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With: Jackie Chan, Anita Mui, Ti Lung, Lau Ka Leung, Andy Lau
Written by: Edward Tang, Tong Man Ming, Yuen Chieh
Directed by: Lau Ka Leung, Jackie Chan
MPAA Rating: R for violent content
Language: Cantonese with English subtitles
Running Time: 102
Date: 10/20/2000

The Legend of Drunken Master (1994)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Boozin' for a Bruisin'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Despite the fact that Jackie Chan fired director Liu Chia-Liang halfway through production and finished the film himself, and the fact that this sequel was filmed 16 years after the original, and 40 year-old Jackie was far too old for the character he plays, Drunken Master II is still somehow seamless, rollicking, goofball entertainment.

Chan plays the legendary Wong Fei-hung, also made famous by Jet Li in the Once Upon a Time in China films. His drunken boxing in this movie is the stuff of poetry. Highlights include a fight in the low space under a train, Jackie landing on a tray of hot coals and drinking industrial strength alcohol to help win the astonishing, lengthy final battle. The outtakes make it look as if this was a grueling and painful shoot, but it was worth it.

I was lucky enough to see it when it was brand new, at San Francisco's Roxie Cinema, but Miramax released a dubbed, edited version in U.S. theaters in 2000, entitled The Legend of Drunken Master (to hide the fact that it was a sequel). This version runs 99 minutes, about 3 minutes shy of the Hong Kong version. Sadly, this latter version is the only way to see the film on DVD in America. But I keep hoping I'll stumble upon the real thing again someday...

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