Thursday, June 12, 2008

Those kids were fast as lightning

I’m fairly sure I’ve blogged about my love of martial arts movies before now but here I go again. I just can’t stop. I love them. I love the fight scenes, the “humour”, the terrible, terrible facial hair and everything that comes with them. And last night I saw a true classic for the first time ever: Drunken Master. I’d seen Drunken Master 2 and practically everything else Jackie Chan has ever done but My God was this an undiscovered gem. Very questionable acting, uber suspect camera work but some bloody great work. (As a side bar: director Yuen Woo-ping has since gone on to do choreography on The Matrix, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Kill Bill so... you know, the man is talented.)

Indeed I’m so enthusiastic about this new find I would go so far as to say it represents almost everything I love about the martial arts genre. Therefore, for the benefit of those who have not seen it, and who want to know what they’re missing out on, I present to you: The Drunken Master formula for what makes the perfect martial arts movie…
  1. Profanity. I don’t know if it was the (super dodgy) dubbing or not but holy shit did this mother manage to pack in the swearing. It was all “hey shitface” this and “you stupid bitch” that. At another time someone actually said “you’re the cat’s arse” and the weird thing is I think that was supposed to be a compliment.

  2. Dodgy dubbing. See above. The weird combination of American, Chinese(?) and English accents in a movie like this is what really makes it. The very regular, very weird, very poorly translated lines ( “wow my balls are really busted”) only add to the hilarity.

  3. Sensible messages about the danger of alcoholism. In Drunken Master the master can (surprise surprise) only fight when he’s wasted and even Jackie Chan does his best bits when completely belted. Plus they run around with giant jugs of wine CONSTANTLY and appear to suffer no ill-effects at any time. Now THAT’S realism.

  4. Gratuitous upper body shots of a young Jackie Chan. Enough said. I have never been into muscles but he is one mean, lean motherflipper.

  5. Killer fight scenes. I demand quick shuffling, knockouts and at least a smidgen of humour. Plus that bit where Jackie’s shirt was half on half off was really cool. More of that please.

  6. Gore. This movie actually features a scene where one person twists off another person's nipple. It's pretty awesome.

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