Blu-Ray Review: Drunken Master (Masters of Cinema)

Martial Arts films were a huge global phenomenon at the beginning of the 1970s. The market was flooded with hundreds of low budget, badly dubbed films from Hong Kong. The most iconic figure from this era was undoubtedly Bruce Lee, but after his tragic death the hunt was on for someone to fill his shoes. Step forward Jackie Chan. Drunken Master launched the star onto a world stage, showcasing his mix of inventively choreographed action sequences and irrepressible humour.

Wong Fei-hung (Chan) is a cocky young man who hides behind the influence of his father (Lam Kau) in order to cause mischief and impress his friends. After a string of misdemeanours, his father loses patience and arranges for the notorious Beggar So (Yuen Siu-tien) to school Wong in martial arts. Due to Beggar So’s reputation for crippling his students, Wong decides to run away. However, he’s soon in trouble and has to be rescued by an old drunk, who turns out to be the man he’s trying to escape.

There are two factors which make Drunken Master such and entertaining and enjoyable experience. Firstly, there are the impeccably choreographed fight scenes. Many of which are absolutely breathtaking. Then, there’s the humour, with Chan employing a staggering array of props and devices within almost every scene. Drunken Master is a blistering martial arts film which is heavy on the action whilst taking every opportunity to poke fun at itself.

Special Features:

  • Definitive transfer from 4K digital restoration
  • The original complete Cantonese soundtrack, rarely heard on home video
  • Alternate Cantonese, Mandarin and English dubbed audio options
  • Newly translated English subtitles, as well as a variety of alternate subtitle options
  • Audio commentary by Hong Kong film experts Ric Meyers and Jeff Yang
  • Video interview with Jackie Chan
  • New video interview with film scholar Tony Rayns
  • New video appreciation by director Gareth Evans (The Raid film series)
  • Deleted scene
  • Original trailer
  • PLUS: A special edition booklet featuring new writing on the film and archival imagery

Drunken Master is released on Dual Format by Eureka Entertainment as part of their Masters of Cinema collection on Monday 24 April.

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