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on October 19, 2008
This film, Come Drink with Me (Great Drunken Hero), is one of my favorite Asian movies, and I think it is perhaps comparable to Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai in terms of its contribution to the evolution of East Asian movies during the 1950s-1970s. I first saw this movie in either 1966 or 1967 at a movie theatre in the Far East, and recently I've seen it many more times on this DVD. The storyline takes place during the Ming Dynasty (either the 15th or the 16th century) in China's Two-River Province. The heroine Zhang, also known as Jin Yan Zi (meaning Golden Swallow), tries to rescue her older brother, the head prosecutor of the province, from captivity by the Five-Tiger Bandits. At the same time, a drunken beggar and martial-arts master Fan, called Da-Bei (meaning Big Drink), has to face the monk Liao Kung (Diao Jintang), his sworn older brother from the same Kung-fu league, to keep the Green Bamboo Pole that symbolizes the leadership of the Green Bamboo League. These two subplots merge together to become the overall story of this film: with the help of the drunken master, Zhang gets her brother back by destroying the ruthless bandits, and the evil-minded wushu master Diao, who turns out to be the real leader of the bandits, is also defeated by Fan in the final battle.

The story line appears somewhat simple, but it is meaningful in a sense that a wuxia story is told in a traditional Chinese way. The film is composed of beautifully choreographed sword fight sequences, seasoned with a subtle undertone of a romantic (although platonic) relationship between Zhang and Fan. The carefully designed costumes representing the Ming Dynasty period, combined with the Beijing opera style music embedded in the early part of the movie, give the impression of being in genuine traditional Chinese scenes. The three songs sung by the drunken master in the inn, with background chorus and music performance by ten beggar children, enhance the exotic nature of the film. The first song introduces Fan himself, by revealing his view of life as a vagabond and a beggar, suggesting that life is momentary and empty, fame and fortune are meaningless, and all the sorrows of life can be forgotten by drinking. The second song describes Fan's concern about the current perilous situation of the Two-River Province under the rule of lawless bandits. The third song shows his intention to help Zhang rescue her brother, by providing a hint for Zhang to decode regarding the location where her brother is being held by the bandits. An additional genuine Chinese element of this film is that the two masters of martial arts (Fan and Diao) possess and use a mystical power (ch'i kung) in battle, which commonly emerges in many Chinese wuxia novels. I like the slow pace of the sword fighting in the movie, much better choreographed than the battle scenes seen in many later wuxia films where the super-fast sword fighting sequences give the impression of being fake, artificial, and robotic.

While living in the Far East during the1960s, I became addicted to Chinese movies and saw over two dozen films (mostly dramas, epic and fantasy films by the Shaw Brothers). These included four wuxia films: Great Drunken Hero (Come Drink with Me), Dragon Gate Inn, One-Armed Swordsman, and Golden Swallow, in chronological order. While all these four wuxia films are interesting, Great Drunken Hero is the best made, and in my opinion far superior to over-hyped modern successes in the West, such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. With the role of heroine Zhang in this movie, Cheng Pei-Pei obtained fame almost comparable to that of superstar Li Ching among movie-goers in East Asia during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The quality of this DVD is very good, including well-restored sharp images, in light of the fact that the film is more than forty years old. Having seen this movie in different versions with subtitles in English and other languages, I think the English subtitles in this DVD are clear and straightforward. Personally I don't like to watch a dubbed version of foreign movies, and that holds true in this case, too. You get the impression in the English dubbing of this DVD that words were chosen so that the sound matches the lip movements rather than delivering the literal meanings of the actors' dialogues. One thing I should mention here is that, in the English dubbed mode, the bandits recognize the heroine as a woman from their first encounter. This is erroneous, since the bandits actually do not realize that the heroine is a woman until they meet her again in the temple. You should watch this film in the original Mandarin soundtrack with English subtitles.

I believe this DVD definitely deserves a five-star rating
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on June 9, 2008
Dragon Dynasty continutes to deliver great Shaw Brothers films one after the other. The 27th film to be released by Dragon Dynasty and their 6 Shaw Brothers release, you can't go wrong with this one. Widely considered to be one of the best Hong Kong films ever made, one can see why. It carries a great story along with awesome fight scenes and fantastic acting by Cheng Pei-Pei(commentary included with her and Bey Logan) and Yueh Hua.

Special Features include:
Feature Commentary with Bey Lognan/Cheng Pei Pei
King and I-Director Tsui Hark reflections on film
Come Speak With Me-Interview with Cheng Pei Pei
A Classic Remembered-Retrospective with Bey Logan
Return of Drunken Master-Interview with Yueh Hua
Trailer Gallery
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on August 17, 2006
I am not giving the movie 2 stars, in my opinon it is required viewing for anyone interested in kung fu/wuxia cinema. This movie was groundbreaking for its time, and it was a lot of fun to see the many inspirations for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in the film. It was also fun to see Chang Pei Pei (the villian of CTHD) in her early years. She and Angela Mao broke ground for future Hong Kong women warriors such as Michelle Yeoh. Now, as for the DVD itself...HORRIBLE. It is of such low quality that it wouldn't play on ANY player without skipping at least a little bit. The transfer looks horrible, it made what I am sure is a beautiful looking film look like I filmed it on a camera phone. And the worst offense, for about 20 minutes in the middle of the film you can't see the subtitles! They just drop off the screen! Well, not ALL of them, you can still read the tops of the letters!!! Somehow this is repaired before the film ends so the movie wasn't totally ruined. The day someone wants releases this movie in a even average quality DVD, BUY IT, WATCH IT, LOVE IT! Till then, I am sorry to say, don't bother with this horrible DVD.
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on September 16, 2006
Well, the only star given to this early martial arts masterpiece concerns only its value as one of the firts high production kung fu movies, for it`s artistic vision and great action sequences. Back in 1968 this film was widely consider one of the first action kung fu movies, moving forward from pekin opera.
Now, speaking of the edition of this dvd, if i can call this a dvd, let`s go for parts: first this is NOT a dvd, it`s an INTERNET VCD DOWNLOAD, edited with scene selection. As we all know, besides lousy picture and sound quality, VCD format includes one or more subtitles (in this case cantonese and english) IN the picture, meaning NOT REMOVABLE.
Second, there`s blackouts every three minutes and the scene were drunken cat shows his rock breaking finger powers, is actually a complete digital mess.
If you flip the disc, the reading side is purple, typical 4.7 GB dvd disc with picture logo. OK, asian editions are bad, but at least they`re originals. Some new york company manufactured this discs, and for some reason they `re selling them as DVDs.
So, There`s a warning: STAY AWAY FROM THIS EDITION!!!
11 comment28 of 32 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 30, 2008
Cheng Pei Pei stars as The Golden Swallow, and is known for her great fighting skills. A gang is trying to rescue their leader from going to jail, and they end up kidnapping a man (Golden Swallow's brother) so that they can make him their hostage and trade him for their leader. Some really wicked villains in this, and I was amazed at how well Pei Pei handles herself. She uses double daggers, and it's a refreshing change from the standard straight sword that you see in most movies. Yueh Hua has a good role as the "Drunk Cat". He appears to be the town drunkard, but he's really an expert martial artist. He helps Pei Pei out with anything that she can't handle. Hua is very likable, and plays his role well.

Come Drink with Me is a movie that still holds up today. Back in 1966 it was probably the best wuxia ever made.


Picture and sound are awesome, and there are plenty of special features. I will go over each one individually.

First up is a brand new commentary from Cheng Pei Pei and Bey Logan. Dragon Dynasty once again proves to be the elite company releasing martial arts movies. No one can touch the special features they provide, and this commentary is a Cheng Pei Pei fan's dream come true. This isn't your average commentary from some actor who barely remembers making the movie. Pei Pei knows this movie and the actors very well. Her English isn't perfect, but I could still understand most of what she said.

17 minute interview with Yueh Hua- I was surpised to hear Hua speaking English. He is not the most energetic person as he is pretty old now, but there is a lot of good information provided.

14 minutes with Tsui Hark- Hark gives his thoughts on the movie and talks about King Hu. Great interview with tons of interesting information.

16 minutes with Cheng Pei Pei- It's amazing how well Pei Pei remembers everything. Outstanding interview.

17 minutes with Bey Logan talking about the movie and King Hu- the commentary is mainly for Cheng Pei Pei, so it's nice to see Bey be able to share his thoughts alone. Very nice interview.

Also included are the original trailers for Come Drink With Me and Heroes of the East.
1212 comments19 of 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Back in the early 80's a local TV station here in the Detroit area used to have something called Kung-Fu Theater every Saturday night. These were very cheaply made films with little plot and even less character development but it didn't matter...These were Kung-Fu films and young male viewers ate them up. It seemed they all had a Bruce Lee clone as the star and they even used variations of the late actor's name such as Bruce Lei or Bruce Le. It was all good stuff!

Come Drink with Me is an early martial arts classic from 1966, written and directed by legendary martial arts filmmaker, King Hu. It's choreography and wire stunts would influence such modern films as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Kill Bill. In fact, its lead actress, Cheng Pei Pei, would play an important role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon over thirty years later.

A bandit clan has kidnapped the son of a governor and is holding him as ransom for the return of their leader who is imprisoned. Instead, the Governor sends his daughter, the expert swordswoman named Golden Swallow to rescue her brother. The bandit second-in-command, Jade Faced Tiger, sends a group of his men to try and kill Golden Swallow at a nearby Inn. This sets up the first major fight of the film as Golden Swallow shows off her skills, easily defeating the bandits. Quentin Tarantino was heavily influenced by this scene for the restaurant fight in Kill Bill Part 1. Golden Swallow was the prototype for Uma Thurmond's character.

When she tries to rescue her brother from the temple the bandits have taken over, she finds herself vastly outnumbered but gets aid from the near-mythical master martial artist known as Drunken Cat. Pulling the strings behind the bandits is Drunken Cat's rival the evil Abbot Liao Kung who murdered Cat's master years earlier.

Come Drink With Me is a remarkable film on several levels. Neither of the main two stars were proficient in the martial arts before making the film. Their abilities came from a combination of training during the film, brilliant choreography, and clever film tricks. The film techniques look a bit dated over forty years later but you can certainly see why this film was such a hit in Hong Kong and considered one of the best martial arts films ever made.

Cheng Pei Pei is dynamic as Golden Swallow and the fact that a female was cast as the heroic lead in a film from the 1960s is truly amazing. She is beautiful, tough, and yet still sensitive in her portrayal, reluctantly taking aid from Drunken Cat. Yueh Hua was equally adept as master Drunken Cat, providing comic relief initially appearing as a drunken fool but aiding Swallow so skillfully that it went without notice.

The widescreen DVD release is a gorgeous transfer and you'd never guess the film was over forty years old. The rumor is that Quentin Tarrantino is planning on doing a remake of the film.


Genius Products has provided fans with several outstanding extras for the DVD release. There is an audio commentary with Cheng Pei Pei and Hong Kong film expert Bey Logan. Other features include:

"The King and I" Acclaimed filmmaker Tsui Hark remembers the late King Hu

"Come Speak With Me" an interview with Cheng Pei Pei (15:00) who still looks fabulous over forty years later.

"A Classic Remembered" Bey Logan provides a retrospective on the film and its tremendous influence on modern directors (17:24)

"Return of the Drunken Master" An exclusive interview with the lead actor, Yueh Hua, who played Drunken Cat (18:00)
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on November 21, 2010
I don't expect much when it comes to Kung-Fu films.
A flimsy plot + spotty acting + and lots of martial arts = typical movie.
That's not a formula that's too hard to follow.
Most times there's only enough dialog to get you to the next fight scene.
Some filmakers do it better than others, while others can barely get it right.

This movie did more than "get it right".
The story is well thought out and the acting (for a Kung-Fu film) is really good.
What struck me most about this movie, however, was that there aren't that many fight scenes. I mean, there are some, but this movie doesn't rely on them to keep it going.
There's actually quite a bit of acting and dialog for this type of movie.
When there is a fight scene, it's quick, brutal, and amazing.

I wasn't sitting and watching the movie waiting for the next battle. I was interested in what was happening and how things were developing with the characters.
The "bad guys" are indeed very bad, and the "good guys" (in this case a young girl and a drunken man) are spectacular.

The quality of this DVD is really good. Dragon Dynasty has been releasing some great remastered versions of these films, and this was no execption. The picture is clear and the colors aren't washed out. The dubbing was well done and fit the movie.

The special features are good too, including interviews with the lead characters "Golden Swallow" (played by actress Cheng Pei-Pei) and her drunken ally (played by Yueh Hua).

I would definitely recommend this to any fan of Kung-Fu cinema.
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on March 23, 2010
Come Drink with Me is a 1966 Shaw Brothers classic, in the wuxia genre, directed by King Hu and starring Cheng Pei-Pei. It is King Hu's first success and is considered by many to be the career defining role for Cheng Pei-Pei. Come Drink With Me is one of several King Hu movies, including Dragon Gate Inn and A Touch of Zen, that are said to have inspired Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Zhang Yimou's House of Flying Daggers. House Of Flying Daggers is also said to be dedicated to this movie. Another ground breaking feature is the use of a female heroine as the central protagonist, something that was to continue with King Hu's subsequent movies. Come Drink With Me is widely considered to be one of very best Hong Kong movies ever made.

Although this is a 44 year old (as of this writing) Hong Kong movie, this release is from Dragon Dynasty, who acquired rights for the North American releases for Celestial Pictures, holder of the Shaw Brothers library of films. Dragon Dynasty is unequaled at bringing the very best of Asian cinema to North America and creating the very best restorations, commentaries and treatments. Started by Bey Logan and Quentin Tarantino in collaboration with The Weinstein Company, the love and passion Bey and Quentin have for Asian cinema shows in every Dragon Dynasty release. Even though the films are often very old (40 years or more), Dragon Dynasty does a stellar job of creating the very best restorations to DVD and Blue Ray media commercially viable. Come Drink With Me is, perhaps, one of the best examples of the quality of their work. After watching this DVD it is hard to belive it is a 44 year old Hong Kong film.

There are several aspects of Come Drink With Me that allow it to stand on its own today, after 44 years. Summarized, I would say it has dramatic credibility and finesse. Although the wuxia story is fairly plain, King Hu took it and elevated it through actor/actress presence, dramatic interaction, dramatic tension, good dialog and a stylized action choreography. The action choreography incorporates elements of Peking Opera, ballet and realism into artistic and natural action scenes. King Hu delibertately selected a ballet dancer, Cheng Pei-Pei, for the lead female protagonist. Sung by the lead male protagonist are three songs blended in as plot elements. The male protagonist, a beggar, uses the songs for ad hoc entertainment of patrons of an inn to get money to feed his collection of orphan children. The last of the songs also communicates critical hints to the female protagonist about the location of her kidnapped brother. King Hu uses well crafted sets to enhance the dramatic presentation. Through King Hu's skillful blend, the viewer's "suspension of disbelief", necessary to any dramatic art form, is completely natural. By the time one gets to the end of the film, the obviously "fantastic" elements of the wuxia genre don't seem unnaturally out of place.

If I were to choose any one movie to introduce someone to classic Hong Kong wuxia movies, this would, without question, be the one.
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on September 1, 2008
"Pei Pei is wonderful in her role as Golden Swallow and Yueh Hua as the drunken beggar/martial arts master incognito is fantastic here. This film boasts the inspiration for what was to become martial arts cinema as we know it. Shaw Brothers productions make an all out attempt at realism. The villians are cruel, and very brutal, especially the White Faced Killer. The dialogue is extremely well thought out and the english dubbed translations may be a little better than the mandarin translations to english subtitles. Another interseting feature to the disc are the interviews. Yueh Hua actually confess' in his interview, to having been actually drunk during the scene where he's drinking while under guard by the villians, interestingly the director informed Yueh that's one of his best scenes in the film. The sets are simply fantastic examples of rustic 18th century china. The scene where Yueh Hua is tending to Pei Pei's wounds at his humble abode (any beggar would be truly fortunate to have a waterfall in their back yard), and is accosted there by the villians who wish to remove Pei Pei by force, is very well done and the set is beautiful. This is where Yueh Hua reveals his true identity, and his disguise of being a drunken beggar to all involved in the stories plot, though Pei Pei is wise to this very early on. The final fight is a bit of an anti-climax but not enough to cause the veiwer to be disappointed. A must have for any who truly appreciate classic Shaws Bros. martial arts films. The picure quality of this DVD is absolutely beautiful."
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on July 20, 2009
This is one of those films that is both prototypical and archetypal, and has great continuing interest for true fans of the genre, but one that will probably strike most casual viewers as somewhat boring and dated.

There are so many things that this film introduced to the genre, that it is a must see for any Kung-Fu movie buff. Many other reviews here cover the tremendous assets of the movie, I won't rehash them. The transfer is excellent and the bonus features are superb (great contributions from Bey Logan, as usual). The subtitles are actually horrid, but fans may be used to substandard translations and have a high tolerance for them.

My main point is, that for more casual fans, this film may come across as slow and boring. So many films took elements of this one, and in some cases improved upon them, and worked out various production kinks, that this movie might really seem like nothing special.

For example, while this film does feature many spectacularly staged fights, the producers hadn't yet developed the technique of inserting sound effects when blows connect, so to a modern audience, the blows don't come across as powerful, lacking that "wham!" sound. This is a subtle, but meaningful trick that has completely pervaded all modern movie making. Seeing a movie without it is just jarring and hard to adjust to.

Also, the running battles featuring a single fighter versus a large group that ranges over a big set, has become such a backbone of Kung-Fu movies, and has since been so utterly perfected (by Tsui Hark, Corey Yuen Kwai, and Yuen Wu-Ping), that most casual viewers won't see it as anything special here.

Similarly, the tough-as-nails female protagonist, the miscellaneous crew of villains and more, all became such staples of the genre that to see them in their prototypical incarnation will probably be meaningless for viewers who aren't steeped in the history of Hong Kong cinema.

Maybe viewers relatively new to the genre would do well to watch the bonus introduction to the movie by Bey Logan, and the one by Tsui Hark, in order to get properly prepared to appreciate this landmark of the genre.
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