackie performing the moves.  The end fight scene is sweet, too, as Jackie gets obliterated (i.e., bombed, trashed, sloppy, or Dave Bell's newest phrase, "nice") and then proceed to whoop the living hell out of the two main bad guys.  Jackie also gets himself pretty messed up physically during the movie as he falls through a lot of tables, boxes, floors and other wooden objects, in addition to getting set on fire three or four times before having to crawl through fire-laden coals.  Jackie is in his mid-40s now and these movies have got to be numbered for him, so why not show us his old catalog of movies? 

The report for this one is simple:  if you like Jackie Chan movies and have not seen this one before its re-release (I would assume that is most of you!), check this one out.  It is a good Jackie Chan movie...which means, it is good at showing us a limber, athletic man perform acrobatics at a high level, with some light comic relief between fight scenes.  Those looking for a movie that has more than one important character, a storyline, beautiful sets, sex scenes, a hip 20-something cast, Oscar-quality acting or a Limp Bizkit-laced soundtrack would do best to look elsewhere.

Rating:  $8.25 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09