The Legend of Drunken Master (1994)

Genres - Action, Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Action Comedy, Martial Arts  |   Release Date - Feb 3, 1994 (USA - Unknown), Oct 20, 2000 (USA)  |   Run Time - 115 min.  |   Countries - Hong Kong   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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This 16-years later sequel -- which arrived in the U.S. six years after that -- suffers from the lengthy time lapse: Jackie Chan plays the same childlike vagabond from the previous edition, but it's tough to be amused when a grown man is disciplined with whipping by his father (Ti Lung), who looks younger than the son, while the helpless mother (Anita Mui) watches -- and it's done for laughs. But Hong Kong action film story lines typically call for a certain amount of suspension of disbelief, so in that regard, scenes such as that -- and the one in which Mui is punched in the jaw and then talks out of the side of her mouth for comic effect -- are to be expected. The highlights of The Legend of Drunken Master, as with most of Chan's films, are the action set pieces, and the several that punctuate this work are spectacular. Particularly effective is the "drunken" boxing that gets Chan out of several jams; he drinks to excess just before a fight and then, the alcohol working miraculously quickly, he staggers to victory by leaning into kicks and punches and springing up from the ground like a clownish, tireless, inflatable punching bag. It's amazingly creative stuff. The sequence in which Chan and a cohort take on an entire army of martial artists and destroy a two-story tavern in the process is only upped by the finale versus the villain, which takes place on a smoldering bed of red-hot coals. The outtakes at the end of the film suggest the coals were real -- as was Chan's understandable terror.