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on May 15, 2002
OMG, I was so happy to finally see one of Jackie Chan's best films come to DVD at last. This is the original classic that has been imitated to the max by other flicks as well as by Jackie Chan himself.
I'm not going to explain the plot and such. This was a great film with great action scenes and a lot of funny moments. The audio commentary is also a nice touch. BUT, why two stars you ask? Here's the problem:
The Chinese track switches from Chinese to English across different chapters. I thought it was my player but then I tried other players and the same problem arose. Then after reading the following reviews on Amazon, this was the manufacturer's fault! I can't believe it! I've had the VCD for years and I loved the film. Now that I FINALLY get to see it in it's widescreen glory with remastered footage (which looks GREAT if you've been watching the original versions) I find out they BOTCHED the Chinese track. If you like dubs (ick) then you won't care. But the Chinese track was hilarious and was one of my fave parts of the film. They also edited out a few scenes that are noted int he audio commentary. =( I would've given this DVD 5 stars if they didn't mess up the language tracks so badly. Shame on you Colombia/Tristar!
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on April 8, 2005
There's any number of reason to like international film star Jackie Chan...his superior athletic ability, infectious sense of humor, personable charm, but I think the one element that endears him to me is his willingness to put himself in the position of serious physical harm in order to entertain the audience. Sure there are attempts to minimize the risks to some degree (meticulous planning and repetitive practicing), and given Chan's incredible physical prowess he's less likely to suffer harm than say I would trying to do half the things he does, but despite these factors, there is still the notion that with many of his stunts, particularly in his later films, he's always about a hair away from killing himself. Anyway, directed by Woo-ping Yuen, who would later choreograph action scenes for the Matix and Kill Bill films, Drunken Master (1978) aka Jui kuen stars Jackie Chan (listed in the credits as Jacky) and Siu Tien Yuen (the director's father).

The film begins as an assassin named Thunderleg, Master of the Devil's Kick, searching out his most recent target in that of The Champion of the Four Door Fist (not all, but a lot of the characters have titles like this). He finds him, a battle ensues, and one is left standing. We then cut to a scene featuring students practicing martial arts in a school. It's here we meet one of the pupils named Wong Fei-Hung (Chan), whose father actually runs the school. Wong appears fairly adept (after showing up one of the teachers), but lacks the discipline and humility to achieve beyond his current skills, which becomes obvious to his father after a series of incidents involving a local bully, among others. This leads Wong's father to request another to assume training of Wong in that of an older man who's rumored to be incredibly difficult and completely sadistic. Wong decides to run away, but ends up meeting his new teacher (Siu Tien Yuen), a master of the 8 Drunken Gods fighting styles, after an altercation at a restaurant. Wong begins his training with his new master, but soon runs off, as it's too difficult. This sets up a chance meeting between Thunderleg and Wong were Wong gets the thrashing of a lifetime and ends up returning to the Drunken Master, realizing his own skills are pitiful. This leads into a lengthy set of training sequences eventually leading to the Master teaching Wong the secret fighting tactics of the 8 Drunken Gods. As Wong's training is completed, we find out a contract has been taken out on his father, one to be fulfilled by Thunderleg, so now Wong must put his training to the test in the fight of his life (or death).

I think I should mention, as a number of reviewers have brought it up, something about the partial English dubbing within the film. The copy I received a little while ago has a little sticker on the back of the DVD case stating something in the way of `English substituted in some areas where original dialog track lost'. The effect is that when you're watching the film with the original Cantonese audio track, using English subtitles, there are scenes where the characters switch from Cantonese to really goofy sounding voices speaking English. This happens about three or four times, and it is a little annoying as it tended to draw me out of the film. I would have preferred that, if some of the original audio were lost, a re-recording in the same language as the original dialog...but on to the film. The movie is crammed with excellent wall-to-wall fight scenes. There are momentary lapses devoted to working on the plot, but these quickly pass resulting in more fight sequences. I think my favorite sequence, besides the lengthy one at the end, featured Siu Tien Yuen in the restaurant, smacking assailants with a dishrag. Not only was it really funny, but almost hypnotic as he twirled that towel around before rat tailing someone in the face (in case you're not familiar, `rat tailing' means taking a wet towel, twisting it up, and snapping it at poor individual). Can anyone tell me what was up with that teacher Chan's character beats up on near the beginning? The guy had this mole on his face, one that had this set of really long hairs emanating from it, and the guy could often be seen playing with the hair, twirling it with his was pretty disgusting. And what was the deal with that waiter from the restaurant? Was that the biggest set of buckteeth you've ever seen? I suppose these were some of what made up the comedic element of this film, but they weren't all that funny. What was funny was the scene where Chan's character is trying to learn the drunken fighting style of the lone woman god, doing so in a mocking fashion as he thought it was too effeminate. Another concept I found really funny was the whole notion of fighting styles based of being intoxicated, and the fact Wong's teacher was drunk throughout most of the film. The choreography in the fighting scenes is really spectacular as Chan not only displays that psuedo comic fighting style he's famous for, but also a lot of serious chop socky. Don't expect to see Chan doing any large scale, over the top stunts like leaping off building, as seen in his later films, but do expect lots of close up, smacky smacky action (he also takes the beating like no one I've ever seen).

The picture on this DVD is very good (some cropping), presented in 2.35:1 widescreen, enhanced for 16 X 9 TVs. The monaural audio is decent, but certainly nothing to brag about. Special features include a commentary track including Hong Kong film expert Ric Meyers and Jeff Yang, a co-author of Chan's autobiography. Also included are trailers for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) and Time and Tide (2000).

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on December 29, 2000
I have a copy of the DVD they are selling above. It is definitely NOT Drunken Master II. This is the original Drunken Master, made in 1978 I think, and its really a good movie. The only problem is, the DVD is the absolute worst transfer of anything I have ever seen in my life. The picture is so ugly and blurry, and the sound is crap. It's watchable, but I wouldn't recommend it. I gave it 5 stars for the movie, 0 stars for the dvd, which averages out to 3.
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on February 22, 2004
DRUNKEN MASTER is one of Jackie Chan's all time greats (the film itself is a 5 star film, only this DVD gets a 3 star rating). He plays a naughty little rascal named Huang Fei Hung (yes, the same character Kwan Tak Hing made famous in a series of nearly 100 films and later by Jet Li in the ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA series of films) who's sent by his father to the famous Sam the Seed (the old Drunken Master himself, Simon Yuen) to learn discipline. Huang Fei Hung can't take the torturous training and runs away, but after getting beat up and humiliated by a wicked kicking Master (he burns the kid's pants, badmouths his father's kung fu, and makes him crawl between his legs like a dog) he quickly repents and begs Sam the Seed to take him back. The film is a delightful mixture of kung fu, comedy, and drama with enough dazzling displays of martial arts and acrobatics to keep viewing fresh time after time.
My gripe with this DVD is that the English language track is NOT the wonderfully fun one released previously on VHS featuring those loveably familiar English dubbed kung fu movie voices of the 1970s-80s. Some people hate those English dub jobs and will always prefer the original Chinese language tracks (which fortunately ARE on the DVD with choice of subtitles), but there are those of us who also enjoy watching the old English dubbed versions for their sheer camp value and cartoon-like energy. Those same voices (found on almost all exported kung fu films of that time period) have become like family members (the ones you want to have visit!). The voice actors then may have switched roles from picture to picture, not ALWAYS voicing the same onscreen actors as you saw and heard them do before, and they may not have been of Royal Shakespeare Company standard, but they always brought with them a smile of recognition and often livened up otherwise dull proceedings.
Some simply don't like English dubs. "The words don't match their mouths and it's always the same voices!" Well, guess what? That's the case even in the original language. The Chinese tracks are almost always dubbed in afterwards by actors other than the ones onscreen. Sure they may come a little closer to matching the lips since the actors words are closer to the words dubbed in later, and some of the voice artists may be familiar with and try to sound similar to the real actor, but it's still nowhere near to perfect lip-synching. Even when the audio is recorded live in synch-sound, the English subtitles still differ from the actual words spoken due to the complex nature of translation (and by golly, what do you do if you're eating, and don't catch all the words during the dialogue driven portions of the film while you're looking at your plate?).
For myself, I will admit that there IS something about original language tracks and subtitles that DOES work better for the more serious pictures as they lend a kind of authenticity and intelligence to the viewing experience (after all we are forced to READ during them which IS a scolarly endeavor, isn't it?), but for the comedy laden kung fu flicks of the 70s and 80s it's nice sometimes to just sit back and relax to the goofy sounds of the old English dubs. The voice-over actors of HK films of the 90s and today just don't cut the mustard. Most sound like second rate actors trying to sound like first rate actors, the result being a bore. The old dubbers may have been third rate actors, but at least they were having fun and the voices they chose matched the pictures. There's nothing more enjoyable, or appropriatly matching in sound and sight, than the old voices used for the weasel characters of Dean Shek or the interpreter found in FISTS OF FURY (aka THE CHINESE CONNECTION). Back then the villains sounded like creeps, the good guys sounded like heroes, the rascals sounded like wiseguys, and the big guys sounded like Bullwinkle!
After all of that then, this DVD release of DRUNKEN MASTER does NOT feature the original English dub and its loveable voices of the 70s. It has a newer, unimproved English track, and quite a bit of the dialogue is different as well. The English dub here is simply NO FUN. Maybe whoever redid the track wanted it to sound less cartoon-like and more natural, but you can't voice a comedy using serious voices that don't match the comedic energy of the performers onscreen! The old crew had that energy (and even the times that they lacked it was fun, too, because when they lacked it back then, boy, they REALLY lacked it!). The remastered DVDs of SNAKE AND CRANE ARTS OF SHAOLIN, FEARLESS HYENA, and DRAGON FIST all contain those wonderfully voiced original English dubs (as well as the original Cantonese or Mandarin track depending on the film). Why was DRUNKEN MASTER, one of the GREATEST kung fu movies ever, not treated the same? Were they trying to give it a new respect after the success of CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON? They should have realized that DRUNKEN MASTER already HAS respect here, and in part because of the wonderful sense of fun found in the original English dub. I wish those old actors would get more credit for bringing such wonderfully guilty pleasure to so many fans.

Oh, and for those wanting to know more about the film itself, it contains Simon Yuen's defining performance as the charismatic old Drunken Master, Yuen Wo Ping's masterful direction using action and comedy to propel the story along, one of Hwang Jang Lee's most villainous performances and some of the greatest kicking abilities ever displayed onscreen, and a young Jackie Chan's complete devotion to character, pushing his body and comedic talents to the limits.
Watch it in Chinese with subtitles on this DVD and then listen to Ric Meyers' wonderful commentary, but for English dub lovers I HIGHLY recommend finding a copy containing the original English dubbed version and watching that version over this one.
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on April 23, 2001
I am a big Jackie Chan fan, so I bought this with high expectations. While the fight scenes are spectacular and well staged (an average of a fight every 5-10 minutes), the big disappointment in the is the quality of the transfer to DVD. The picture is blurry at times. Another disappointment is the sound. It is dubbed with very poor quality. Ironically it was very similar to the Kung Fu movies they used to show on television years ago, the very ones that made me a big fan of the genre. It was a trip down memory lane. I am still glad I bought it as a better version is not available and it is better than nothing.
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on January 5, 1999
This movie is not Jackie Chan's Drunken Master. Jackie is in it for about 5 minutes total. They have dubbed scenes from Drunken Master and put them in this movie. There is a good fight scene at the end of the movie, but Jackie Chan is not in it. This is a cheap imitation of the real thing. It is not a bad movie over all, but not a Jackie Chan movie.
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on October 28, 2003
In spite of the fact that this movie is now about 25 years old, it is one of my favorite Jackie Chan movies. I love Jackie Chan and I can't really get enough of watching drunken boxing kung fu style - there are many other styles beautiful to watch, but this one I find the most entertaining. The Legend of the Drunken Master has more wild action, but I prefer the original Drunken Master. I also very much appreciate the kung fu training segments - makes you want to follow along and train along with Jackie.
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on January 16, 2001
This is the orginal Drunken Master. While it is a great movie this is a horrible DVD. It looks like it was transfered from a VHS tape and there are NO extra features.. there isn't even a root menu. Just a dub of a tape to warned
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on November 10, 2003
yes its a kung fu classic and Jackie Chan's personal favorite movie, but the video and audio quality are unwatchable, seek out the remastered edition and skip this one.
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on January 20, 2000
Most of the reviews on this page seem to refer to the classic "Drunken Master". "Drunken Fist Boxing" is not that movie and is nowhere near as good. The only scenes JC has are actually stolen from the first "Drunken Master".
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