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The Drummer (2008)

Jaycee Chan , Kenneth Bi  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jaycee Chan
  • Directors: Kenneth Bi
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Film Movement
  • DVD Release Date: January 12, 2010
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002MQM4F4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #249,652 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Drummer" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews


Superb! Spectacular! A genuine crowd-pleaser! --- Stephen Farber, The Hollywood Reporter

Powerful! An entertaining blend of genre elements and spiritual content. --- Derek Elley, Variety

Kenneth Bis exceptionally well-produced film is fine to look at and a joy to listen to. --- Hong Kong Cinema

Product Description

Sid, the rebellious son of Kwan, a controlling and savage triad boss in Hong Kong, has to flee to Taiwan upon enraging his fathers adversary, a powerful tycoon and underground business leader. Hiding out in the mountains, Sid encounters a group of Zen drummers whose mesmerizing art, rigorous physical training, and austere way of life pique this hostile urban young man's interest and he requests to join the group. Although Sid despises his father, he is turning out to be a younger version of him: wild and defiant. Immersing in the world of the Zen drummers eventually converts him into a firm and focused young man. Sids independence from the triad life and his father is profoundly challenged, however, when a twist of fate awaits him back home in Hong Kong and forces him to choose between loyalty to his family and his new found faith in himself …

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Drumming without drumming" February 5, 2010
Do you like percussions? Are you interested in Chinese traditions? Would you like to see how Zen drummers devote every breath of their life to help the drum sound? Have you reached all your potential? If you're interested in these themes, "The Drummer" will speak to you.

The story

"The Drummer" confronts two societies: a powerful triad empire in Hong Kong and a community faithfully devoted to austerity and tradition.

Sid (Jaycee Chan) is a boy of a triad leader and also a modern drummer; he is a talent but haughty youngster who lives on the edge of danger. Sid defies triad authority and gets emotionally involved with the girlfriend of Stephen Ma (a top executive of the organization), who sentences a severe penalty for the disrespectful kid. Sid's father (Kwan) and Stephen Ma, negotiate a punishment for the boy. Despite being in debt with Chief Ma, Kwan assumes a high risk and sends his son to Taiwan to save him from the terrible sentence.

Hidden in the mountains, Sid observes a practice session of Zen drummers. As a percussionist himself, Sid recognizes the high class performance of those consummated artists. In a display of arrogance, Sid promotes himself to join the group. Despite the disagreement of some members, Lan Jie (the supervisor of the band) allows Sid to adhere the community, because she perceives with compassion a sad kid who is asking for help.

Once accepted, Sid undergoes a tough but beautiful process of transformation through Zen practices. The film sequences in the mountains of Taiwan are inspirational; the Director (Kenneth Bi) drives the audience to a unique journey, fulfilled with remarkable values of the Zen society; this passage reveals the physical and spiritual activities Zen drummers follow to help the drum sound.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A different "coming of age" movie November 16, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This film offers a different take on growing up. Sure, many recognizable story elements are in place, but for me, this movie provided many different opportunities to relate, and appreciate, the growth and maturation of the characters.

I've watched this several times, a luxury towards film that has diminished over time. As I get older, my days have become more full and my values have changed; to want to watch a movie more than once strikes me as peculiar for a variety of reasons. Thus, I'm a bit reluctant to share details to a new viewer.

I will say this, purposefully dancing around details. There's a quality to the film that I can best describe as "authenticity". Yes, dramatic license is taken, and this _is_ a storybook tale, but if you're willing to walk with the film at its own pace, to hold back on assigning expectation or judgment, I think you may find that this movie will touch you.

I wish I could have a conversation with each of you that watches this. I cherish this movie in some ways, and sharing a story like this with others is a lot of fun for me.

I encourage you to watch this movie, and I hope you enjoy it as I did.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie - Glad we own it August 2, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
While the story line was a little bit unbelievable in places, the emotional impact and the characters carried the movie. I highly recommend this movie for its story of transformation and redeption.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mood + Meaning + Action = Great Movie May 21, 2010
By Brandon
Format:Amazon Instant Video
The Drummer is a story about the power of individual determination. The story may not be the most original: guy is on the wrong track in life, goes through a transformation, and then his old life catches up with him and he has to choose between the two paradigmn. But the execution is just so damn good that it doesn't matter that the vehicle may a bit on the refurbished side.

One of the reasons that director Kenneth Bi is able to pull off this concept is the quality of his actors. When you're playing the part of the reformed-upstart in training it is easy to drift into the campy terrain of exasperating impertinence and incredulous reversal, but Jaycee Chan honestly constructs a believeable, consistent character.

For me, though, the narrative wasn't even my favorite part of the film. I really enjoyed the mood that pervaded the entire experience. This effect is heightened by the contrast between the bleak, industrial prologue and the verdant mountainside of the monestary. Once the story arrives at the drumming commune it really blossoms. Bi really lets you indulge in the gorgeous scenery of the Taiwanese countryside, and the scenes cataloging the lives of the drummers allow the viewer to unabashedly yen for the life that Chan has stumbled upon.

All of this lets the complex themes of the movie arise organically. I won't color your experience of the film too much, but I just thought that it was interesting that the hands which Bi nearly loses in the opening of the film are the key to his percussive redemption and his ability to choose between the two lives.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bang the drum slowly... in a really big group! January 11, 2010
(special thanks to Film Movement for providing me with a screener!)

The Drummer tells the story of a young man on the run from organized crime who ends up hiding out by joining a bunch of hippies at their drum circle commune.

Well, at least that's what we'd call it if everyone were white, but since they're Chinese it's all mystical and wonderful and, at least somewhat to my surprise, makes for a pretty darn good movie.

The story centers around Sid, played by American actor Jaycee Chan, son of a certain other famous Chan. He looks rather like his father, especially in the face.

Sid is something of a good-for-nothing young man. He's a constant embarrassment to his father, a local crime lord. This embarrassment becomes especially acute when Sid starts sleeping with Carmen, the girlfriend/concubine of a rival crime lord. Things get ugly when the rival finds out about this and demands Sid's hands as payment. Sid's father instead exiles his son to Taiwan.

It's in Taiwan that he finds a group of taiko drummers and falls in love with what they do. He also falls in love with a rather pretty young drummer, but that's incidental.

The drummers live in a temple-like area where Sid winds up getting training that includes more contradictory koans than an entire Zen monastery. He also clearly hasn't seen any movies or he'd realized he's getting the Miyagi treatment with a bunch of what he has to do during training (you know, chop vegetables so that he builds arm strength and the like).

The plot is pretty cliche and you can basically predict from start to finish exactly where it's going to go.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars It's not KODO
If you are ever in a part of the States where they have a Taiko group, attending a concert will be well worth the cost. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Phillip Z.
5.0 out of 5 stars Dramatic
I am a professional Japanese taiko player/teacher. Although this was a Chinese movie the philosophy behind the drumming group in the movie is similar to what I learned in my 7... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Esther Vandecar
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than the parts
cliches? Yes, get over them
A tale doe not need to be ungeard of to be effective and the drummer is better than its parts
Published 8 months ago by Jorge Figueroa
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerfull
Superb, especially considering it was this directors first movie. Extremely well written and directed and the juxtaposition of the sacred and profane, brings out the extremes of... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Peter Field
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart beating
The gangster stuff in this movie is not greatly appealing to me, but it is a part of the story.
The "Zen" drummers discipline and way of life are appealing and the... Read more
Published 11 months ago by kestrel
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent service, exactly as described.
It matched my beliefs about the spirit of the drum. Powerful film and created respect for the drum. The main character had an adventure in growing, earning and becoming. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Jack Neima
5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous
fabulous just super truly worth watching not an action flick beautifully acted filmed and well written I enjoyed it a lot
Published 14 months ago by john f wallace
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story
The first part of the movie was kind of slow but if you just hang in there it will grows on you. I'm really glad I did. It's a great peek into the world of drummers. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Helene Chau
4.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected, but very good movie nonetheless.
I thought this was more of a documentary and/or concert film, but was still pleasantly surprised. Very good indeed. Lengthy, but worth the time.
Published 17 months ago by Marc Harris
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Although I found this movie quite interesting, I don't think it's a movie for everyone. I'm interested in Asian drumming and Eastern spiritual practices. Read more
Published 18 months ago by J. Chinn
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